Rev. Benedict Belt was born in Baltimore county, in the State of Maryland, January 30, 1785. His father died when he was a small child. When he was seventeen years old, he, with his mother, two sisters and brother-in-law, James Petticord, moved to Licking Valley in the spring of 1802, and Benedict, with his mother and Petticord, stopped on the banks of the North Fork of Licking, where Newark now is. Benedict, having been raised in a mill, he and his brother-in-law erected a hand mill on which they ground corn for toll. This proving rather a hard way to make a living they, by the aid of his mother's money, in the fall of 1802, erected a small log mill about one hundred feet from where the Van Buskirk Montgomery mill now stands. This and a similar mill erected by Phineas Ford on Auter Creek [Note:prob. means Otter Creek] in the summer of 1803, were doubtless the first two mills run by water within the bounds of Licking county; and probably the Belt mill preceded the Ford mill some six months. Soon after Benedict left his mill, perhaps in the spring of 1804, it was swept away by a flood, and the site was bought by John Van Buskirk, who built a better mill, and there has been a mill on that site ever since. The Ford mill, in a few years, shared the fate of the Belt mill, and was never rebuilt.

Benedict Belt subsequently, with the family of his youngest son, moved into Union township, where he died , in July 1863, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He was a man of energy and activity, but was a little given to impatience and despondency when troubles assailed him. The evil consequences of this, however, were greatly overcome by the stability and sound judgment of his noble wife. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for fifty-five years, and held a license as exhorter or preacher for more than fifty years. He was not a man of much preaching talent, but possessed a great amount of religious fire and zeal. He was a fluent talker, and in some places quite popular and successful in calling sinners to repentance, and in building up the cause of Christianity in the wilderness. He was raised in the faith of the Friend Quakers; consequently he spoke as the spirit moved him, and was most eloquent when most excited. Few men have lived and died more respected for their uniform piety and Christian integrity than Rev. Benedict Belt. He gave up his business matters to his son, but was active in his religious duties to the end of his life.


1798 History of Licking County, O. Its Past and Present" compiled by N. H. Hill, Jr., A. A. Graham and Co., Publishers, Newark, OH, 1881