My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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PETER O. BENHAM, with whose name a large number of people in this county are thoroughly familiar, and who is now a resident of Xenia Township, was born in Beaver Creek Township, Greene County, November 8, 1839, and is the son of Peter and Catherine (Beck) Benham who were natives respectively of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Peter Benham was born in 1795, twelve miles north of what was then a mere hamlet, upon whose site has since arisen the flourishing city of Cincinnati. He was reared amid the wild scenes of pioneer life and at the age of twenty-one years was married, in Centerville, to a lady who became the mother of twelve children. Eight of these were reared to mature years, viz.: Benjamin, Joseph; Eliza, who married Isaac Bumgardner; Sarah, Mrs. Leonard Coy; Mary J., Mrs. Joseph P. B. Johns; Lydia A., Mrs. George W. Huston; Peter O., and Samuel.

Peter Benham married for his second wife Catherine Nave, a native of Pennsylvania and the daughter of John Nave, of Spring Valley Township. Both of Grandfather Benham’s wives were members of the German Reformed Church. After his marriage he, in 1814, settled in Beaver Creek Township, about six miles east of Dayton. Taking up a tract of land, he engaged in farming after the primitive methods of that time and there resided until his death after he had reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years. His wife, Catherine, died in January, 1864.

The paternal grandparents of our subject were Richard and Lydia Benham, the former of whom emigrated from New Jersey to Kentucky at a very early day and participated in many a struggle with the Indians. Later he emigrated to the present site of Cincinnati and built the third cabin on the ground. At one time he owned ten acres which is now in the heart of the city. At the time of his death, which occurred near Todd’s Forks, he was the owner of one hundred and fourteen acres of land there. He had four sons: John, Richard, Peter and Benjamin, the latter of whom is the only one living and a resident of Indiana. One of his brothers, David Benham, was the friend and companion of the famous Indian fighter, Daniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentucky. Col. Joseph Benham, a brother of David and Richard, was a distinguished attorney at Cincinnati at an early day. Grandfather Benham served as a soldier in the War of 1812.

Mrs. Catherine (Beck) Benham, the mother of our subject, was born at Waynesville, Ohio, in 1800, and was the daughter of Samuel Beck, a native of New Jersey and one of the pioneer hotel keepers of Waynesville. He came to Warren County, this State, about 1795, and married a Miss Galyard. They reared four sons: John, Samuel, Benjamin and Joseph, also four daughters. The Beck family traced its origin to Scotland.

The subject of this notice was reared in his native township and attended the district schools during his boyhood, while later he entered Beaver Creek High School, which at that time was considered one of the best in the State of Ohio. He remained under the parental roof until after the outbreak of the Civil War, then enlisted October 8,1861, in Company E, Seventy fourth Ohio Infantry and was at the first battle of Ft. Henry. Afterward he met the enemy at Neal’s Bend, Stone River, Hoover’s Gap, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge. Tunnell Hill, Dalton, Dallas Gap, Pine Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie River, Atlanta, Jonesboro and Savannah. He was shot through the right hip at Stone River and for gallant conduct was promoted to the rank of second Duty Sergeant. At the expiration of his first term he re-enlisted, January 1, 1864, and in October following was transferred as an Orderly to the Staff of Gen. Jeff C. Davis, where he remained until being captured, February 22, 1865, at Chesterville, S. C. He was confined in Libby Prison from March 1 to April 10, then sent to Annapolis, Md., and from there to Camp Chase, where he received his honorable discharge July 27, 1865.

Returning now to the peaceful pursuits of agriculture, Mr. Benham remained thus engaged until the present time. He has been an active member of the Republican party since becoming a voting citizen and has all his life, with the exception of three years spent in Warrensburg, Mo., been a resident of this county. He was married in Xenia, February 22, 1864, to Miss Elizabeth Ann Stemble. This lady was born June 6, 1843, in Xenia and is the daughter of Jacob and Rachel (Her) Stemble, who came from Hagarstown, Md., at a very early day. The father was a tanner by trade which he followed all his life. He died about 1850 at the age of forty-nine years. The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Benham was John Frederick Stemble, a large slave owner and a manufacturer of hats in Hagarstown, Md. To him and his wife, Elizabeth, there were born four children. He was one of the earliest settlers of this county, to which he came overland with a two wheeled cart drawn by oxen.

Mr. and Mrs. Benham are the parents of three children: Blanche S., Harry F. and George Washington. Mr. Benham belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and with his estimable wife is prominently connected with the German Reformed Church. The family residence is pleasantly situated just east of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home. He is also connected with Lewis Post, 347, G. A. R., in Xenia.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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