George Taft Benson Sr. and
George Taft Benson Jr.

by Minnie Egan Anderson
excerpted from John Henry Evans and Minnie Egan Anderson, Ezra Taft Benson: Pioneer—Statesman—Saint (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1947), pp. 340–41

    George Taft Benson, [the oldest child and son of Ezra T. and Adeline Andrus Benson,] born at Garden Grove, became a resolute , unwavering member of the church. Strong of body and mind he often accompanied his father, as a boy, on short trips away from home. This companionship brought father and son close together and was held very dear by young George. Growing up in pioneer environment under the patient guidance of his parents, he learned at a tender age to love truth and right. As a boy and continuing throughout his life, he eagerly performed all church duties assigned to him.

    In his late teens George suddenly found himself very much in love with a young girl of Charm and character, Louisa A. Ballif. Her family had left the luxury of a rich ancestral estate in Switzerland to settle in Utah for the sake of the Gospel. They were people of learning and gentility. Settling in Logan, they soon endeared themselves to the people of that community.

    On December 20, 1867, in the Salt Lake endowment house, George and Louisa were married with his father, Apostle Benson, officiating at the ceremony. They, too made their home in Logan.

    The population of Cache Valley grew and church organizations were extended. Soon after George Taft was married he was chosen a member of the first high council organized in that stake. He also served as assistant superintendent of the Fourth ward Sunday school. Later his son, Serge B. Benson, was set apart as Bishop of that ward, with position he held for several years. Under his leadership one of the finest chapels in the valley was constructed. He later became a member of the state High Council.

    George Taft’s activities were many and varied. Called to help settle that part of Preston, Idaho, which later became Whitney, Idaho, in 1884, he became prominent in the colonization of southern Idaho.

    Energetically interested in building up this new country, he took a leading part in the construction of irrigation projects to reclaim the land. He successfully guided the Whitney ward for 23 years as it’s Bishop. His wife was president of Oneida Stake Relief Society for sixteen years. Oneida stake at that time comprised twenty-two wards and extended as far west as Baker City, Oregon. George and Louisa Benson were the parents of thirteen children and yet in addition they found time to visit the sick and lonely and hold important Church positions.

    Ten children were reared to manhood and womanhood. All ten became honorable citizens and faithful church members. Their eldest son, George Taft Benson, Jr., was of sterling character, also. He took keen delight in making the earth yield. He became expert at farming. He was known for his activities in promoting community and county improvements, serving as county commissioner for several years.

    He, too, was a leader among the Saints, as a missionary, first counselor in the Bishopric of Whitney ward and stake High Councilman. He held this latter position until called into the Franklin Stake Presidency. At the time of his sudden death he was declared “the strongest influence for good in Franklin County, Idaho.”

    George Taft Benson, Jr. married Sarah Dunkley and to them was born eleven children who grew to become leaders in their communities.

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