Subj: Beddenfield, Benefield Newsletter
Date: 97-05-03 14:25:07 EDT

Here it is, the next edition of "our" news. And I do mean "our" news. If you have some item of interest in your research, be assured there is probably someone else on this newsletter list who is also interested in it. Submit it to me, either by email or snail mail, and I will share it with everybody.

Today's info is gleaned from various sources. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Dee writes: "My research only extends to Lucy Bedingfield. I have not been able to get info regarding all of her children or a spouse. I do know that Lucy's Branch Resort Park is named for her. Don't know how this came about. Lucy was my ggggrandmother. Would like to share with everyone that Lucy Bedingfield had a daughter named Martha date of birth approximately 1856. She married Joe Yarborough. She died on June 9, 1942. I have death certificates for 3 of Lucy's descendants, but no physical records of Lucy other than the spelling of her name is different on each document (Benningfield, Bendingfield)." Anybody have any information for her?

And from Jeanie in Texas comes this wonderful memoir of earlier times.

The following comes from the book titled--The Benefiel Families of Indiana and Their Descendants, compiled by Evelyn Benefiel Stout. Copyright 1983 by Evelyn B. Stout) Page 12 starts with Family A and an introduction by Mrs. Stout--[The following article was given to me by Lloyd Benefiel of Lyons, KS; but it was sent to him by Marion Chiarello. It was written about and by the Buchanans, but it includes the Benefiels, and is such an interesting description of that part of Indiana in the days of the earliest settlers that I felt it was well worth including. Where I have omitted part of it, I will use the ellipses to indicate the omission. The article was originally taken from the Versailles,IN REPUBLICAN, December 1911.EBS]  RECOLLECTIONS OF A PIONEERby William Edward Ryker  One pleasant September afternoon I called on Cousin George Buchanan at the home of his daughter Mrs. Melvina Demaree, of New Marion. I found him comfortably seated neath the shade of a wide spreading apple tree, where ripening fruit furnished a feast for a king. After a pleasant hour of his delightful reminiscence, he consented to give me the following sketch of his life.

I was born in 1828 where the old fort, Buchanan's Station, was built. My grandfather, George Buchanan--a soldier of the Revolution--moved from Paris, KY, and built the fort in the autumn of 1819. The fort, or station, was a log building with a projecting story having rifle ports. It was surrounded at a distance of a rifle shot by a wall of posts set in the ground and sharpened at the top . . .My father, Willson Buchanan, built his cabin just south of the post. West of him was Uncle George McLaughlin's home. These were then all in Jefferson county but are now in Ripley county, adjoining the Jefferson county line. What is now Ripley co was then part of Jefferson co. South of them, in what is still Jefferson co, was the cabin home of my uncle, George Benefiel--also a Rev. War soldier . . . South of Uncle George Benefiel's was cousin Jesse Benefiel's home . . . East of Uncle George Benefiel's was cousin John West, a veteran of 1812 . . . To the south and west was the Ryker settlement of somewhat earlier date, around 1807.

We all went over there, to the Bethel Presbyterian Church . . .The Benefiels, our cousins, nearly all settled within the confines of Shelby twp, Jefferson co; whilst the Buchanans have rather inclined to Ripley, although there are many of their descendants still in both counties. My earliest recollections of Ripley co are of a time when it was, with the exception of the settlers cabins and small clearings here and there, an almost unbroken forest of giant poplar and monarch oak, with cherry, ash, sugar trees, hickory and beech, three or four feet at the stump for undergrowth. There was still some large game left. I remember going after the cows one evening and as I ran up to a large poplar log, a deer sprang up from the opposite side and bounded away through the forest. I did some good running in the opposite direction. There was always plenty of small game. Squirrels were so numerous as to almost destroy the growing crop. Coon-hunting was fine sport; and we had some glorious fox chases in those days of woodland life. Pigeons would fly in great swarms so numerous as to almost darken the sunlight in their flight from pigeon roost to feeding ground. The whirring of their wings at such time sounded like the roar of an oncoming hurricane. Our hogs fattened on the mast and when we wanted pork we had only to go to the woods for a fat hog. The hogs were marked and turned loose in the woods as the cattle of the plains were branded. A slit and a crop in the left ear with an underbit in the right ear being one man's mark, whilst another would be, A slit and an underbit in the left and a crop and a slit and an underbit, and so on.

I remember going with my father when a small boy to the woolen mill at New Marion. There was but one house on the road between Haney's Corner and New Marion. The men at the house all had white hair and little eyes. Our roads were just blazed roads or trails and when we were not jolting over roots, the wheels were in chuck holes or mud. As to our mail, Old Ben Whitham was the postmaster and mail carrier. He would walk to Madison and back one day and carry the mail back; and the second day after he would walk to Versailles and back--bringing the mail from north and east. We had mail once a week from each place. Afterwards we had a mail route from Aurora to Madison that delivered mail to Paultown, Cross Plains, Barbersville, and Canaan.

I remember the first telegraph line west of Cincinnati. It was built from Madison to Cincinnati. It passed my father's dooryard. That old telegraph line is now a telephone line and should also be a trolley line. Since those early days, although I have witnessed the many successive changes from the ox-wagon to the automobile, they have come so fast that I hardly grasp their import. We have changed from mud blazed roads to open highways and pikes; from mails once a week delivered at post offices miles apart, to daily rural carriers delivering our mail at the gate whilst steam & trolley lines carry us whither so ever we will, at the rate of a mile a minute.

I had for a plow, a steel point with a wooden mould-board made by cousin Billy Buchanan the Wheelwright. Now the farmer has the best of chilled plows with all modern, improved machinery to hasten farming and save labor.

Of all my boyhood companions and schoolmates--but two are now living, Harrision Benefiel and James Jarvis; and now since our Lord has called Harriett home to her rest, I am only waiting here for that final summons that must come soon, when I, too, shall answer it.

The September sun was low in the west when I, at length, arose to go. It was the last time I had the opportunity to talk with the last living person who was of the generation that build Fort Buchanan.

That's THE END.