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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JUDGE WILLIAM P. BENNETT, elected to the Bench of the Probate Court of Cass County, Mich., in 1868, has continuously held this honored position for nearly a quarter of a century and in the twenty-five years of his term of public service has given unqualified satisfaction to all the residents of the county. Our subject was born in Maulmain, Burmah, October 17, 1831. His parents, Cephas and Stella (Kneeland) Bennett, were natives of central New York, who were sent out by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions in 1829 to labor in the mission service in Burmah. The father was a printer by trade, and took out to Asia the first iron press ever carried to that country. The mother devoted her time mainly to learning the language, but with patient Christian influence wrought much of good in that benighted land. When William P. was nine years of age his parents revisited their native land, and on returning to India left their son in New York State. Mr. Bennett enjoyed the advantages of instruction in excellent educational institutions of central New York, and in the Empire State attained to manhood.

Our subject entered the bonds of matrimony at a very early age, having not reached his majority when he was united in marriage with Miss Louisa Brokau, on the 5th of October, 1850. Mrs. Bennett was a native of Cayuga County, and was reared, educated and married in the locality of her early home. In 1851, the young husband and wife journeyed to Michigan, and in 1852 settled in Marcellus, where for seventeen years Mr. Bennett industriously engaged in agricultural pursuits. During his long residence in Marcellus, our subject held various offices, and was for ten years an efficient Supervisor of the town. Upon January 1, 1869, shortly after his election to the Bench, Judge Bennett located permanently in Cassopolis, and devoted himself entirely to the affairs of his judicial office.

The family of Judge and Mrs. Bennett consists of two sons and one daughter, who is the wife of Douglas Roben, a Lieutenant of the United States Navy; the sons being Alton W. Bennett, of Big Rapids, Mich., and Francis Marion Bennett, of the United States Navy. Francis Bennett entered the naval service at Annapolis, Md., in 1874, and graduated from that renowned military academy in 1879. He then served on board the “Powhatan” and “Tennessee,” Fourth North Atlantic Squadron, for five years, and afterward on the East India Station. The succeeding two years he was detailed as instructor in steam engineering in the training school at Chicago, and subsequently served upon the “Chicago,” later taking a cruise in the “Enterprise” to the Mediterranean and the coast of Europe and Africa. Afterward he was detailed for service in the office of Chief Engineer Melville, of Washington, D. C., and, being Past Assistant Engineer of the navy, was finally detailed to take charge of the naval exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Both the paternal and maternal ancestors of our subject, the Bennetts and Kneelands, were of distinguished New England lineage. They were dwellers in Connecticut for many generations, and were among the earliest settlers of Middlesex County. The maternal great-grandfather, Jonathan Kneeland, was a Revolutionary soldier, enlisting April 1, 1775, at East Haddam, Conn. He entered the struggle for independence as a private in the company of John Willey. He participated in the battle of Bunker Hill, and was honorably discharged from active military duty in 1777. Inheriting the sturdy patriotism of his forefathers, Judge Bennett has ever been a true and loyal citizen. He is in political affiliation a Republican, and has from his earliest manhood been ardently interested in local and national issues. Occupying the Probate Bench with dignity and ability, he has won the confidence and regard of his co-workers and fellow-citizens, and is held in high esteem by all the residents of Cass County.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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