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Biography of Benjamin Fewell


Among the pioneers of White county, none are held in higher regard than Benjamin Fewell and his estimable wife, whose home, for nearly forty years, has been, as at present, in Prairie township. They have witnessed much of the development of this section of the state, and have certainly done their share in the work of improvement. Loyally have they upheld the law, good government, schools, churches, and all which goes to make up the sum of civilization.

John, father of Benjamin Fewell, was of Irish extraction, and was a native of Delaware. Going to Ohio, he there married Sarah McCalip, a native of the Buckeye state, and until 1827 he carried on rented farms. That year he removed to Tippecanoe county, Indiana, and after leasing land for a short time he entered eighty acres, to the improvement of which he devoted the rest of his life. A typical pioneer, industrious, brave-hearted and persevering, he won the good opinion of all with whom he was associated. He was a Democrat, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. His wife held membership in the United Brethren church. Their children are as follows: James, a resident of Texas; William, of Arkansas; Hugh, deceased; Benjamin; Mrs. Evaline Marquess; Mrs. Nancy Davis; Mrs. Lucy Williams; Mrs. Elizabeth McCarty. With the exception of Hugh, all of the children removed to Missouri after the death of their parents, and all save our subject have since lived in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

Benjamin Fewell was born in Fayette county, Ohio, January 6, 1823, and, owing to the fact that his boyhood was spent in a thinly settled neighborhood, he had no opportunities for obtaining an education. He helped his father in the arduous task of clearing and cultivating the farm and caring for the family. He remained in Missouri for about five years, but not liking the country he returned to this state. He worked at farming and as a carpenter for two or more years, then was married and located on a rented homestead. About 1854 he went to Wisconsin, where he entered some land, improved the property and sold it to good advantage three years later. From 1857 to 1861 he rented farms in Indiana, finally buying a place in Newton county. This he sold within a short time, and, coming to White county at the beginning of the civil war, he purchased a portion of the homestead which he now owns and has since lived upon. He has replaced the small log cabin with a substantial, two-story frame house; and good barns, fences and tiling make this one of the best country homes in this part of the county. These numerous improvements are the result of the combined labor and brave efforts of himself and wife, she having been his faithful co-worker in everything. They started out poor in this world's goods, and have cheered and sustained each other, trusting in the Lord, who "has been a very present help in time of trouble." In February, 1865, Mr. Fewell enlisted in an Indiana regiment, and was on guard duty until the close of the Rebellion.

On the 2d of December, 1847, Mr. Fewell married Amelia, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Beauchamp) Reynolds, the latter natives of Delaware and Ohio, respectively. The father was a soldier of the war of 1812, subsequently to which he went to Ohio. There he was married, and in 1834 he and his family settled in Tippecanoe county, whence they went to White county three years later. Here he entered and improved a farm, passing the remainder of his life thereon. He died in 1867, having survived his wife many years, as she had died in 1841. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and were conscientious and upright in all of the varied relations of life. Their eldest son, Jeremiah, died in Andersonville prison during the war of the Rebellion, and Risdon, also deceased, was quite prominent in his community, holding various local offices. Miness is deceased; John lives in Iowa; and Moses in this state. Mrs. Fewell and Mrs. Mary Reed are the only daughters living. To our subject and wife three children were born: Clarissa E., wife of J. W. Rush, a farmer; Keziah, wife of J. H. Giles, of Brookston; and Gustavus A., a progressive farmer of this district. He married Nettie Giles, daughter of William Giles and a sister of J. H. Giles, above named.

On the fifty-first anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Fewell, December 2, 1898, all of their children, their five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren gathered at the old home and celebrated the happy event with the assembled friends. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fewell are consistent members of the United Brethren church, each having been connected with the denomination for over half a century. They have been actively interested in the work of the Sunday-school and the various departments of church work. Mr. Fewell is a trustee, and took such an influential part in the building of Fewell Chapel that it was a most fitting act when his friends and fellow-workers honored him by naming the church for him. This is but one evidence of the high place which he occupied in the hearts of the people of this vicinity, and all unite in praise of worthy, upright Benjamin Fewell.

Biographical history of Tippecanoe, White, Jasper, Newton, Benton ..., Volume 1 By Lewis Publishing Company, page 425-26. 

Linked toBenjamin FEWELL; John FEWELL

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