Adeline Brooks Andrus Benson
Adeline Brooks Andrus was born 18 Mar 1813 at Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Jonathan Harvey Andrus & Lucina Parsons. Her birth is not in the printed vital records of Windsor; however, Jonathan H. Andrus was grantee to a deed in Windsor in 1812, and he sold him property in 1814, indicating the family lived there during the year of 1813.
Adeline first heard the gospel when she as a young girl, and when her sister’s husband, Ezra T. Benson, came to Westfield, Massachusetts. Adeline was baptized in Westfield 15 Aug 1843. There was a small branch of the L.D.S. Church in Westfield, but the Saints were being persecuted and the membership was advised to leave. They went to Nauvoo, Illinois.
At that time, Adeline was being courted by a young man, but he could not accept the Mormon faith, and so they parted. Adeline was small and frail but strong in her faith.
When Adeline arrived in Nauvoo, she found her sister, Pamelia, who had been married to Ezra T. Benson 12 years before in 1832. Adeline was welcomed into her sister’s home.
Adeline had been in Nauvoo only a short time when she asked Patriarch Hyrum Smith for a blessing. Pamelia and Ezra T. Benson accompanied her. It was at this visit that the new law of celestial marriage was explained to her; she was told that it would not be an easy life.
On the 27th of April 1844, Adeline became the second wife of Ezra T. Benson. Pamelia and Adeline became closer to each other than ever and endured the hardships of traveling and pioneering a new land.
Adeline Benson lived in Nauvoo when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith, were returned from Carthage after their assassination. Soon resentful feelings gathered against all Mormons. The men were working hard to finish the Nauvoo Temple, and the women did their share by giving their dishes to go in the foundation of the temple, and by preparing food and clothing for the workers.
When the attic story of the temple was finished, Ezra T. Benson took Adeline there on the 23rd of December 1845 for her endowment. Then on the 16th of January 1846, he took both Pamelia and Adeline back to the temple for their sealings for time and eternity.
Windsor, Hartford Co., Conn. Deeds.
Nauvoo Temple Records
Autobiography of Ezra T. Benson
On the 9th of February 1846 the Bensons packed up their clothes, some bedding, and a few utensils and started out to cross the Mississippi River going over the ice. Both Adeline and Pamelia were expecting babies. Women were to suffer more than the men on this trek, but they were to stand it better. “They were to complain less, too.” Benson said referring to his wives. “Never at any time did I hear a murmur from their lips.”
On the first of May 1846 at Garden Grove, Iowa, Adeline gave birth to her first child, a son, George Taft Benson.
When Salt Lake City was in its early stages of settlement, Adeline Benson was taking good care of three small potatoes which she planned to plant in her new garden. She cut each in four pieces, making twelve starts. Three of the plants died and nine matured. From these nine hills she dug a large dish pan of potatoes. She ate three and kept the rest for planting the next spring. From this pan of seed she raised ten bushel.
That fall Apostle Benson returned to Salt Lake with some of his family and they all enjoyed the harvest of potatoes. One day Adeline told them they had better save the potatoes that were left for seed the next spring. Apostle Benson went to the trap door where the potatoes were kept, and told Adeline there were still lots left and there was no reason why they couldn’t continue to use them. Some time late, Adeline closed the trap door saying she’d known hunger and she intended to save what was left. Her husband said, “Let’s eat what we have and I’ll buy seed when spring comes.” Sister Benson refused. The next spring seed potatoes could not be purchased anywhere for any price, but this gentle woman had enough seed to plant and thus have a good harvest in the fall.
Adeline Benson and Sister Hendricks were camped at Garfield boiling salt for their winter supply as this was a routine chore. While they were performing this task, the men were in the canyon cutting wood. Busy at her work, Adeline glanced at the rocks a short distance away and saw a large animal crouching there. She walked over to the wagon and called, “Sister Hendricks, we have company!”
The animal crawled steadily through the rocks and towards them. Sister Hendricks said she had heard if a person would sing, and animal would not bother them. Both women took their babies in their arms and started to sing. When they stopped singing, the animal would get up and start towards them again, but while they continued singing, the animal would lie down quietly. They sang for two hours, and all at once the animal was gone.
When the men returned, they examined the tracks left on the ground and found them to be those of a large mountain lion. Adeline had a cow tied to the back of the wagon, and when the lion appeared, the frightened cow broke loose and ran away. They didn’t find her for six months.
On the 17th of September 1851, Adeline gave birth to a baby girl whom she named Florence A. Benson. This little girl, her only daughter, lived just a little more than one year. Florence died on Christmas Eve, 24 Dec 1852. What a sad Yule this must have been for Adeline as they buried her little girl on Christmas Day. Helen Passey’s mother, Jean Benson Henderson, told Helen that, each Christmas, Adeline would get her baby’s shoes and other remembrances out of a little trunk and cry a few tears for her little girl, the only daughter she ever had.
Adeline was a participant in the Indian Placement long before it was a program of the L.D.S. Church. Indians were constantly on the war path in the valleys that had been settled. The last battle between the Cache Valley settlers and the Indians was at Battle Creek near Preston, Idaho. After the battle, a number of Indian children were left orphans. The relatives of these children sold them to the settlers. Apostle Benson bought an Indian boy and an Indian girl and took them home to Adeline. They named the girl Nellie and the boy Sam. Ezra T. Benson paid 50 pounds of flour for each of them. Both went to school and learned to read and write. Both grew to adulthood then, Sam drifted away and was never heard from.
Nellie was in love with her foster brother, Frank Andrus Benson, but when Frank brought his bride home to live with Adeline, it was too much for Nellie. She left and went to live with another of the Benson families. She didn’t live long after Frank’s marriage. She is buried in the northeast corner of the Benson plot in Logan Cemetery.
Living in dwelling No. 227 in the 1880 census of Logan, Cache, Utah, were:
Adeline Benson white female age 67, widowed, Housekeeper
Frank Benson white male age 26 farmer
Nellie Benson Indian female age 29 Servant born in Utah
Apostle Benson had told the people to give the Indians what they asked to keep peace. They would demand flour, beans, salt and sorghum. One evening during a visit of the Indians to the tabernacle square, Adeline was alone with her two young boys, George Taft and Frank Andrus Benson, when a drunken Indian with his face covered with war paint came to her kitchen window and pressed his nose against the window pane. The boys were terrified, but Adeline, the pioneer woman that she was, went to the glass and shook her fist in the Indian’s face and made him understand that she was not afraid. The Indian stood there looking at them for a while, nose pressed to the window, then he turned and walked to a pile of wood a short distance away and sat down, moved his head back and forth as Adeline continued to watch from the window. Finally, he arose and walked drunkenly away.
Adeline was only a fraction over five feet tall, and really no match physically, but with the spiritual strength with which these hardy pioneers were blessed. She was always neat and clean. She wore a black dress with a clean white collar on it and her hair was brushed and arranged nicely. Adeline lived the last seventeen years with her son, Frank Andrus Benson and family.
Journal History of the Church 20 Apr 1898, p. 3: “Sister Adeline B. A. Benson, widow of the late Apostle E. T. Benson, and one of the pioneers of 1847 (not the first company) died today at Logan; born Windsor, Connecticut, 18 Mar 1813, baptized by E. T. Benson at Westfield, Massachusetts, 15 Aug 1843; went to Nauvoo the next month. Married Elder Benson by Patriarch Hyrum Smith 27 Apr 1844; left Nauvoo, crossing the Mississippi on ice, 27 Feb 1846; arrived in Salt Lake City 2 Oct 1847; lived in Salt Lake City 12 years and 6 months when she moved to Logan where she resided till her decease, having a spotless reputation and leaving 2 sons, 20 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.”
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