HON. JAMES ABNER BENNETT. – Our subject was born in Bracken county, Kentucky, on March 17,1808. His birthplace was a farm; and here he remained with his parents until 1830, when he moved to Boone county. He resided here for three years, and then removed to Jackson county, Missouri, near the town of Independence, and in 1839 again removed to Platt county. The following year, 1840, he was married to Miss Louisa E.R. Bane, of Weston, Missouri. Here Mr. Bennett remained, following blacksmithing and conducting a livery stable. He also acted as justice of the peace until the year 1842. There also was a son born to them, John R. Bennett. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett moved from here to Jackson county, Missouri, where they lived until 1850, in the meanwhile suffering the loss of their son, who died April 18,1848.
In 1849 Mr. Bennett came on a prospecting tour to California. On his return, Mrs. Bennett made preparations and started with him for Oregon, traveling with ox-teams in company with some thirty other families, Judge Bennett being elected captain of the train. They started on May 9th, and after a wearisome journey of five months’ duration reached Oregon on October 2, 1850. They at once located on their beautiful farm near Corvallis; and, the settlers soon recognizing true worth, he was elected a senator in the territorial legislature from Benton county, and in 1857 was re-elected over all competitors. He also was once assessor of the county, and served as sheriff for one term. He occupied himself in farming and stock-raising, and drove cattle to California to the mines. In 1864 Mr. Bennett went to Idaho, and for two years drove stock to supply the miners. In 1866 Mrs. Bennett joined her husband in Idaho; and together they established a dairy in Ada county. Two years later he went to Salt Lake City, bought a herd of cattle and drove them to the farm in Ada county.
In 1869 he was elected to the legislature, and served one term as representative. But in the following year his health began to wane; and for the next fifteen years he was incapable of performing any labor, his wife taking his place as chief and superintendent of the farm. On April 24,1885, Honorable James A. Bennett closed his earthly career; and his remains were brought to Corvallis by Mrs. Bennett, and now repose in Crystal Lake Cemetery, where the faithful and loving wife has caused to be erected a handsome monument, suitably inscribed, to his memory. He was a mason of high standing, an honorable man in all his dealings, and left a name second to none in the state for integrity and nobleness of character. His widow still lives on the old home place, one mile southwest of Corvallis, in a modern cottage, surrounded by all the comforts and conveniences of life. She is a most generous and charitable lady, as is acknowledged by all with whom she is brought in contact, and respected and beloved by all fortunate enough to claim acquaintance with her.