Oscar H. Bennett

OSCAR H. BENNETT. One of that solid class of citizens that Cherokee County is so fortunate in possessing is Oscar H. Bennett, a farmer residing in section 25, township 32, range 25 in Pleasant View township. He claims Vermont as the State of his birth, which occurred in 1852. He is a son of Col. Oren and Harriet (Merrell) Bennett.

Col. Oren Bennett was born in Vermont in 1825. He was a millwright and engineer, and followed these trades about 15 years. A man of intensely patriotic mold, he, at the breaking out of the Civil War, was active in the organization of Union forces. In 1862 he became colonel of the 22d Reg., Missouri Vol. Cav. For three years and seven months he led his regiment, participating in many battles, in one of which he was wounded by a shell, which also killed his horse.

After the war, Colonel Bennett resumed work at his trades at his former home, and in 1866 moved to Jackson County, Kansas, making the trip from Iowa in a large wagon, in company with his wife, and four children,—Oscar, Flora, Alice and Jim. In 1867 the family came to Cherokee County, where they have since lived. The father now lives on an 80-acre farm in Pleasant View township; the mother died in 1903, aged 74 years.

To these parents 10 children were born, of whom Oscar H. is the eldest. Seven are living, as follows: Oscar H.; Flora Jane, born in Vermont, who married James Biggs, of Miami County, Kansas, and has four children,—Clara, Ralph, Lizzie and Flossie; Alice, born in Missouri, who married Joseph Hayes, and is living in Idaho; James Hite, born in Iowa, who married Emma Ward, and has eight children,—Hattie, Henry, Lizzie, Freddie, Carl, Ada, Ernest and May; Fred E., born in Kansas, who married Jessie Williams, lives in Cherokee County, and has four children,—Harry, Frank, Earl and Charles: Edith, born in Kansas, who married Frank Sweany, of Cherokee County, and has five children.—Raymond, Grace, Walter, Blanche and Irene; and Jesse M., born in Kansas, who married Jessie Newton, resides in Cherokee County, and has one child,—Laura.

Oscar H. Bennett was married in 1879, in Cherokee County, Kansas, to Sarah McNier, nee Swinney, a native of Iowa, and a daughter of Delaney and Elizabeth (Webb) Swinney. Her father, a native of the Keystone State, was born in 1828, and died in Kansas in 1882. Mrs. Swinney was born in the Hoosier State in 1830, and is now living in Oklahoma. Mrs. Bennett is one of 14 children, of whom eight are now living, as follows: John W., Sarah (our subject's wife), Malinda, Nancy, Riley, Sinah, Alvaretta, and Fanny. John W. was born in Iowa. His first wife was Tillie McCaffery, who was the mother of Thomas, Lane, Isaac, May, Aul, Pearl, Arthur and Lee. His second wife was Belle Downes, who has one child,—Ora. Malinda was born in Iowa, married James Bear, and is living in Oklahoma. Nancy was born in Iowa, married Zach. Sears, and resides in Kansas; they have these children,—Walter, Calvin, Oscar, Emma, Laura, Roy, Jessie and Annie. Riley was born in Iowa. Sinah, born in Iowa, married William Hearn, and resides in Kansas; they have three children,—Leona, Hattie and Merle. Alvaretta, born in Kansas, married John Maline, and lives in Oklahoma. Fanny, born in Kansas, married Frank Prudom, and lives in Oklahoma.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have had eight children, all born in Cherokee County, namely: Mattie (Mrs. James Gilbert), who has one child,—Roy; Etta (Mrs. William Weaver), of Missouri, who has five children,—Lottie, Ray, Albert, Fay and Leola; Flora (Mrs. Bryant Lively), of Arkansas; James; Ninnie; Bessie; Clara; and Johnnie R., who died at the age of 18 months.

The parents of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett were the first to put up houses in Pleasant View township. At that time there was nothing to be seen but prairie, and wild animals, deer, prairie chickens and quail. There was no roads of any kind except the old "Military Road." Here the subject of this sketch and his father followed hunting, for a living during 14 years. They made many successful expeditions after quail and prairie chickens, and shipped them to the Eastern markets of St. Louis, Chicago and New York.

Oscar H. Bennett is a Populist in politics and has held office as township assessor for two years; as constable, for the same period; and as justice of the peace for four years. As a member of the School Board no one has ever been found who was deemed so capable, in every way, as the length of his term testifies; for he has served as clerk of the board for 25 years. He is a member of the A. H. T. A. He and his family are leading factors in the social life of the community, where they have so long resided, and where they are most highly regarded.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Natalie Maples, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 2/14/97.


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