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There have been few more impressive lessons of the value of faithfulness in small things than that afforded by the struggles and triumphs of Benjamin Bennett of Idaho Falls, Idaho, who is prominent in the commercial circles of Idaho and adjoining states and whose high position as a merchant and as a citizen has been gained by honest devotion to every interest entrusted to him as boy and man.
Benjamin Bennett was born in the north of Wales, January 1, 1846. His parents, John and Jane (Roberts) Bennett, came to the United States in 1863, bringing with them their ten children, and settled at Fillmore, Millard county, Utah. In his native land the elder Bennett had been a sea captain and a river pilot. He became a farmer in Utah, where he died, aged forty-six, leaving the management of the farm and the care of the family to his son Benjamin, then a lad of sixteen, but one already used to work, and brave and resolute beyond most boys of his age; for he was the eldest son and his help had been required several years earlier. After he was twelve years old he had no opportunity to attend school, and he may be truly said to be a man self-educated and self-made, for he is a man of thorough and comprehensive mental training and of undoubted standing. His mother and eight of her ten children are living and she has attained to the advanced age of seventy-six years.
Young Bennett tried to do his duty, and in so doing made for himself a good reputation, which helped him to a higher business plane. He was called to a mercantile position and acquitted himself so creditably in it that his promotion was only a matter of time. In 1873 he was made manager of a cooperative store at Halden, Millard County, Utah. He left that position to go to Frisco, Beaver County, Utah, where he became a partner in a mercantile house. Meantime he had developed religiously until he was an able speaker and an efficient worker in the church of Latter Day Saints. He was chosen one of the elders of that church and for a time relinquished his business career to go on a missionary tour through England. Two years were consumed with work and his labors were crowned with gratifying success. On his return to Utah he was made manager of a store of the Beaver Cooperative Mercantile Institution, at Beaver, Beaver County, Utah. Later he had charge of a similar establishment at Provo City, Utah, and from there came to Idaho Falls, in 1894, to manage the large mercantile house of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution at that place. It may be edifying to note in this connection that this extensive business house is one of the branches of a large corporation, capitalized at one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which has its principal offices at Salt Lake City, Utah, and, through favorably located branch stores, handles every kind of merchandise required by its trade. The concern owns and operates factories in which some classes of goods are made, and is enabled to buy other merchandise in large quantities, to be shipped by the carload to some of its important branch stores, including that at Idaho Falls. Under the management of Mr. Bennett, the business of the store has increased satisfactorily and extends into the country at least fifty miles in every direction. Goods are sold for cash or on credit to approved purchasers, and a discount is made in some classes of goods for spot cash, which is quite an inducement to thrifty buyers.
Mr. Bennett is a Democrat, and while he has never been particularly active politically, he has been chosen to several important offices, among them that of mayor of Beaver, Utah, and county commissioner of Beaver County, Utah. Wherever he has lived, his influence has been for the public good. He was married in 1869 to Emma Jane Holman, daughter of James S. Holman, of Salt Lake City, Utah, who was a pioneer there in 1847. They have had twelve children, eleven of whom are living, all members of the church of Latter Day Saints. Three of the sons are missionaries for the church, one in England, one in California and one in Oregon.