You will recall that I have already written blogs about :
- Thomas Benson who came down to London and made his fortune as a linen draper (week 91)
- his son William Benson of Sparepenny Lane who emigrated to South Africa (week 65)
- William's wife Marion Eliza Benson (nee Johnson) who brought up a young family by herself (week 67)
- their son Alick Benson who died on a golf course (week 2)
- their other son Hugh 'Pop' Benson OBE and war hero (week 50)
- their daughter, my grandmother, Marjorie Benson (week 45)
- and another of Thomas's daughters, Annie Benson (week 90)
I believe that this Thomas Benson, the earliest I have found, was born in Passenham, Northamptonshire about 1748. He married local girl Mary Littleford in May 1771 and they had six children who were all born in Passenham over a nine year period between 1772 and 1781.
Thomas was a farmer in Deanshanger in the Parish of Passenham. I believe it was this Thomas who appeared on the 1777 Militia List for Passenham & Denshanger. A number of members of his wife's Littleford family were also listed. The fact these names appeared on the list did not mean that they would necessarily be called up to serve, just that they were eligible.
Thomas probably drove a horse and cart because a notice in the Northampton Mercury on 23rd August 1800 offers a reward for his lost or stolen cart horse. With the headline "STOLEN OR STRAYED" it says :
"A Black Mare of the cart kind, five years old, some grey hairs on the saddle place, and a few in the forehead, the near heel is rather larger than the foot in the fetlock, and has a long Tail, if not altered. Whoever will bring the Mare to the said THOMAS BENSON shall receive, if strayed, HALF a GUINEA reward and all reasonable charges; if stolen, FIVE GUINEAS reward, upon conviction of the offender or offenders."
Five guineas in 1800 is today worth nearly £400 so he must have been a reasonably successful farmer to be able to afford this. There is no record as to whether he recovered his cart horse although, as this was the only advert I found, I would like to think they were reunited.
After he died his daughter in law Jemima, who was his executor, advertised for any debts owing to or from her father in law's estate and described him as "Late of Puxley, in the County of Northampton, Victualler deceased". Did he also run the local pub ? Seems a strange transition from farmer to publican but I am confident this was him.
Anyway, he died aged 76 in 1822 and was buried in Passenham.
The youngest child of the previous Thomas was born in 1781, also in Passenham. He married Jemima and they had three children between 1806 and 1811.
Thomas was a farmer and may have lived in the property described in the auction advert (left). It would be reasonable to assume that he died around the time the property was sold although I haven't found any evidence of this. We don't know exactly when he died but it was certainly before Jemima who died in the nearby village of Potterspury in 1856. Did he die before or after his son left the farm to seek his fortune (read week 91) in London ? We just don't yet know.