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George L. BENN

Of Clarion County Pennsylvania

1802 - 1882

We believe George L. BENN to have been the father of Nancy BENN who married John M. EATON in Clarion County Pennsylvania in 1846. We have not located John and Nancy Eaton on any 1850 census. Handed down stories state they went to Iowa with four or five young children. Perhaps they left Pennsylvania before the 1850 census.
The photo on the left is of the tombstone of George L. BENN, Rimersburg Cemetery, Clarion County Pennsylvania. We found no stone for the wife of George L. BENN.

George L. Benn's will was written March 8, 1882, and was witnessed by Cyrus Benn and Harvey E. Gardner. He died "at his residence" in Toby Township, Clarion County, PA, on April 9, 1882. His will provided bequests to his sons Samuel L. BENN and Cyrus N. BENN, his wife "Sarah Jane," a daughter Sarah, "being weakly," and a daughter Rachel BAKER.

On April 23, 1883, a document was filed with the court which stated, "I, Mary BENN, widow of the said George L. BENN, deceased, do hereby waive the devise and bequest to me made under the will of said deceased and elect to take my dower and share of the personal estate of said deceased under the intestate lows of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Witness my hand this 7 day of April AD, 1883." Document is signed Mary Jane BENN (X her mark) and Attest, Sarah BENN
This document only adds to the confusion of trying to establish the names of the wife (wives) and children of George L. Benn. It would seem that the Sarah Benn, listed as age 48 on the 1850 census, must have died (or they were divorced) between 1850 and 1860 as she is not shown on the latter census. The 1860 census has Mary BENN, age 34, who must have been the second wife, however, the will refers to the wife as Sarah Jane. (The Clarion County courthouse was twice destroyed by fire and the earliest marriage records begin about 1880.) By combining the census records we find a total of twelve children; the will names only four. (View 1850 - 1860 - 1870 census records here)
We believe there was at least one other child, Nancy BENN, who married John EATON in Clarion County PA in 1846 so was not named on any of the census records. We have a photograph with a handwritten inscription on the back which says, Rachel BAKER, sister of Nancy Benn Eaton. John and Nancy (Benn) Eaton were enumerated on the 1856 state census in Lee County Iowa, and the household included a George BENN who was of the right age to be the child, George Benn, who is listed on the 1850 Pennsylvania census but not the 1860. Also, there is evidence that George L. Benn had a sister named Nancy.

Information from other researchers indicates that George L. BENN was twice married and had children with both wives. George L. BENN is said to have married (1st) Sarah LYONS (b. 10 Jul 1804 - d. 18 Apr 1851) on 16 December 1824, and (2nd) Mary Jane RAY on 20 November 1851.

The following list of children has been compiled from several sources, including census records and information from other researchers. We have no documentation other than the will and some obituaries.

The above are believed to have been the children of George L. BENN and his first wife, Sarah. There were at least three, possibly four children with the second wife, Mary Jane.

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