James Bennie (1802-1871)

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James Bennie
North Gilead Cemetery
Born: 3 Jun 1802 Strathblane, Scotland
Died: 1 May 1871 Bountiful, Utah
Father: William Bennie
Mother: Margaret Lockart
Siblings: John Bennie
Christiana Bennie
James Bennie
Jeanette Bennie
Margaret Bennie
William Bennie
Mary Bennie
Spouse: Susan Robison
Married: 8 Dec 1852 Bronson, Branch, Michigan
Children: James Hercules Bennie
Joseph Bennie

History of Branch County Michigan, pp. 281, 282:

In the year 1828 a vessel crossed the Atlantic, which brought from Glasgow to New York a Scotch emigrant named James Bennie. Upon landing in this country he at once went to Amsterdam, on the Mohawk River, in Central New York, and engaged in doing farm work. He remained there for about five years, and then, having accumulated a sufficient amount of money to pay the expenses of their passage, sent to Scotland for his mother and an unmarried sister, who, as soon as possible, joined him in Amsterdam, and then all came on to this State, where a married sister, Mrs. Jeanette McKinley, was then living, in the town of Gilead.

They arrived in this locality in 1833, and Mr. Bennie hired out to work for Bishop Chase, his mother and sister going to live with Mrs. McKinley. Mr. Bennie arrived in this vicinity without a dollar, having expended all his earnings to get here. He became quite an important member of the bishop's household, and was entrusted with the management of a large part of his business affairs. While Bennie lived with him, the bishop went on a visit to England, and during his absence the residence was destroyed by fire. A large part of the furniture and household effects were saved from the conflagration. The news went across the sea that Bishop Chase's mansion had been destroyed, and he was presented with large amounts of money (aggregating several thousand dollars) by his English friends and acquaintances, who seemed to have no definite knowledge of the intrinsic value of a mansion in the "wilds of Michigan."

In this fire Mr. Bennie lost all the property he possessed except the clothes he was wearing. He continued working for the bishop till he had saved enough to purchase an eighty-acre lot of the government, and then, in June, 1836, he went to the land-office and entered the east half of the southeast quarter of section 31, and became a resident of Bethel, his unmarried sister Christiana keeping house for him.

In 1852 he was married to Mrs. Susan Robinson, formerly of Syracuse, N. Y., who still survives him and resides on the homestead. He was a very industrious and energetic man, careful and thorough in business, kind and considerate to all with whom he came in contact, and benevolent to a fault. During his life he acquired a competency of worldly goods, and added to his landed possessions until he owned 160 acres of the choicest lands in this part of the county. He was often entrusted with the management of public business in the town, and discharged his duties with careful fidelity. While on a visit to relatives in Utah he was taken sick, and died there May 1, 1872.


  • Name variant: Benny
  • 1850 Federal Census, Michigan, Branch, Bethel, Enumerated 18 Sep 1850, p. 394, Dwelling #106, Family #106 [next door to Susan Robison Beagle]:
Bennie, James, 46, male, farmer, 2000, Scotland
Anderson, Wm., 35, male, Scotland
Elizabeth, 34, female, Scotland
Mary, 8, female, Ia
Alice, 1, female, Mich
  • Marriage: BCGS. Early Marriages of Branch County, Michigan, 1833-1875, p. 16:
Bennie, James, 46, of Bethel Twp., m Susan Beagle, 36, of Bethel Twp., on 8 Dec 1852, at Bronson, by Jehiel Driggs (JP), witnessed by Albert Beagle and Margaret Beagle. #1056.
  • 1860 Federal Census, Michigan, Branch, Bethel
Bennie, James, 50, m, Farmer, 5000/1200, Scotland
Susan, 43, female, New York
Mary A., 16, female, Mich
Hercules, 7, male, Mich
Joseph, 5, male, Mich
Eggliston, Charles, 16, male, Mich
Allen, Charles, 18, male, Mich
Bowers, Adelbert, 2, male, Mich
Joel, Pauline, 19, female, Canada
  • 1870 Federal Census, Michigan, Branch, Bethel
Bennie, James, 60, m, w, Farmer, 15000/1600, Scot, vote
Susan, 50, female, white, Keeping House, New York
Olmstead, William H., 27, male, white, Farmer, /800, Mich, vote
Marietta, 25, female, white, Keeping House, Mich
James, 6, male, white, Mich, attended school
Bennie, Adelbert, 12, male, white, at home, Mich, attended school
Joles, Pauline, 30, female, white, Domestic Servant, New York
Roach, Edward, 20, male, white, Farm Laborer, Mich
Date of death: 1-May-1871
Ledger Page: 81
Record Number: 166
Place of death: Utah
County of Death: Branch
Sex: Male
Marital Status: Married
Age: 69 years
Cause of Death: ERYSIPELAS
Birthplace: SCOTLAND
Occupation: FARMER
Father's Name: Unknown,
Father's Residence: UNKNOWN
Mother's Name: UNKNOWN,
Mother's Residence: UNKNOWN
Date of record: 1-Jun-1872
  • Death variations:
1 May 1870
1 May 1872 [History of Branch County Michigan]
  • Burial: BCGS. Cemetery Inscriptions and Records1831-1981, Vol. I, North Gilead Cemetery, located on Gilead Lake Road in Section 6 of Gilead Township. Taken from Township clerk's records and tombstones on 7 Jul 1979. Tombstones recorded by Lucile and Colleen Batterson. p . 12:
Lot 177. Bennie James b 3 Jun 1802 d 1 May 1871
  • Probate: FHL Film #929661, Branch County, Michigan, Probate File, #1314:
To the Hon. David W. Green Judge of Probate for the County of Branch in the State of Michigan The Petition of Susan Bennie who is of the age of twenty one years and upwards, of the County of Branch respectfully shows: That James Bennie late of Bethel in said County of Branch departed this life in the Township of Bountiful, Davis Co, Utah Territory on Monday the first day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy One leaving a last Will and Testament, as your petitioner is informed and verily believes.
Heirs at law:
Susan Bennie widow of the deceased
Maryett Olmstead, Bethel Branch Co. Mich
Henry Olmstead, Bethel Branch Co. Mich
Executor: W. H. Compton
Dated: Coldwater, 3 Jul 1871
Will: Bequests:
1st - Real property to my wife Susan Bennie
2nd - Real property to Maryette Olmstead
3rd - Real property to Henry Olmstead
4th - I give and bequeath all my personal property of whatsoever name or nature to my wife Susan Bennie with the exception of enough out of said personal property to buy suitable monuments and grave stones for Harrison, Albert and Josephine Beagle also for myself and children James H. and Joseph Bennie
Executors: Geo. F. Gillam & William H. Compton
Signed: 21 Oct 1869
William H. Compton, Bronson, Branch Co., Mich
Geo. F. Gillam, Bronson, Branch Co., Mich
  • Ranney, Lucretia Lyman. Joseph Robison and Conrelia [sic] Guinal or Quinell, August 1958, p. 12.
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Archive Section]
Submitted by: Afton J. Taylor
Family of: William Bennie & Margaret Lockart
Source: Strathblane Parish Registers
  • Nicolo, Margaret LaDean Sutton Sweeting. Sweeting Family Records Binder