William M. Benham

WILLIAM M. BENHAM, the leading liveryman at Columbus, and a farmer and stock-raiser of Cherokee County, has been a resident of the county since 1869, and has been established in his present business at Columbus since 1873. He was born in 1844 at Niles, Michigan, and was reared in Indiana, to which State his parents moved, and where both of them died.

Mr. Benham attended the common schools of Indiana, and prior to coming to Cherokee County, in 1869, followed farming in that State. After locating on a claim in Ross township, two miles north of Columbus, he spent about two years in hauling freight between Columbus and Independence. In 1873 he started his livery at Columbus, and has been in the business continuously ever since, being the oldest operator in this line within a radius of 100 miles.

Mr. Benham first located on the northwest corner of the square, and there erected a building in 1876, which he used for 26 years. The site is now occupied by the Benham-Scovel Block, which affords accommodations for stores and offices. Mr. Benham purchased a corner property on Maple street, one block west of the square, on which he erected his present building, which he occupied since August, 1902. This is a modern, sanitary building and contains quarters for a large number of horses. He uses about 24 in his own business, and keeps on hand conveyances of every kind, and suitable for every occasion. In addition to this business, he has been interested in a number of successful mining enterprises.

On November 12, 1874, Mr. Benham was married at Columbus to Hattie L. Potter, who came to Cherokee County, locating at Baxter Springs, about 1871, but moved with her parents to Columbus at a later date. They have one son, Mortimer, who is associated with his father in the livery business. Mrs. Benham is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Politically, Mr. Benham is a Democrat, and has always taken a lively interest in the advancement of his party, in which he is highly regarded. Formerly, in his younger days, he was active in a number of fraternal orders, but now confines his interest to the Masonic Blue Lodge, the Knights of Pythias, and various insurance organizations. He is widely, one might almost say universally, known through this section of Cherokee County. His friends are found on every side.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 6-27-97


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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