Goldsby Alaska Bennett, Black Creek Teacher in 1900

I really enjoy finding surprises in the local censuses. Last week I was reading through the 1900 census for Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio, mainly looking at the occupations, when the name of a schoolteacher caught my eye, Goldsby A. Bennett.

I recognized that unusual name right away and wondered what Goldsby Alaska Bennett was doing in my neck of the woods, Black Creek Township. Goldsby Alaska Bennett was from Montezuma, Ohio, area, just south of Grand Lake in Franklin Township. I know this because Goldsby Alaska Bennett was husband Joe’s great-uncle, the brother of Joe’s grandfather Vermont Bennett.

Goldsby A. Bennett, age 21, is shown as a boarder in the Levi Robinson household, which included Levi, age 65, and his wife Matilda, age 62. Levi was a farmer and Goldsby was a schoolteacher. Goldsby had not been employed 4 months, [1] meaning that Goldsby was not employed 4 months between 1 June 1899 and 31 May 1900.

1900 Census, Black Creek Township, Mercer Co, Goldsby A Bennett in Levi Robinson household

Levi Robinson lived in Section 25 of Black Creek Township, on the north side of what is now 707, the last house before Township Line Road, very close to Dublin Township.  

There was a school less than a mile to the west, School no. 7, aka Robinson School. Robinson School was on the corner of 707 and Erastus Durbin Road. I have been told that the old Robinson Schoolhouse is still standing but has been moved. Today it is used as a garage/barn outbuilding on a farm in that area.

Robinson School, in the center of the map below, was on the corner of 707 and Erastus Durbin Road. Route 707 is in the middle of the map, running left to right. Township Line Road is to the right, running up and down.

1900 plat map, Black Creek Township, Mercer Co, Robinson School No.7, Levi Robinson household, Levi Rutledge household

I may be jumping to conclusions here, but it looks like Goldsby Alaska Bennett may have taught at Black Creek’s Robinson School.

But hold on. There was another schoolteacher living about a mile south of the Robinson’s.

Tennie E. Rutledge, age 17, daughter of Levi and Lucinda Rutledge, was also a schoolteacher. She too reported that she was not employed for 4 months. [2] Levi Rutledge lived in Section 36 of Black Creek Township, on Township Line Road, about a half mile north of Tama Road. Dublin Township was across the road from them.

Either one, Bennett or Rutledge, could have taught at Robinson school.

But there’s more.

The Black Creek census was taken by David G. Adams on 11 June 1900. I decided to check on Goldsby Alaska Bennett’s parents, Henry and Sarah Bennett, and his siblings in 1900. They lived in Franklin Township, Mercer County.

I saw that Goldsby Alaska Bennett was also enumerated with his parents and siblings in 1900, all living near Montezuma, in Franklin Township, Mercer County, Ohio. The Franklin Township census was taken on 7 June 1900, five days before Black Creek’s count.

Goldsby Alaska Bennett was enumerated twice in 1900! And he was enumerated as a schoolteacher in both. He reported that he was not employed for 9 months in the Franklin enumeration. His name was slightly different in the two enumerations, Goldsby A. Bennett in Black Creek and Alaska Bennett in Franklin Township, but it is the same person for sure.

Goldsby Alaska Bennett’s father was Henry Brandenburg Bennett. The Henry Bennett household in 1900 in Franklin Township: Henry Bennett, 59, head, farmer; Sallie [Sarah], 55, wife; Dakota, 32, son; Alaska, 21, son, schoolteacher; Minnesota, 26, daughter; Arizona, 18, son; Delaware, 16, son; and Vermont, 13, son. [3]

1900 Census, Franklin Twp, Mercer Co, Alaska Bennett in Henry Bennett household

Both enumerations were taken in June and schools were probably not in session during the summer months, as most older children probably helped on the farm and around the house during the summer.  

You may have noticed some interesting names in the Henry Brandenburg Bennett family. Henry Brandenburg Bennett, Joe’s great-grandfather, named his seven children after U.S. states or territories:

Nevada B. Bennett (1865-1925), married John J. Beauchamp
Dakota T. Bennett (1868-1936), married Anna Manning
Minnesota Bennett (1873-1953), married James Austin Drumm
Goldsby Alaska Bennett (1878-1953), married Ida Ellen Monroe
Arizona Landon Bennett (1881-1961), married Orla Yancy
Delaware Samuel Bennett (1884-1937), married Mattie Evelyn Yeaton
Vermont H. Bennett (1886-1964), married Lura Vivian Monroe; married Mattie Evelyn (Yeaton) Bennett

Below is a photo of the Henry Brandenburg family. Goldsby Alaska is standing, second from left.

Standing: Vermont, Goldsby Alaska, Dakota, Arizona, Delaware; Seated: Nevada, Henry Brandenburg Bennett, Sarah (Milligan) Bennett, Minnesota

A little about Goldsby “Alaska” Bennett: He was born in Mercer County on 27 November 1878, the fourth child, the second son of Henry Brandenburg and Sarah Maria (Milligan) Bennett. He grew up near Montezuma, became a teacher and taught for several terms.

Goldsby Alaska Bennett married Ida Ellen Monroe (1883-1967) on 27 March 1910 in Mercer County and they moved to a farm in Paulding County, Ohio. There he farmed, served as the school board clerk, and was a founder of the Oakwood Telephone Company and the Oakwood Oil Company.

Goldsby Alaska Bennett died on his 75th birthday, 27 November 1953. His widow Ida died 13 December 1967.

Goldsby Alaska Bennett

Alaska and Ida (Monroe) Bennett had the following children:
Rex Monroe Bennett (1910-2005), married Avis Shisler
Doris Bennett (1912-2009), married Aaron Kohart
Edgar Lee Bennett (1913-2006), married Elsie Weaver; married Aletha Gunderman McCullough
Lois Bennett (1915-1983)
Homer Francis Bennett (1917-1985), married Helen Grace Westenbarger
Dorothy Bennett (1919-1962), married Horace France

What an interesting piece of Bennett and Black Creek history!

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Black Creek, ED 74, p.4, dwelling & family 90, Goldsby A Bennett, in household of Levi Robinson;

[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Black Creek, ED 74, p.4, dwelling & family 88, Levi Rutledge;

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Ohio, Mercer, Franklin, ED 79, p.5, dwelling 102, family 104, Henry Bennett;


    • Pat Naveau on October 6, 2023 at 8:55 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for sharing this story, Karen. I love the family’s unique names!

    Do you have any idea if there were records kept and preserved for one room schoolhouses?
    My father and father-in-law both completed elementary school in one. My husband’s grandparents were teachers in one room schools in Pauling County. I would love to find more information. Your thoughts?

    1. I am not sure about the old school records and do not have a good answer for you. It may depend on the township and county. I would look for those records at the county genealogical society and/or county historical society. Sometimes township trustees had records, another possibility. You may find general school information in county history/biography books, the old and new publications. Also check the local library and old newspapers. Sometimes individuals had the records and published them. Some older folks remember one room schools and may have information. I would check everywhere I could think of since there doesn’t seem to be a centralized repository for those records. Good question! Thanks for writing.

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