SAMUEL BENN. – There is a certain keenness amounting almost to prescience which enables a man to locate a successful town. The laws of a city’s development are so peculiar that few are able to make much of the riddle. Nevertheless some seem to know where to locate a townsite, and where to invest in real estate. It is a business instinct. Mr. Benn is one of these persons. He is the founder of Aberdeen.
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He was born in New York City, and, as a youth, learned the carpenter’s trade. In 1856 he came to San Francisco, and mined and built dams and flumes in Tuolumne county three years. His purpose to return home was changed by reports of the wealth and beauty of Washington Territory, whither he came in 1859, and settled at Milburn on the Chehalis. Here he lived nine years, clearing up a farm, – an arduous but eminently useful job. In 1867 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land from the government and some four hundred more from Reuben Redman on the present site of Aberdeen, and in 1884 laid out the city, selling lots and improving the property. For three years subsequently he was occupied with farming, and in conducting the Washingtonian Cannery. He has now, however, retired from business, excepting such as is required by his property interests, which are extensive. His capital of one hundred dollars which he brought into the territory has become a handsome fortune. Mr. Benn was the first sheriff of Chehalis county, and has since held the office of assessor, county commissioner, and member of the school board. He was married in Aberdeen to Miss Martha Redman. They have seven children.