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James Madison Bennett
James Madison Bennett was born 20 Jul 1821 in Pendleton , South Carolina to Hiram Bennett and Theodosia Dobbs. Little is known about his early life. From his CSA enlistment papers, we learn he was 5 foot 10 1/2 inches tall with blue eyes and dark hair. He would follow his parents to Arkansas abt 1837. In about 1840 he married Mary Mann. Their first two children, Calvin Lafayette Bennett (1842)and Dosia M. Bennett (1844) were born in Arkansas. In 1845 the family loaded all their belongings into covered wagons drawn by oxen to join his parents and several of his brothers as part of the Peter's Colony in the Republic of Texas. James soon realized the wagons were overloaded. He shipped the household goods by river steamboat to Jefferson and then they were shipped as freight overland. How the family became part of the Peter's Colony unclear.
Three of James' brothers; William, Elisha and Elijah Bennett settled in the area that is now Mesquite and his father, Hiram Bennett and the rest of the family settled first on land that is now the city of Irving before moving closer to these sons. James received third class land voucher for land in the Peter,s Colony but settled on Mercer Colony land adjoining the land settled by A. W. Webb. It seams the Mercer Colony did not contest the claim when it was submitted.
James and Mary were the fourth family to settle in the Long Creek area. They set about building a house and planting enough crops to feed the then small family. In the 1939 Dallas Morning News obituary for his son, James Madison Bennett, Jr., the house is described as a one room log cabin with a shanty side room. On 20 Jan 1846, Hiram Columbus Bennett was born to be followed by sisters Jane (about 1848) and Frances Elizabeth Bennett (1849). On 18 March 1849, James and Mary became charter members of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church organized at Long Creek Settlement. Church records show that James would serve as the first church clerk.
Mary Mann Bennett died in 1852 at about 44 years of age, her burial place in unknown. On 23 Dec 1852, James married Maranda C. Dye, daughter of Benjamin Dye and Sarah Cozean. The two met while attending services at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church. James and Maranda would have 13 children.; Elisha Benjamin (1854), James Madison, Jr. (1855), Sarah A. (1857), Martha Josephine (1859), William Jackson (1860), Mary Mollie (1862), Brazoria (1864), Effie Jane (1866), Florence Vitula (1869), Joseph D. (1873), twins Minnie and Maggie (1877) and Deaner Bennett (1880).
His children married into the Bruton, Caldwell, Coats, Henry, Jacobs, Leach, Lumley, Parker, Reedy, Synder and Yates families. Of the eighteen children of James Madison Bennett, nine of them are known to be buried at Long Creek Cemetery along with many members of the next six generations. There are several in unmarked graves in the Bennett family plot. His daughter Brazoria Bennett Caldwell would serve as the first president of the Long Creek Cemetery Association in 1911.
Dallas County court records show that James served as a juror and bailiff in many trials. He was active in many ways in the community including helping with the erection of the two story building that was used as the Church, School and Woodmen of the World Lodge. James was a member of Woodmen of the World, Mesquite Camp No. 752, Mesquite, Texas. Family history states that he served a term as Justice of the Peace.
James served as enrolling officer for the Mesquite Light Horse Calvary (Part of the 6th Scyene, 13th Brigade of Texas State Troops, CSA) for six months. He later served as the 3rd Lieutenant, Company B. 19th Texas Cavalry, C.S.A.(Nat. M. Burford's Regiment).