James M. Benbrook
A Biographical Sketch

From: History of Texas - Biographical History of Tarrant; pub. 1895; p. 563

          James M. Benbrook is the gentleman in honor of whom Benbrook Station, on the Texas & Pacific Railroad, is named.  As he is one of the representative citizens of Tarran county, we take pleasure in presenting the following sketch of his life in this work:

          James M. Benbrook was born in Posey county, Indiana, June 20, 1831; was reared on a farm, growing up without any educational advantages.  Since he reached manhood he has, by his own exertions, acquired an education.  In 1845 he moved with his parents to Hamilton county, Illinois, and there, in 1850, his father died.  He remained with his mother until 1852, when he married and settled on a farm, and, in connection with his farming operations, he ran a steam mill, continuing thus occupied until the outbreak of the civil war.  In June, 1861, he became a member of the Fortieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was consigned to the Army of the Tennessee, under Sherman.  He was through all the Kentucky and Tennessee campaign in 1862.  His feet were worn out from long marching, and he was also wounded in the hip by a piece of shell; was for a long time in the hospital at Keokuk, Iowa, and was finally discharged.  For six years he walked on crutches.  He first enlisted in a cavalry company, of which he was elected First Lieutenant, but the regiment was not received, and he resigned and went home, and in June he became a member of the Fortieth Infantry, as above state.

          After receiving his discharge, Mr. Benbrook returned home.  In 1866 he moved to Missouri, thence to Arkansas, and a year later to Texas.  He did not, however, remain in Texas at that time, but returned to Arkansas.  The following eight years he traveled extensively for the benefit of his health, and in 1874, he returned to Texas.  After renting land on year in Johnson county, he came to Tarrant, bought a tract of wild land, developed a farm, and resided on it until 1891.  That year he built a commodious residence in the village of Benbrook, and here he has since made his home.  He still gives his personal supervision to his farm, all of which is under cultivation and nicely improved.  He has for years made a specialty of raising large quantities of hay, which always finds a ready market.

          Mr. Benbrook's parents were James and Sarah (Shadowen) Benbrook.  They were born and married in Virginia, moved to Kentucky, thence to Indiana, and from there to Illinois, where the father died, as already stated.  Ezekiel Benbrook, the grandfather of our subject, was born in England and was one of the early settlers of Virginia.  He was a Colonel in the Revolutionary war, served under General Washington, and crossed the Delaware on the ice with him; was in the army seven years, and during his service endured untold hardships.  From Virginia he moved out to Kentucky, where he reared his family.  He was the progenitor of all the Benbrooks in America.  The children of James and Sarah Benbrook are as follows: Malinda, wife of Dr. Alford McCarty, Benbrook, Texas; Ezekiel, a member of the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, was killed at Duvall's Bluff; Mary J., wife of W. Malone, is deceased; and James M., with whose name we began this sketch.

          James M. Benbrook has been twice married.  He first wedded Miss Martha Metcalf, who was born in Illinois in  1833, daughter of W. J. Metcalf, a farmer of that State.  The children of this marriage were six, three of whom died in infancy.  Of the others we record that Albert L. was a teacher, and that he died and left a widow and two children; Monroe is engaged in the furniture business at Dallas; Ida M. is the wife of Dr. E. W. Snider, a practicing physician of Brownwood, Texas. This wife and mother died in July, 1884.  She was a consistent member of the Baptist Church.  February 28, 1886, Mr. Benbrook married Mrs. L. A. Boaz, widow of Peter Boaz.  Mr. and Mrs. Boaz came to Texas from Kentucky in 1873, and he died on Clear fork October 28, 1882, leaving seven children, viz.: Olive, Ex, Edgar, Nathaniel B., Hiram A., William E. and Z.  Mrs. Benbrook is a daughter of N. H. Ryan, and one of a family of eight children: William, John, Constance, Mrs. Benbrook, Mary, Edmond, Nancy and Philip N.

          Mr. Benbrook has always taken an active interest in public affairs.  Until recently he was a Republican, but he now affiliates with the Populist party.  While in Illinois he served four years as Constable, and since coming to Texas has filled several minor offices, for two terms serving as Justice of the Peace.  He is a member of the I.O.O.F. and the Baptist Church.  Mrs. Benbrook is a Methodist.

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