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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Aaron Bennett

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois," by J. O. Cunningham, 1905


AARON BENNETT was born in Fairfax County, N.J., May 14, 1801, was reared on a farm in that State, and in boyhood was trained to agricultural pursuits. He moved west from New Jersey to Shelbyville, Ind., traversing the long distance by wagon. From Indiana he came to Illinois in 1855, settling on what was known as the "Ridge Farm," three miles west of Champaign, a tract of land which had been partially brought under cultivation. In 1857 he removed to Champaign and was a resident of the town during the next seven years, in the meantime making some improvements on lands in which he had invested. In 1864 he removed to the farm at the edge of Urbana which has since been known as the Bennett homestead, and which is still in possession of the family. He continued to reside on this farm until his death, which occurred September 30, 1889. He was probably the first broom manufacturer in Champaign, and although the business was not conducted on a large scale, it was one of the pioneer industries of the town.

Very early in life Mr. Bennett became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and for more than fifty years he was a leader in that denomination. He and Mrs. Bennett helped to found the first Presbyterian Church in Champaign, and in later years affiliated with the first Presbyterian of Urbana. He may be said to have been among the earliest active Sunday School workers in this county. He was a young man when the Sunday School movement was set on foot in the United States, its earliest work having been done in New Jersey. In Indiana he continued the work and, after his removal to Illinois, he became one of the leaders in organizing and conducting Sunday Schools here, taking a deep interest in advancing the cause until the end of his life. He was noted as a singer in the church choir and Sunday school, and delighted those who listened to him in the earlier years of his life. He was a kindly, gentle, lovable man.

Mr. Bennett was married first in New Jersey, and there his wife died. His second wife died soon after he came to Illinois. In 1857 he married Miss Cynthia A. LIST, a daughter of John B. LIST, who came from Johnson County, Ind., to Champaign County in 1855, and first settled in what is now Mahomet township, but later moved to Piatt County, Ill. He was the descendant of an old Kentucky family. Mrs. Bennett survives her husband, and since 1889 has resided in Urbana. At the present time (1904) the surviving children are ephraim, of Parsons, Kans.; M. L, of Quincy, Ill.; Mrs. Thomas EDWARDS, of La Crosse, Kans.; John B.; Mrs. Hattie KNOWLTON, and George M., all of Urbana.

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