By J. C. Henrie and Elmer Dickerson.
Benton township was named after or for the late Thomas Benton Murdock, using his middle name. It was organized
in February, 1872, out of the territory comprising Congressional township 26, range 3, and an election ordered
held at the general election in April for the election of township officers, at or near the residence of M. T.
Wallace. The officers elected at that time were as follows: John Mendenhall, trustee; L. A. Harper, clerk; W. H.
Litson, treasurer; W. J. Estes and Charles Hazelhurst, justices of the peace. The assessed valuation of the township
for 1872 was $20,296, and for 1915, $1,311,059. The township is adapted to agriculture and stock raising. All kinds
of cereals and grasses, tame and native, grow and flourish. There are five school districts in the township, and
about seven miles of the Missouri Pacific railway.
The town of Benton was platted in 1883 and now contains a high school, two churches, one grain elevator, five general
stores, two hardware stores, one drug store, one bank, one hotel, two garages, two physicians, two blacksmith shops,
the orders of the K. of P. and I. O. O. F., each having their own halls, and are in a flourishing condition; one
lumber yard, coal yard and numerous other lines of business are represented. The town is lighted by electricity.
Benton has also one newspaper, The Benton "Bulletin," published by John W. Milsap, and enjoys a good
circulation and liberal patronage of its advertising columns.
Amog the early settlers were J. P. J. Nelson, J. Edmiston, W. H. Litson, E. E. Armstrong, Noah Siders, William
Coverdale, R. C. Spaulding, R. F. Moore, W. A. Aikman, John H. Clark, S. H. Dickerson, Robert Dodge, M. T. Wallace,
J. C. Henrie, Ed. Harding, M. Gidly, E. H. Stoddard, S. Shafer, I. W. Maple, E. W. Rollings, M. W. Priest, John
Imman, Andrew Duffey, L. A. Harper, H. W. Beck, E. Burley, Eli Lytle, A. Melrose, D. Barnett, George Medworth,
W. M. Mathers, W. M. McCune, J. L. McCune, Charles Hazelhurst and many others. Practically every quarter section
was occupied by the claimant or owner at the time the township was organized, a majority of whom have gone from
among us never more to return; others moved away and a few still own their original homesteads, while others are
occupied by the descendants of the homesteader.