Olive Mary Knight, known to her friends as “Mary,” was born 24 Jan 1830 at Purshall Green, Elmbridge, Worcester, England, the daughter of James Knight and Maria Wallace. Her parents accepted the Gospel in England as did Mary. Mary was baptized in England August 1845. Sometime before 1849, the Knight family emigrated to America. The father, James Knight, died 22 July 1849 at St. Joseph, Missouri. The reason for his death is not known, but Maria Knight was left to finish the journey without her husband. Mary was 19 years old.
Crossing the ocean, Mary told about how their ship was blown off course many miles by a bad storm. At that time, the ships were three-masted schooners propelled by wind in their sails, and they were at the mercy of the weather.
The trip across the dry and dusty plains to Utah was long, but Mary remembered this road to the Rocky Mountains as a happy time for her. She arrived in Salt Lake City, 13 Oct 1950, in Bishop Edward Hunter’s Company.
Mary lived with her mother, Maria Wallace Knight, until 19 March 1858 when she married Ezra T. Benson in Salt Lake City. Two years later, in 1860, the Benson family moved to Logan, Utah. In Logan she helped pioneer this unsettled land, but she was ambitious and spiritual. In her Church duties she served as President of the first Relief Society organized in Logan, Utah. When asked if the Church was worth all the sacrifices she had made, she would answer by asking if anyone thought she had come across the Plains in heated weather, if she had not believed the Church had been organized by divine authority.
On the 10th of May 1869, at the celebration of the wedding of the rails at Promontory, Utah, Mary Knight Benson traveled there with her husband, Ezra T. Benson, for this occasion.
After her husband’s death, 3 Sept 1869, she worked a small farm and obtained a tract of land which she rented out and it helped support her family. She had a struggle as her family were all young; Louisa was 10, Roni 8, Lorenzo Taft 6, Joseph 4, Ida 2 and her baby, Don Carlos Benson, was born three and a half weeks after her husband’s death. Mary always managed to have a beef to kill for winter and her cellar was piled high with food from the garden and the farm.
Mary is described as being small and slender with dark eyes and dark hair. She took good care of her son, Roni, who never married. Mary Knight Benson died 27 March 1905 after being a widow 36 years. She is buried in the Ezra T. Benson plot in Logan Cemetery.
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