The Benhams became established here more than a century ago with the coming of Peter Benham, who left the settlement in which. he was born, not far north of Cincinnati, and came up here into the valley of the Little Miami, establishing his home in Beavercreek township, this county, where he spent the rest of his life and where his descendants in the present generation are still to be found.

Peter Benham, the pioneer, was born twelve miles north of the then village of Cincinnati, in 1795, a son of Richard and Lydia Benham, the former of whom, a native of New Jersey, had been an Indian fighter in Kentucky and had later settled at Ft. Washington, building there the third cabin put up on the present site of the city of Cincinnati, at one time owning there ten acres of Iand that is now in the very heart of the city. At the time of his death, which occurred near Todds Forks, he was the owner of one hundred and fourteen acres there. One of his brothers, David Benham, was a friend and companion of Daniel Boone, and another. Col. Joseph Benham, became one of the most noted attorneys in the early days of Cincinnati. Richard Benham was a soldier of the War of 1812. He and his wife had four sons, John, Richard, Peter and Benjamin, the latter of whom became a resident of Indiana and was the last survivor of the family.

Reared amid pioneer conditions, Peter Benham married at the age of twenty-one years and established his home in Beavercreek township, this county. On that farm he spent the rest of his life, living to the age of eighty-six years. Peter Benham was twice married. His first wife, Catherine Beck, whom he married at Centerville, was born at Waynesville in 1800, daughter of Samuel Beck and wife, the latter of whom was a Galyard. Samuel Beck was a native of New Jersey, who came to Ohio in territorial days and became a pioneer tavern keeper at Waynesville, in Warren county. He and his wife were the parents of four sons and four daughters, the sons having been John, Samuel, Benjamin and Joseph. To Peter and Catherine (Beck) Benham were born twelve children, of whom eight lived to maturity and of whom but one, Mrs. Lydia Huston, of Alpha, widow of George W. Huston, now survives, the others having been Benjamin, the father of the subject of this sketch; Joseph; Eliza, who married Isaac Bumgardner; Sarah, who married Leonard Coy; Mary J., who married Joseph P. B. Johns; Lydia A., who married George W. Huston; Peter O. and Samuel. The mother of these children died in January, 1864, and Peter Benham later married Catherine Nave, who was born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Nave, who had come to Ohio with his family and had settled in the township of Spring Valley, in this county. Both these women were members of the Reformed church and the Benham children were reared in that faith. Peter Benham lived to be eighty-six years of age.

Benjamin Benham grew up on the pioneer farm on which he was born in Beavercreek township and after his marriage began farming on his own account, for a time renting a farm in that neighborhood. He then bought the farm on which his son William F. is now living, a mile and a half southwest of Alpha, coming to be the owner of a farm of one hundred and ninety acres. He was a Republican. He and his family were members of Mt. Zion Reformed church. Benjamin Benham died in 1899. His wife had preceded him to the grave about three years, her death having occurred in 1896. She was born, Mary Gillespie, in Ross county, this state, in 1821, and was but a small child wlien her parents settled on the tract of land now occupied by the village of Selma, in the neighboring county of Clark, where both parents died of "milk-sickness" when she was ten years of age. Benjamin and Mary (Gillespie) Benham were the parents of three children, tlie subject of this sketch having had two sisters, Catherine, now living at Dayton, widow of Henry Clay Glotfelter, and Eliza Jane, who married William Masters, of Beavercreek township, and who, as well as her husband, is now deceased.

William Franklin Benham, only son of Benjamin and Mary (Gillespie) Benham, was born on the Shakertown pike, rural mail route No. 7 out of Xenia. in Beavercreek township, this county, November 24, 1849. His elementary schooling was received in the district school of his neighliborhond, the Benham school, located on his father's farm, and he completed his schooling in the old Beaver grade school, the course in that excellent school at that time comprising about the same course as that now covered in high school. After his marriage in 1872 he continued to make his home on the home farm, as his father grew older gradually taking over the management of the place. Upon the death of his father in 1899 the place was divided and he since then has had ninety acres, including the old home buildings. Of late years Mr. Benham has been practically retired from the active labors of the farm, having turned the same over to the management of his son, Benjamin E. Benham, who is married and is living on the place.

On December 5, 1872, William Franklin Benham was united in marriage to Mary Ellen Coy, who was born on a farm a mile and a half west of the Benham farm, April 5, 1849, and who died in August, 1902. She was the daughter of Henry and Lucinda Coy and a member of one of the oldest families in Greene county, the Coys having been here since the days before the organization of Greene county. To William F. and Mary E. (Coy) Benham eight children were born, namely: Edmond C, now employed in the plant of tile Delco Company at Dayton and who married Effie Dissingham and has one child, a daughter, Mildred; Gertrude Ray, who married Jacob Seifert and is also living at Dayton; Minnie, wife of Edward Shoup, a Beavercreek farmer; Benjamin Earl and Lucinda Pearl, twins, the former of whom, as noted above, is now operating the home farm and who married Ruth Campbell and has one child, a daughter, Helen, and the latter of whom married Archibald Koogler and died at the age of twenty-six years; Henry, who died in infancy; William Franklin, Jr., unmarried, who is employed in a furniture store at Dayton, and Aaron Russell, who formerly lived at Dayton, employed there in the Delco Company's plant, but now (1918) is in Camp Sherman. The Benhams are members of the Mt. Zion Reformed church, both the Benhams and the Coys having been active in the work of the Reformed congregation in Beavercreek townsliip since pioneer days. Mr. Benham is a Republican.

 

 

From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A. Broadstone, editor. B. F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918