WILLIAM BENSINGER, one of the representative and substantial citizens of McComb, a retired farmer and an honored veteran of the Civil War, was born in Wayne County, O., January 14, 1840, and is a son of REUBEN and HANNAH (FEAZEL) BENSINGER.
REUBEN BENSINGER was born in Schuylkill County, Pa., in 1818, and died in Ohio in 1884, aged sixty-five years. He came to Medina County with his parents, JOHN and MARY (ALSPAUGH) BENSINGER, the former of whom died in Wayne and the latter in Medina County. The grandfather of WILLIAM BENSINGER was a shoemaker but the father was a farmer and when the latter bought the farm on which he died, all but eight acres was covered with timber. REUBEN BENSINGER was married to HANNAH FEAZEL, in Wayne County, where she was born, in 1839. She was a daughter of PLEASANT and MARY FEAZEL. Her death occurred in 1902 [sic], at the age of eighty-four years. In 1841, REUBEN BENSINGER, wife and son, moved to Medina County and in 1858, to Hancock County, settling in Pleasant Township four miles from McComb.
WILLIAM BENSINGER was the only child born to his parents. He attended school until he was sixteen years of age, as opportunity presented, and worked on the home farm until 1861, when he enlisted for service in the Civil War. He was mustered in at Findlay, O., as a member of Co. G, 21st O. Vol. Inf. During the campaign through Kentucky and Tennessee that followed, he was with his regiment continuously and took part in the battle of Ivy Mountain. Subsequently, with twenty-one comrades, he was detailed to capture certain trains and destroy certain bridges and at Big Shanty, while in the line of duty, captured a train on the West Va. Railroad and ran it for ninety miles, but then suffered capture himself. He was imprisoned at Chattanooga and with his companions was court martialed and eight of his comrades were executed. He was held a prisoner for eleven and one-half months when he succeeded in escaping but was recaptured and was then in prison at Atlanta from October until December, 1862, when he was sent to Richmond and was exchanged on March 17, 1863. He reported to his regiment, then at Murfreesboro, and took part in the succeeding campaign which included the battle of Chickamauga. In the meanwhile he had applied to the Secretary of War for a commission as captain of a colored regiment and this was given him and was signed by President Lincoln. In September, 1863, he organized Co. C, 13th Col. Inf., and continued in command until January, 1866. The bravery and efficiency of the troops under his command was shown at the battle of Nashville, when twenty-eight of his men were killed and twenty wounded in twenty minutes. Captain Bensinger was also wounded but he never left the field.
After his honorable discharge, Captain BENSINGER returned to the home farm and operated it for two years and then went to railroading, becoming a brakeman on the C.H. & D. Railroad, with which company he remained for twelve years, as brakeman, baggage master, fireman and engineer. He was also with the Pittsburg & Fort Wayne and the L.E. & Western, as an engineer. In 1880 he retired from the railroad and then engaged in farming in Pleasant Township where he continued until 1900, when he sold his farm and came to McComb. Since locating here, Mr. BENSINGER has kept himself busy in the agency line, selling fertilizers and fruit trees.
Mr. BENSINGER was married February 11, 1864, to Miss SARAH HARRIS, a daughter of WESLEY and MARY (SMITH) HARRIS, of Charlotte, Tenn. She was born in North Carolina and accompanied her parents to Clarksville, Tenn., where both died. Mr. and Mrs. BENSINGER have one son, CHARLES HENRY, who was born in Waverly, Tenn. He is connected with the U.S. Mail service. He married MARY BARGER, a daughter of FRED BARGER, of Pleasant Township, Hancock County, and they have one son, WILLIAM FREDERICK.
Mr. BENSINGER and son are Republicans. Infrequently he has served in township offices, being constable for one term and in 1890 was census enumerator. He is a member of John Howard Post No. 154, G.A.R., at McComb.
Twentieth Century History of Findlay and Hancock County, Ohio. J.A. Kimmel, M.D. Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., 1910.