An Early History of Cache County…

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Compiled by M. R. Hovey, Secretary, Logan Chamber of Commerce. January 1, 1923 to January 1, 1925. Also as printed in the Logan Journal, beginning August 4, 1923.

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Benson, 1871

Before Benson was settled, this part of the county was used as a herd ground; in fact, the land west to Newton and as far north as Weston, was used for grazing of livestock, mostly cattle. A number of the cattle herds from Logan were grazed here.

In the early spring of 1871, a number of families began to build their homes in the east part, where Benson is now located. These first families were Charles Reese, W. G. Reese, Charles A. Reese, George Thomas and his son George Thomas (now President of the University of Utah); Isreal J. Clark and sons, Cy, Edmund and John Clark. The following year Jeremiah Hatch located in the west part where Benson is.

Alma Harris, nephew of Martin Harris the Book of Mormon witness, was appointed as the first Bishop of Benson. The settlement was organized by Apostle Moses Thatcher and Bishop William B. Preston, of Logan. Bishop Preston suggested that the settlement be named “Benson” after Apostle Ezra T. Benson.

The early settlers of Lewiston, always made Benson as their stopover in traveling to and from the other Valley. At certain times of the year the roads were almost impassable.

At the time of the settlement of Benson, David Reese and Joseph Thatcher had a ranch north of the present meeting house across Bear River. They had quite a large herd of cattle. They operated a ferry boat across Bear River near the present Amalga bridge. It was used a good deal by the settlers from Lewiston and Trenton; also by the people from Newton and Clarkston, until a bridge was built across Bear River in the southwest part of Benson. The ferry boat was pulled across the river with a rope attached to a team of horses, or mules, pulling from the opposite bank. The charge for transporting a team across the river was twenty-five cents.

Later settlers in Benson were Henry Griffiths, Thomas Davis, Thomas Rogers, John Reese, Lemuel Steel, Nephi Tarbet, Samuel Weeks, Absolom Woolf, Thomas Duce, William Gibson , Johathan, Ezra, and Beill Ricks, Robert Kewley, John B. Catmul and W. D. Noah Williams.

Irrigation water was important. This was one of the first things the little settlement had to obtain. A ditch was dug by hand-labor east of Benson, to collect waste water from Hyde Park. The land was boggy and difficult to dig. The flow could not be depended on. Later, an independent water-right was secured from Logan River. The people in Benson cooperated with the people in Logan and the Canal was made. In Logan it is known as the West Field Canal, and in Benson as the Benson Canal. This helped to irrigate some of the lands in the northwest fields of Logan. Some of the settlers got irrigation water from the Smithfield Spring.

Benson did most of their trading in Logan. The Bear River bottoms was a fine place for wild ducks and geese. Many muskrats and mink were trapped there.

Grain and hay were the principal crops of the early settlers. Cattle raising was quite an industry. With more intensive crops. Benson has become one of the best farming areas in the Valley. One of the first thirty-ton-per acre sugar beet crops in Cache Valley was grown at Benson.

Benson has always been outstanding for its fine draft horses.