History of Jefferson County, Iowa by Charles J. Fulton. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1912. pp. 437-439.
Charles W. Benn
Charles W. Benn, one of the best known horsemen of Jefferson county, is the owner of some excellent horses of more than national fame. A native of Polk township, he was born September 7, 1866, a son of Alexander P. and Phoebe (Cowger) Benn, the former being a native of Virginia of Irish descent, and the latter of Indiana, of German descent. Alexander P. Benn came to Iowa before the Civil war, at which time he was only seventeen years of age, and located in Jefferson county. He worked out by the month for a while but after his marriage he bought a fine farm in Polk township, where he lived during the remainder of his life, dying in 1891, while his wife passed away in 1888. Mr. Benn was one of the pioneer threshers of Iowa, owning and operating a threshing machine all his life and even at the time of his death, when he was no longer able to oversee the running of the machine, he still owned one. His first thresher was an old style chaff piler. He became a very noted stockman and wealthy farmer in Iowa and was highly honored throughout the county whose early growth and development he had witnessed.
Charles W. Benn attended the district schools in Polk township and then helped his father on the farm and at threshing until he was twenty-four years of age when, on August 26, 1891, he married Miss Minnie Swain, of Fairfield, Iowa, a daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Stewart) Swain. The father was born in Virginia and died there when Mrs. Benn was a small child. The mother came to Iowa over thirty years ago and settled in Fairfield, where she now lives. At the time of his marriage Mr. Benn moved to one of his father's farms, which he purchased shortly afterwards. Selling this tract of land, he afterwards bought and sold a number of farms, and on December 16, 1904, having disposed of his farm property, he went to Packwood, where he now resides. Since his boyhood days Mr. Benn has been engaged in the threshing business and for over thirty years has owned and operated a machine. Today he owns and operates one of the largest and best steam outfits in this part of the country. During this time he has purchased five new steam-power machines which he bought from Russell & Company, of Massillon, Ohio. He, however, began this work with an Altman & Taylor horse-power machine. To Mr. and Mrs. Benn has been born one child, Robert K., aged nineteen, who is a graduate of the Packwood high school in the class of 1911 and is now a student in the Kansas City Veterinary College.
Mr. Benn has always been a lover of good horses and was not twenty years of age when he bought his first stallion. There have been very few years since that he has not owned from one to half a dozen blooded stallions or at least has had an interest in some. In 1908 Mr. Benn took his son Robert into partnership, under the firm name of C. W. Benn & Son. Today they have in their stables seven finely bred animals, namely: Paul - his foreign registered number being 45371, his home number 40400 - Percheron Norman, was imported from France in 1903, at the age of two years. This animal is well known in the horse world, having won repeatedly from all competitors in show rings in France and America. Ben Hur - No. 49550 - Percheron Norman, is American born, was foaled in 1907 and is recorded by the Percheron Society of America. Gredin - No. 64447 - was imported from France in 1909 and is five years old. Sheffield - No. 42440 - Percheron Norman, is American born, was foaled in 1904 and is recorded by the American Percheron Horse Breeders and Importers' Association. Romulus - No. 22674 - imported Percheron, was bred by the famous Coco and Brilliant families and imported from France in 1899. Packwood Boy - known as Billy - is a standard bred and registered in Rule I of the American Trotting Registry Association. He is five years old. A stud colt two years old is unnamed and unregistered and is sired by Paul.
Mr. Benn gives his support to the democratic party and is very active in local politics, having served one term as mayor of Packwood and three terms as a member of the city council. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic Lodge of Abingdon, Iowa; with the commandery and Royal Arch chapter of Fairfield; with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Abingdon; with the Modern Woodmen of America at Packwood; and with the Knights of Pythias of Packwood, having been a member of the latter organization throughout the entire period of its existence. As a lifelong resident of Jefferson county, connected with many fraternal organizations and so well known in the business world, Mr. Benn's record is that of an eminently successful and prominent citizen.
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