(It's getting late!) So, here is the long, colorful obituary for my great grandfather, William Miller Bennight. Do you have any "colorful" stories about your family members? Come on, share!
Freestone County, Texas Obituaries Henryetta, Oklahoma newspaper from 1927, researched by Lora Cox Another War Veteran Drops From the Ranks The death of W. M. Bennight, 302 East Trudgeon St., yesterday morning brought to a close a life of 83 years in which were crowded days and years when the history of this country was in the making and which the dead man played an active part. Mr. Bennight was a Confederate soldier of the Civil War, seeing active service from 1863 to the close of the war. Relatives recall, but dimly, some of the experiences Mr. Bennight related as a 16 year old boy in the army of the south, the high points of which were his capture three times by Federal troops and his escape each time. He joined the army at Ozark, Arkansas under General Heiman, with a man named Erwin as his captain. He engaged in what is called the "Battle of Paine Grove" in Arkansas and took part in the main events of the war for a period of six months. He was especially fond of his escape from a group of northern troops soon after he entered active service. He was handcuffed and chained to fellow soldiers in their march to the northern lines and when night came the group stopped at a farm house. While feigning sleep he freed himself and informed his pal he was ready to make his escape for freedom but the other man refused. The guard had fallen asleep at his post, so he decided to make his break alone. All the men were grouped around an open fireplace and as he leaped for the window, he threw the guard into the fire and gained his freedom under the cover of darkness. Captured a second time, Mr. Bennight not only escaped but took ten federal prisoners with him, together with wagons and foodstuffs. His captors had placed him in a barn loft while they were making preparations to move northward. He slipped away, found their guns, returned and marched them back to his lines. Late in the war he was transferred to the Texas frontier to head off the northern munitions trains. He was taken prisoner a third time and the federal troops took him over the border into Mexico but soon returned him to Missouri where he gained his freedom. He was in San Antonio, Texas at the close of the war and was charged with bringing horses northward soon afterward. He was assigned as dispatcher carrier for a time during the war and it was while in this service that he suffered a broken arm which never healed completely. He and two other carriers were being hotly pursued by northern soldiers, his two partners were killed and his own horse shot from under him. It was as the horse fell that his right arm was fractured. He shouldered his mail and escaped on foot despite his injury. Mr. Bennight followed the occupation of farmer, although he drove a stage coach for a short time. He lived alternately in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma, although most of his life was spent in the "Lone Star State". He was credited with building the first house in Caddo, Okla. In 1919 he came to Henryetta from Freestone County, Texas, taking up his residence at 302 East Trudgeon St. where he lived until his death. Funeral services will be held today at 2:30 o'clock at his home with the Rev. A.H. Huff of the Baptist church officiating. Burial will be at Westlawn cemetery. Surviving are his wife, five sons, four daughters, thirty four grandchildren and twelve great grand children. Two sons and a daughter are already dead. His sons are: L.F. Bennight, Macon, Mo. - P.P Bennight, Henryette, Ok. - J.E. Bennight, Portland, Ore. - S.F. Bennight, Corsicana, Tex. - T.T. Bennight, Henryetta, Ok. His daughters are: Mrs. Jewel Allen, Henryetta, Ok. - Mrs. Betty Byer, Wewoka, Ok. - Mrs. Fannie Platt, Henryetta, Ok. and Mrs. Nora Smith, Waco, Tex.