Elizabeth Bentley

The following material was originally written by Bill Bentley and submitted to the Wilson Co. History published in 1988. It has been posted here with his permission.
The small pictures are a link to a full size picture.

Elizabeth Wood Carman Bentley was born in the state of Virginia on March 10, 1803. She moved with her parents to Indiana when she was a little girl where her mother soon died. At age 18 she married John Carman and they moved to Dade Cty., Missouri where he died in August 1841 leaving her with four children, three of whom were named Joshua A., Lucinda J., and Eliza A.

In Dade County on 6 July 1842 she married Jeffrey Bentley, son of Joseph Bentley. They removed to Delaware County, Indiana about 1845 and on to Moultrie County, Illinois prior to 1860. Jeffrey enlisted in Co. C, 126th Illinois Infantry in September 1862 for a term of three years. With his unit he served in the southwest part of Kentucky and Tennessee and during June and July 1863 participated in the siege of Vicksburk, Miss. He died in a Union Army Hospital at DeValls Bluff, Ark. on 28 August 1863 leaving Elizabeth a widow for the second time having fathered four children as follows:

(1) Joseph Albert, born 22 Nov. 1843 in Dade Cty., Mo. (Lucinda Newman, 17 Dec. 1863. He served in Co. H, 18th Illinois Infantry from Moultrie Cty., Ill. March 1865 to Dec. 1865 in eastern Arkansas. Died 25 Dec. 1928 at Buffalo, Ks. and is buried at Little Sandy Cemetery west of Buffalo. Joseph and Lucinda raised two children, Henry A. and Maude J.

(2) Jeffrey "William", born 19 May 1846 Delaware Cty., Ind. (Almeda Shelton, 23 Nov. 1871) and died 4 Aug. 1923, buried Little Sandy Cemetary. They had nine children: Mary Ellen, Melissa Clementine, Joseph P., Julie Pearl, Janie, Thomas, Charles Wesley, Prica J., and Lucinda I.

(3) Mary Margaret, born 5 Sept. 1848 Delaware Cty., Ind. (William W. Thoroughman, 30 April 1871) died 12 Jan. 1933 and buried at the Yates Center, Kans. cemetery. One of four sons, Ernest, survived her.

(4) Lydia Amelia, born 14 June 1852 Delaware Cty., Ind. and died 12 April, 1868, unmarried. Buried Trimmel Cemetery east of Coyville.

As the widow of a Civil War soldier, beginning in September 1864, Elizabeth began receiving a pension of $8.00 to $12.00 per month on certificate #29625. with her children, she removed from Moultrie Cty., Ill. to Wilson Cty., Kans. in 1865 and located on the Verdigris River southeast of where Coyville was later established. She was probably drawn to the area because of the availability of cheap homestead land in the area and by the presence of her father-in-law, Joseph Bentley and his family, who had preceeded her into Wilson County in 1857.

In 1868, with one son and daughter still at home, she homesteaded the SW 4, S 6, T 27 S, R 15 E which is located just east of the old Middletown corner and was part of the Osage Indian Trust Lands. In July 1870 Elizabeth deeded the west half of this acreage to son Jeffrey William and the east half she deeded to son Joseph A. who had recently arrived with his wife and son, Henry A. from Moultrie County, Illinois.

A faint, tin-type picture of her still existing in 1986 reveals her to have been a very short lady and it is understood that she smoked a pipe and grew her own tobacco.

She lived on the above homestead until her death on 2 March 1904 just short of her 101st birthday and she is buried in Little Sandy Cemetery. From her obituary in the Buffalo, Ks. "Advocate" dated March 10, 1904.... "As an orphan in her girlhood and in her long years of widowhood, she has had many trials, troubles and sorrows, but she has endured them without a murmur, and in her death her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have lost a good and grand old mother."

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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Last updated 5/7/1998

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