George Royal Benson

George Royal Benson son of Joel I. Benson and Katherine P. Miller was born 25 May 1868, St Joseph, Berrien CO, MI, died 19 Sept 1931, Haw Creek, Flagler CO, FL, married 26 Feb 1890, Benton Harbor, Berrien CO, MI, Bertha Almeda Elliott, dau of Abraham Elliott and Mary Samantha Kenney, born 13 Oct 1873, Canada, near Hamilton Ontario, died 10 Oct 1926, Daytona Beach, Volusia CO, FL. Both buried Eden Cemetery, Crescent City, Putnam CO, FL.

The family moved to Flagler County in the early around 1925 from Michigan and resided on a farm just outside of Middle Haw Creek.

He was for seven years, owner and editor of a newspaper in Michigan.

In Sep 1928, a petition, signed by some 30 voters of Flagler CO, was submitted to the board of county commissioners to have his name appear as a candidate for county judge. He faced J S Hadley, who had defeated Judge W Lee Bartlett, incumbent, in the Jun primary. He was elected Flagler County Judge in 1928 (293 to 284 votes) and served until his death in 1931.

Several members of the family were very musical and often provided the music for dances at the St Johns Community Hall. Judge Benson was a member of the Spanish War Veterans, a Mason, and a member of the Christian Science Church, maintaining an active relationship in the organizations until his death.

Mr and Mrs Benson were the parents of five children;

1. George Royal Benson Jr, born 12 Apr 1891, St Joseph, Berrien CO, MI, died 14 Jun 1947, Halifax Hospital, Daytona Beach, Volusia CO, FL, married Dec 1913, Bess Hill, born 16 Feb 1890, Coloma, Berrien CO, MI, died 15 Feb 1961, Flagler Clinic and Hospital, Bunnell, Flagler CO, FL. Both are buried at Hope Cemetery, now Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens, Flagler CO, FL.

The family moved to Flagler County in Nov 1930 from Minneapolis, MN. They operated the Shell Service Station in Bunnell before moving to Flagler Beach and operating the Flagler Beach Hotel and teaching school at the Flagler Beach School. Later attending the University of Florida at Gainesville and graduating with their son Dudley, returning to Flagler Beach and building rental apartments. Issue;

(1) Robert Richard. Benson, born 09 June 1915, Coloma, Berrien CO, MI, died 29 Dec 2002, San Antonio, Bexar CO, TX, married 22 Jul 1939, First Baptist Church, Bunnell, Flagler CO, FL by Rev Bruce H Price, Davie Frances Herrington, dau of J B Herrington, born 26 June 1915, GA, died 11 Sep 1999, San Antonio, Bexar CO, TX.

He was a captain in the US Armed Forces during WW II with overseas duty in England, France and Salzburg. Captain Benson was a graduate of the University of Florida where he was commissioned in the reserves in 1936. He was called to active duty in August 1942 .He was a school teacher, then manager of Texas Branch of Retail Credit Company until retirement, residing in San Antonio, Texas. Issue;

A. Sheila Ann Benson, born 23 Aug 1944

B. Bobby Dale Benson, born 17 Apr 1951, Jacksonville, Duval CO, FL

C. Deidre Sue Benson born 25 Mar 1954

(2) Dudley Woodrow Benson, born 06 Apr 1917 Coloma, Berrien CO, MI, died 06 Dec 1989, Tampa, Hillsborough CO, FL, married 1941, Marion CO, FL, Elizabeth Scott b 1915 (Div). He served in the U.S. Army in WW II, taught school, then had his own accounting firm in Tampa. Issue;

A. Dudley Woodrow (Woody) Benson Jr., born 18 Mar 1942, Ocala, Marion CO, FL

B. Robert Scott Benson born 12 Oct 1943, Shelby CO, TN

C. Benjamin H. (Benny) Benson, born 14 Oct 1947, Gainesville, Alachua CO, FL

D. William Benson, born 17 Apr 1949

Dudley Woodrow Benson married 2nd, Shirley Smith

(3) Leotah Margaret Benson, born 19 May 1921, Minneapolis, Hennepin CO, MN, married 25 Aug 1945, Post Chapel, Camp Blanding, Bradford CO, FL, Donald A Deiner.

Leotah Benson Deiner, married 2nd, 1947, Ezra J (Zeke) Chaffee, son of Edward E Chaffee and Eliza J. LNU, born 08 Jun 1918, MI, died 12 Dec 1982, Volusia CO, FL.

She taught school, then was principal of the Flagler Beach School, later working with her husband in his construction business. They adopted

A. David J. Wakeman born 04 Nov 1946, married 22 Aug 1969, First Methodist Church, Madison, Jefferson CO, IN, Gloria Wehner. Issue:

a. Milee Wakeman, born 11 Jun 1970

b. Robbie Wakeman, born Nov 1974

2. Joel Harry Benson, born 01 Oct 1893, Berrien Springs, Berrien CO, MI, died 15 May 1977, Tampa, Hillsborough CO, FL, married 17 Nov 1913, Julia Marguerite Rowley, born 22 May 1895, died 1979 (Div).

The family moved to Flagler County from St. Louis shortly after the 1930 Census (29 Apr 1930). He was a saleman of adding machines in St Louis and on moving to Flagler CO, served as secretary for his father in the County Judge's office, then was principal at the Gilbert School. The family then moved to Gainesville where he attended the University of Florida and then became a member of the university faculty. Issue;

(1) Walter Rowley Benson, born 15 Aug 1914, Chicago, Cook CO, IL, died 27 Oct 1964, Los Angeles, Los Angeles CO, CA.

He taught himself to play the trombone. While a student at the University of Florida he played lead trombone with the Florida Club Men, where Tommy Dorsey heard him play and gave him a written citation "The Best University Trombone Man I've ever heard." He played with Johnny Long's Band, with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra, with John Scott Trotter and was a staff musician with MGM Studios. He served in the armed forces during WW II. Name of wife is unknown. Issue;

A. Walter Benson, born 13 Apr 1942

B. Terry Benson, born 06 Jun 1947

(2) Marjorie Kathryn Benson, born 29 Aug 1918, Chicago, Cook CO, IL, died 17 Aug 1994, Henderson, Clark CO, NV, married James R Dickinson, son of George P Dickinson and Pearl Gracy, born about 1918, FL, died Jan 1965.

He served in the US Army Medical Corps. In 1951, the University of Nevada, Reno, assigned English Professor Dr James R Dickinson and two-part time instructors to teach college extension courses in a local Las Vegas high school. Twenty-eight students signed up for classes.

In 1954, the extension program evolved to an official University of Nevada branch desginated as Nevada Southern. The following year, Nevada Southern had its first library - - a makeshift arrangement in the Las Vegas High School auditorium with 1,800 volumes and no staff.

In 1961, the soon-to-be University of Nevada had 955 students and the first floor of their new library, named in honor of Dr James R Dickinson was completed.

Majorie Benston Dickenson married 2nd, FNU Andersen.

(3) Harriet Benson, born 14 June 1922, SC, married 25 May 1942, Tallahassee, Leon CO, FL, Patrick Grimes. She was a social worker in San Diego, Calif. Issue;

A. Patricia Grimes, born 29 Jul 1943

B. Michael Grimes, born 07 Jan 1947

Harriet Benson Grimes married 2nd, FNU Turner. Issue;

C. Jeffery Turner, born 11 Oct 1961

(4) William Holmes (Billy) Benson, born 07 Jun 1929, St Louis, St Louis City, MO, married 07 Apr 1958, Betty Bond. He practiced business law in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Issue;

A. Betsy Benson, born 14 Apr 1959

B. Bobby Benson, born 14 Dec 1961

(5) Elizabeth (Betty) Benson, born 21 Jan 1932, Daytona Beach, Volusia CO, FL, married M. Richard Eichler. In her acting career, Charles Laughton directed her in "The Night of The Hunter" (1955), then serving as director of productions for San Mateo, CA (compiler could not find her listed in cast so she must have had a stage name). Issue;

A. Carolyn D Eichler born 24 Mar 1959, Santa Clara CO, CA

B. Julie Eichler, born 07 Sep 1960, Santa Clara CO, CA

Joel Harry Benson married 2nd, Jun 1949, Tampa, Hillsborough CO, FL, Mary Alma Roberts, daughter of Nanthan S Roberts and Florence H. LNU, born 15 Jan 1908, FL, died 05 Aug 2001, Pinellas CO, FL. Issue;

(6) Mary Helen Benson, born 20 Oct 1950, FL

3. Hazen Miller Benson, born 25 May 1896, Benton Harbor,Berrien CO MI, died 03 Apr 1954, Bunnell, Flagler CO, FL, married 28 Mar 1953, First Methodist Church, Tampa, Hillsborough, CO, FL, Hazel (LNU).

Hazen worked in the cattle dipping for the eradication of cattle fever tick. In Nov 1943, he was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction for Flagler County and served until Jan 1945. He was the postmaster at Bunnell.

He was active in the American Legion, being one of the charter members of Flagler Post 115. He was also active in Bunnell Masonic Lodge No 200 and also Eastern Star Chapter No 93. Hazeb is buried in Hope, now Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens, Flagler CO, FL

NOTE: His wife, Hazel was also married to (FNU) Bailey and Joseph Lagare (Joe) Whitesides.

4. Cora Leotah Benson, born 10 Mar 1898, MI, died 25 Dec 1932, St Johns Park, Flagler CO, FL, married 16 Jan 1927, Haw Creek, Flagler CO, FL by Rev David Sargent to Robert Thomas (Bert) Hamilton, born 03 Nov 1890, Susanville, OR, died 16 Dec 1953, Bunnell, Flagler CO, FL. They had two children, Leotah Margaret Hamilton and Kathryn Faith (Bonnie) Hamilton.

See sketch on Robert Thomas Hamilton for more information on this family.

5. Helen Kathryn Benson, born 29 Aug 1900, MI, died 19 June 1955, Flagler Beach, Flagler CO, FL, buried Hope Cemetery, now Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens, Flagler CO, FL, married about 1923, Sydney Arthur Walker. Issue;

(1) Sydney Arthur Walker J, born Aug 1926. Later known as Sydney Arthur Marsh. PFC Marsh, 24th Mechanized Reconnaissance Troop, U S Army, saw action in Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea; Leyte, Mindoro and Mindanao in WW II.

Helen Benson Walker married 22 Dec 1931, Bunnell, Flagler CO, FL, Gordon Marsh.

Source: The First Families of Flagler by Mary Ketus Deen Holland who cited as her source Published Articles, and Unto This Land, edited by Mary Ketus Deen Holland who cited as her source Dudley Benson, Marjorie Benson Anderson, Margaret Venson Chaffee and Margaret Hamilton Weeks.

Additional sources used by the compiler were: 1910 United States Federal Census, Precinct 22, Hillsborough CO, FL; 1920 United States Federal Census, Precinct No 18, Hillsborough CO, FL; 1920 United States Federal Census, Muskegon, Muskegon CO, MI; 1930 United States Federal Census, Muskegon, Muskegon CO, MI; 1930 United States Federal Census, Minneapolis, Hennepin CO, Minnesota; 1930 United States Federal Census, St Louis, St Louis (Independent City), MO;

Florida Marriage Collection, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001; World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; California Death Index, 1940-1977; Florida Death Index, 1877-1998; Texas Death Index, 1903-2000; Social Security Death Index;

UNLV Staff Handbook with welcome by Dr Kenneth E Marks, Dean of University Libraries; Nevada Yesterdays - A Short Look at Las Vegas History by Frank Wright; The Flagler Tribune, Bunnell, FL, 16 Dec 1926, 20 Jan 1927, 13 Jun 1929, 16 Jul 1942, 06 Dec 1946, 29 Dec 1949, 22 Mar 1951, 09 Apr 1953, 18 Sep 1969 and

George Royal Benson family information posted on

Please send questions, corrections or additions to Sisco Deen, P.O. Box 637, Flagler Beach, FL 32136 or email him at