When I was a wee tad, the only side of the family where I knew anyone further back than grandparents was my mother's mother's side of the family.  They lived in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and it was the zenith of my travel experiences during the 1940s to accompany my grandmother on her visits to them.  We'd climb on the Continental Trailways bus and watch the increasingly foreign scenery as we traveled from Shawnee to Okmulgee.  We'd spend a few days with Grandma Benton (my great-grandmother) and Pappy Benton (my great-grandfather).  He was an intimidating figure who often entertained me with stories of his exploits among the Indians in his younger days.  Grandma Benton would throw me an occasional wink which I didn't understand at the time.  Sadly, I wasn't curious enough then to ask them questions.  Now all the generations between them and me are gone and I am interested in my own opsimathy .  I've been fortunate enough to find some 3d cousins via the net who have contributed the vast majority of the information I've compiled on the family.  Thanks Kelly, Sally, and Jacque!  By default, some of the old pictures landed in my possession and are shown on some of the following pages.  Not much in the way of pictures on this page but be patient.







"I Robert Clinton a justice of the peac within and for the township of merimac in the county of gasconade do sertify that on the 10 day of february 1827 I joined in marrag Eliga Benton to Artermis MidLock  

certified by me Robert Clinton Jp"


With the above document, my great-great-great grandparents, Elijah Benton and Artemesia Medlock were wed in Gasconade County, Missouri.  Their farming families were among the earliest settlers of central Missouri.  Elijah was born in Georgia in 1806 and Artemesia in Kentucky in 1809.

A very esoteric journal among genealogists, "The Pioneer History of Benton Creek" is said to contain the following information (This book is so esoteric I've been unable to locate a copy.).

"BENTON CREEK.....  It derived its name from one of the pioneer families who came to that part of Missouri that became Crawford County about the time Crawford was taken from Gasconade County. ......The Benton families, from whom the creek gets its name were Elijah Benton, who married Artemis Matlock in Gasconade County (two years before Crawford was organized) on February 10, 1827; James Benton and his wife Mary; Abraham Benton and Mark Benton were others represented in the naming of the Creek."

Elijah and Artemesiaís family appear in the 1830 Federal census of Crawford County, the 1840 census of Pulaski County and the 1850 census of Dallas County. It is possible this was one residence due to changing county names and lines. Elijah was listed as a farmer. His family in 1850 consisted of, in addition to Artemesia, George (b. 1834), Frank (b. 1836), Carolina (b.1837), Berry F. (b.1840), Harmon (b.1842), John L. (b.1844), Martha (b.1846), and Elijah (b.1848). The son "Frank" was Francis Ren Benton, my  great-great-grandfather.

Between the 1850 and 1860 censuses, the family was in Barry County in the southwestern corner of Missouri. On March 22, 1859, Francis Ren Benton married Susan Margaret Lock of Barry County, daughter of Jonas and Mary Lock from Kentucky. 

The 1860 census found the Elijah Benton family in Bear Creek Township, Carroll County, Arkansas, just across the state line. Artemesia, at 51, was a widow. George was head of the household and had a wife and children of his own. Francis Ren and Susan lived right down the road. Their first child, William Franklin, was born a few months after the census enumeration.



Imbued, no doubt, with the proper patriotic fervor, Francis, George, and John showed up in Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas on July 12, 1861, and enlisted in Company G of the 14th (Powers) Arkansas Infantry Regiment, Confederate States Army.  Privates Francis and John became sick and were left behind by the unit in April 1862 and were dropped from the rolls in June of that year. George became a sergeant and re-enlisted for 2 years on May 8, 1862 at Corinth, Mississippi. Later that year, he was busted in rank and deserted on October 4, 1862. We havenít heard from him since.

On October 3, 1862, Francis and John showed up again with Harmon in tow in Pocahontas, Randolph County, Arkansas, and enlisted as privates in Company H of the 3rd Missouri Cavalry, Confederate States Army, which was recruiting replacements. The Confederate forces had been defeated at the Battle of Pea Ridge (Benton County, Arkansas) (aka The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern) in March.  Regrouping, it proceeded east of the Mississippi as part of the Army of Western Tennessee.  Francisí service card showed that he arrived with a horse valued at $80 and equipment worth $3. The boys joined for 3 years or the duration of the war. The 3rd Missouri Cavalry proceeded immediately to engagements around Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 3rd fought its last battle at Fort Blakely, Alabama, on April 9, 1865, but indications are that Francis Ren Benton left prior to this final event.   The Lost Cause was irretrievably lost.

We've found no further record of the family in Arkansas following the war. 


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