WILLIAM EDWARD BENSON, who is at the head of a flourishing real estate and insurance business in Greenfield, is the descendant of a family originally settled in Vermont.
His grandfather, John Ellis Benson, was born in 1809, in Brookline, Vermont, and died in 1892 in Brattleboro, Vermont. He lived in different places in Vermont and for a time lived in Quebec. He was engaged in the milling trade and before his death had settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he lived with his son George.
William A. Benson, son of John E. Benson, was born May 14, 1842, in Windham, Vermont, and died March 27, 1911, in Greenfield. He was educated in the public schools of Townsend, Vermont, enlisted in the Civil War in Company “A,” 7th Vermont Volunteers, and served during the latter part of the war on guard duty in New Orleans. Soon after the conclusion of the war he settled in Greenfield, and worked for a time in a manufacturing plant in Montague, and later entered the employ of the manufacturing firm Cutler, Lyons & Field. In his later years he was engaged with his son William Edward in the wood and coal business. He was an expert checker player, was a member of the Grand Army, of the Sons of the American Revolution, and an attendant of the Baptist Church. He married Julia Ann Cooley, of North Sunderland, born March 5, 1854, a daughter of Lyman H. Cooley, born December 5, 1820, and Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew and Annie Pierce (Dunnakin) Cooley, and granddaughter of Herman and Nancy (Bartlett) Cooley, of Springfield, and they were the parents of two children: 1. Nellie Elizabeth, died May 17, 1902, who married Julius M. Johnson. They were the parents of a daughter, Nellie Marion Avis Johnson, born May 4, 1902, who married June 19, 1921, at Lowell, Malcolm Loveland. 2. William Edward, of further mention.
William Edward Benson, son of William A. and Julia Ann (Cooley) Benson, was born in Grafton, Vermont, April 25, 1879. He was educated in the schools of Marlow, New Hampshire, and Greenfield, Massachusetts, graduating from the high school in the latter place in 1898. After the completion of his education he went to Boston, where he worked as a bookkeeper for two years, afterward returning to Greenfield, where he went into the oil business dealing in kerosene and gasoline, and later established himself in the coal and wood business. In 1821 he went into the real estate and insurance business in which he has been very successful. His real estate transactions cover a wide range, his business not being confined to Massachusetts, but extending to all the New England States. Among the many interesting documents William Edward Benson possesses is a deed dated 1771, some four years prior to the Revolutionary War. He is at the head of the Benson Oil and Gasoline Company, a wholesale and retail concern, and is president of the company as well as of the real estate and mortgage company. Mr. Benson is also a member of the Town Finance Company; of the purchasing committee in connection with the new high school, and is a keen mason. He is a member of Republican Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Greenfield; a Companion of the Royal Arch Chapter; a Knights Templar; and also belongs to Melha Temple, Mystic Shrine, of Springfield; and to all of the Scottish Rite bodies. Mr. Benson also belongs to the Order of the Sons of Veterans.
On September 18, 1901, Mr. Benson married Florence R. Hicks, of Rome, Massachusetts, a daughter of Adna and Mina (Hicks) Hicks. Mr. and Mrs. Benson are the parents of three children: 1. Evelyn Florence, born October 24, 1905. 2. Mildred Leone, born May 4, 1907. 3. Ruth Lillian, born March 7, 1910.