Near his residence in the town of Union, at 5 o’clock, Sunday morning, Oct. 7th, D. R. Benson, aged 67 years.
David R. Benson, the subject of this sketch was well and favorably known, from Idaho to California, as a man of most remarkable energy and undoubted honesty and integrity. There are indeed, few, if any men in this entire community, whose loss would be so deeply felt.
Many years of constant and active business relations with citizens of Union, Umatilla and Baker counties, has served to make his name known far and wide, and his word with heavy cattle dealers was always considered as good as the most satisfactory bond. As a business man he has probably disbursed more money among the people of Union county than any other citizen.
Mr. Benson was born in the State of Maryland in 1820, where he resided until about fifteen years of age when he, with his parents, emigrated to Missouri and settled in Grundy county. There, in 1856, he was married to Margaret Jones, the faithful companion of his hardships and trials, victories and vicissitudes, and here he remained until the spring of 1863, when with his little family and a number of friends, he started to cross the plains, determined to seek a home on the Pacific Coast, in a country where the ravages of war and the excitement that then distracted the people of Missouri to such an extent as to raise the hand of neighbor against neighbor, would be unknown.
Arriving in Grande Ronde Valley, in the fall of ’63’, he at once located a farm on Catherine creek, about one mile east of the town of Union, and engaged extensively in freighting and dealing in stock. His indomitable energy, courteous treatment and fair dealing with all with whom he came in contact, at once gained him a host of warm personal friends. Many of whom yet remain in this vicinity and who deeply and sadly mourn his loss.
In 1868 the people of Union and Baker counties nominated Mr. Benson as Joint Representative for said counties, to which place he was elected by a handsome majority. In the session of the Legislature of 1868, Mr. Benson was as remarkable for the energy displayed in the interest of the counties he represented, as he has always been in the management of his private business, and in that body he also secured the confidence and esteem of his colleagues and associates.
During the past few years he has been extensively engaged in butchering, buying and driving cattle, and by placing too much confidence in others, had suffered serious financial loss. A short time ago he took in contract to deliver a large band of cattle to parties near the City of Rocks, the time allowed to purchase and drive the cattle was limited, and few men would have undertaken the task. For the past three weeks he has been almost constantly in the saddle and on Thursday evening he returned from Baker county, and remained at home only a few minutes, and went on to Jones & Johnson’s ranch about three miles from town, where the cattle he had been purchasing were being delivered. Here he was taken ill with cramp colic, which soon terminated in paralysis of the bowels. Medical aid was summoned, but the grim hand of death refused to relax its hold, and on Sunday morning at 5 o’clock A. M. the soul of David R. Benson passed on to a higher, holier and happier existence.
The I. O. O. F., of which he was an earnest and highly esteemed member, conducted the funeral services which was largely attended. Appropriate remarks were offered at the M. E. church by Rev. H. K. Hines, and at the cemetery the corpse was deposited with its kindred dust in accordance with the beautiful ceremony of the noble order of Odd Fellows.
Bright hopes that burn like stars sublime,
Go down in the haven of freedom;
And true [heares] perish in the time
We most [earues] in need them.
But never sit we down and say:
There’s nothing left out sorrow;
We walk the wilderness to-day,
The promised land to-morrow.
Union, Union County, Oregon
Saturday Morning, October 13, 1877
(Newspaper microfilm can be obtained from the University of Oregon through an interlibrary loan)
Contributed by:Tom Childers