Onward to the Father John Bensing 1836-1898
Onward to the Father, Home of the Departed, Goes One more of Henry County's Pioneers and Respected Citizens.
On November 27th, 1898, at 1:30 o'clock a.m. the spirit of John Bensing passed away beyond the trials and troubles of this life, leaving his body in deaths cold embrace. And thus again has one more of the pioneer settlers of Henry County been called from this stage of life, leaving his wife, three sons, and four daughters to mourn their loss.
John Bensing the subject of this biographical sketch, was born on April 2nd. 1836, in the Village of Wallroth in the Prussain province Hesse Cassel of the German Empire, from where he emigrated to the United States in 1852, and first settled after his arrival in America in Beaver County, Penn. where he met and formed an acquaintance with Anna B. Ifft, whom he married in 1853.
Mr. Bensing remained a citizen of the said state and county for 11 years, seven of which he owned property and operated a ferry crossing the Ohio River from Phillipsburgh (now Monaca) to a point between Beaver and Bridgewater, and known in those day as the lower or Beaver ferry. He sold or traded the aforesaid property for a tract of 240 acres of woods or timberland which he had never seen, but represented to him to be well timbered with poplar and white oak, but which turned out to be a cottonwood and elm swamp, some burr oak but no poplar.
The transfer was made in 1863, and in the autumn of 1863 Mr. Bensing removed his family, consisting of his wife and three children, to Kenton, Hardin county, Ohio, where they remained during the winter. The children who were born in Pennsylvania and were removed to Ohio were Jacob, Katie A., wife of W.R. Aurand of near Malinta, O., and Anna G., wife of James Hicks, who resides in Monaca, Penn.
Mr. John Ifft, a brother-in-law and, and Mr. Bensing coming on farther north west to inspect and make improvements on their property purchased, which they did in the shape of what was known for many years as the Bensing Deadening. This they could do for fall was a very dry and the winter cold; the place of their operations was one and three quarter miles east of Phillip Heckler's, one half-south of Malinta, with whom they boarded and made their home during their period of making improvements spoken of.
That was the winter we had the coldest New Years Day on record, Jan 1st, 1864 when a person could take a cup of water, toss it into the air, and it would fall to the ground chunks of ice. Many of the soldiers who were on picket duty that day were frozen to death, as has been often told to the writer since, which he shall never forget as long as he has a memory, although he was but a small boy at that time.
Shortly after Mr. Bensing and Mr. Ifft returned to Kenton, where they remained until about the 1st of March, working at various places for a relative, who owned a steam grist mill and other business.
Along the 1st of March Mr. B. and his family again started for the land of promise, traveling by rail as far as Ottawa, Ohio, where they remained a couple of days with a relative, who transported them through the Black Swamp over the corduroy roads with his team
This road no doubt many of the pioneers will remember, especially those who crossed the swamp by this route. The men walked, and so did mother, and to cross over they were compelled to lay poles from one log to another: the children rode in the wagon, the horses at times were up to their bellies in water. The swamp was finally crossed, and we arrived at our journeys end in the land of promise, it having taken from early morn until late in the evening to make 20 miles from Ottawa to Phillip Heckler's where we remained a few days, until we moved into a log cabin, near the Heckler dwelling, which Mr. Bensing had rented.
Here were the 240 acres, that was our future home. It was covered with water, and the melodious voice of the mosquitoes could be heard upon ever hand. This was the outlook which confronted Mr. Bensing; but desirous of procuring a home for himself and family he purchased another 100 acres, on part of which Malinta now stands.
On this land was a log cabin, with 5 acres cleared. He moved into the cabin in the fall and the spring of 1865 brought ne developments. On March 9th, a baby girl was born, who was named Lizzie Malinta after whom the pleasant little village of Malinta was named.
In this land of mosquitoes, tadpoles and wrigglers, Mr. Bensing and his family had not yet resolved all the blessings of this land of promise. He took sick first with the intermittent fever, and one after another the whole family were down with the bilious fever. They were all sick at the same time except 5 year old Katie on whom fell the care of the sick. After the fever came the ague, which was so prevalent in those days.
This was more than the family could stand and in the fall they left their home in Ohio as willingly as the children of Israel left Egypt: they left all behind them except the fever and the ague, an returned to Pennsylvania.
Here Mr. B. left his family with his wife's parents, and went to Petroleum Center, on Oil Creek, and took to drilling oil wells. In the coming spring his family also removed to the oil regions. John Ifft having left Henry county in the spring of '64 had preceded the family to that place.
In the fall of '66, he and Mr. Bensing once more set out for the land of promise and hard work, with the determination of locating a saw mill, taking their families with them. Logs were made and hauled in the winter of 1866 and in the spring of 1867 the mill was erected the firm of Ifft & Bensing commence business. They remained together for two years, when the Ifft's retired to Pennsylvania. Mr. Ifft having had the misfortune of having his skull injured by the explosion of a grind stone in the mill.
After remaining in the lumber business for a number of years, Mr. Bensing became engaged in the mercantile business, in which he remained for a number of years, after which he became interested in the manufacture of drain tile and brick. He cleared and brought under cultivation over 200 acres of land, and has been foremost in every new enterprise for the development and improvement of the surrounding country. He has been charitable and for the betterment of society, and was liberal to a fault, for in being liberal he had lost a considerable amount of money to the detriment of himself and family.
Mr. Bensing's life has been a busy one. About a year ago sickness overpowered him and from that time until his death his work was over. He has left his family to labor on until they meet him on the other shore.
Mr. Bensing Founded Malinta, and he built several buildings in the town, but his eldest son gave it the name. John Ifft was the first man that came with hi to this country, and for the third time within the past year he came to visit Mr. Bensing, and on the last visit to go with him to the place where father is taking his long last rest.
During his late illness Mr. Bensing was a very severe sufferer, but he had the pleasure of seeing many of his friends during his illness who cam long distances to see him. His brother J. N. who lives in Kentucky, and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Herman and son were also here to see him carried to his final resting place. The funeral services were arranged by the Knights of Pythias, of which order he was an honored member. The services were held at the Lutheran church and were very impressive, and conducted by Rev. Ernsberger of Leipsic, Rev. Shoemaker of Napoleon, and Rev. Schroeder of Malinta.
Card of thanks
To the kind friends and neighbors who so willingly assisted us during the long and severe illness of our dear husband and father and the noble Knight, who left nothing undone in the help and for our father and his family.. To all of you we tender our sincere feeling of gratitude and respect. - Anna B. Bensing and Family
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