Fox Valley Chapter Patriot Profile

 

Private William Bennett 1758 - 1846

This page contains information on William Bennett, also spelled Bennet, one of the soldiers who fought in the American Revolution and who are buried in the counties served by the Fox Valley Chapter. This page contains his biography and photographs of his grave.

William Bennett enlisted in 1776 at age 18 and re-enlisted 3 more times serving until the end of 1782. He fought in a number of battles including the famous American victory at Saratoga. He lived to be almost 88 years old and is buried in Kane County Illinois.

 

Biography of Patriot William Bennett

 

William Bennett was born in Sandown, New Hampshire on May 9, 1758.

In August, 1776, at the age of 18, William Bennett enlisted in Sandown, New Hampshire as a Private for an enlistment term of one year in the Company of Captain Nathan Brown in the regiment commanded by Colonel Pierce Long of the New Hampshire State Militia.

William served a short period as a sentry at Portsmouth Harbor. From here the regiment marched to Fort Ticonderoga and William served here in the regiment under the command of General Augustis, and remained here until the fort was evacuated on July 6, 1777 in the face of British General Burgoyne, whose invasion swept from Whitehall to Fort Edward. William Bennett was part of the long, humiliating retreat down the Hudson River Valley.

In the course of the retreat from Ticonderoga, the American forces engaged the British at Fort Anne. The fortification known as Fort Anne was erected in 1757 in Washington County, New York, at the junction of Halfway Creek and Wood Creek, and was constructed on the stockade plan. The battle of Fort Anne took place on July 8, 1777.

Following the failure of previous efforts to trap Colonel Pierce Long, on July 6, 1777 Burgoyne sent Lt. Colonel John Hill after Long to Fort Anne on July 7th. Hill failed to catch Long's rear guard, but he did capture several boats full of invalids and baggage. Hill made camp about a mile from the fort. A "deserter" appeared in the British camp early on July 8th and told Hill that there were 1,000 Americans in the fort, but that they were demoralized. Lt. Colonel Hill only had 190 men himself and decided to call for reinforcements and wait. The same "deserter" returned to the American forces at Fort Anne and reported how weak the British force was.

Colonel Henry van Rensselaer had arrived at Fort Anne with 400 New York militia, and at 10:30 A.M., he and Long ventured out to attack Hill. Hill managed to reach high ground and the two sides exchanged fire for two hours. Both sides were running low on ammunition when they heard an Indian war whoop, which indicated Burgoyne's reinforcements were arriving. The Americans broke off their attack, burned Fort Anne and retreated to Fort Edward. It turned out that the war whoop had been used by one Captain Money when his Indians had refused to follow him into the action.

Following his losses at Fort Ticonderoga and subsequent engagements, Maj. General Philip Schuyler ordered 1,000 axemen to chop down trees across all trails and routes between Skenesboro and Fort Edward. They also dug ditches to create quagmires. These measures made Burgoyne's progression to Fort Edward nearly grind to a halt as routes had to be cleared and roads even built. He had chosen to send his artillery by the water route, but that was made a difficult task because of rapids and American impediments in the channel. It took Burgoyne twenty days to cover twenty miles, finally arriving at Fort Edward on July 29, 1777.

The American forces abandoned Fort Edward and retreated down the Hudson River to Saratoga, and the British occupied Fort Edward on July 30th. On August 4th, congress removed Schuyler from command of the Northern Forces and placed Horatio Gates in command.

Although Williamís enlistment expired in August of 1777, he chose to extend his enlistment period by three months. Thus, William Bennett took part in the Battle of Saratoga in October of 1777. It was at Saratoga where the British forces under General Burgoyne met defeat at the hands of the American forces under General Horatio Gates.

After his term of enlisted was completed, William Bennett was discharged and he returned to Sandown, New Hampshire.

In December of 1779 William Bennett again enlisted, this time at New Christ, New Hampshire where he then resided in the regiment commanded by Colonel Bedell. Williamís term of enlistment on this occasion was for a period of nine months. During this time period the regiment was employed to guard the frontier borders of New Hampshire.

In July of 1780, William once more enlisted, this time in Haverhill, Massachusetts in the Company of Captain Johnson in the regiment under the command of Colonel Wadsworth for a term of six weeks. The regiment was moved to Rhode Island and became part of the army commanded by General Sullivan.

The American forces were compelled to retreat from Rhode Island, and William, as part of the rear guard, was constantly engaged with the British forces that were pursuing the Americans. Eventually, reinforcements arrived and the Americans were able to drive off the British, who returned to Newport, Rhode Island. The American forces continued on to Pawtucket, where William was again discharged.

William Bennett again volunteered for service in September of 1782 again at New Christ, New Hampshire in the Company of Captain Cutting Farror for a term of three months where he was again employed to guard the frontiers of the state along the Connecticut River. At the end of this three month term William Bennett was again discharged.

William remained at New Christ, New Hampshire for a five year period after the war. He then moved to Bradford, Vermont and resided there two years. He then moved to Holland, New York and lived there eight years. From here he relocated to Genesee County, China Township, New York.

William Bennett came west to Illinois about October 1836 to live with his son, William Bennett, Jr. William Bennett died on February 15, 1846 aged 87 years, 9 months and 6 days. William is buried in the Vanderhoff Cemetery, now called God's Little Acre Cemetery, near Wasco in Kane County Illinois.

Sources:
William Bennettís Revolutionary War Pension File # S.30.854
www.patriotresource.com/battles.html
1820 Federal Census, New York, Genesee County, China Township
1830 Federal Census, New York, Genesee County, China Township
1835 New York State Pensioners List: William Bennett, Genesee County, for service in the New Hampshire Militia, Placed on Pension Roll February 2, 1833, $78.33 per annum
1840 Federal Census, Illinois, Kane County
A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services, Sixth Federal Census
Index to Revolutionary War Service Records, Virgil D. White
Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Patricia Law Hatcher
Abstract of Revolutionary Pension Files
Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index (on-line)
Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois, Illinois Genealogical Society

 

Photos from God's Little Acre Cemetery in Kane County

William Bennett passed away on February 15, 1846 almost 88 years old and is buried in the exclusive cemetery, God's Little Acre, located on Colonel Bennett Lane in Campton Township, Kane County, Illinois. This is north of Wasco, Illinois with a Saint Charles, Illinois address. The cemetery is located on a wooded knoll in an upscale housing development of multi-acre lots and contains just 4 gravestones. It is a special place. Given the value of this land, it is touching that the grave of this patriot of the American Revolution was not moved, but allowed to remain where it has been for almost 160 years.

The Daily Herald newspaper reported this on December 28, 1999: God's Little Acre Cemetery: Pvt. William Bennett, a Revolutionary War veteran, arrived in Kane County in 1836 with his wife, Sally, and her children from a previous marriage, the Wards. He was buried in this half-acre plot in 1846. Four members of the family are buried there also. Located on a wooded knoll, the cemetery is separated from the Corron Glen subdivision west of St. Charles by a black metal fence and marked by a county historical marker on Col. Bennett Lane. Apparently developers felt the old soldier deserved a promotion.

Click for MapQuest map to cemetery.

Click for a spectacular aerial view of the grave site. Click on thumbnail and enlarged photos will autoclose in 15 seconds.

 
Gods Little Acre Cemetery The cemetery is located on a wooded knoll with an attractive fence. Gods Little Acre Sign The Campton Cemetery Association maintains this magnificient cemetery.
Bennet Grave Looking north at all of the graves in the cemetery. William & Sally have the longest headstone. Bennet Grave Looking west at all of the graves in the cemetery.
Bennet Grave DAR Graves of William and Sally Bennett with the marker from the Elgin and Elias Kent Kane chapters of the DAR. Bennet Grave Closeup Close-up of the William and Sally Bennett's graves. Note one mystery: the headstone states that he lived to be 89 years, a year longer than all records indicate.
Bennet DAR Marker Close-up of the DAR Marker to honor the 150th anniversary of his death. Bennet Grave Close Close-up of his grave with the text: "a soldier of the Revolution".