Stephenson County Illinois

Henry D. Bentley

HENRY D. BENTLEY, the well-known manufacturer of piano and organ stools, of Freeport, Ill., was born in London, England, in the year 1851. He was brought to America by his parents, Peter J. and E. A. Bentley, in the same year. The father of Henry D. Bentley is Peter Johnson Bentley, who was born at Reeth, Yorkshire, England, on the 13th of February, 1811. In 1826 he moved to London, taking a position in the wholesale mercantile establishment of Bentley, Pawson & Co., Cheapside. He remained in London until May 3, 1851, when he came to the United States, arriving at Freeport, Ill., on the 9th of August, 1851. At this time he took up his residence on Stephenson street, where he has continuously lived since. Mr. Bentley came to the United States, believing it better for himself and family than to remain in London. He has always been associated and identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was largely instrumental in the erection of Embury Church. His family consists of his wife, daughter, and two sons: Miss Lizzie A. Bentley, Charles F. Bentley, of Grand Island, Neb., and A. D. Bentley, of Freeport.

Henry D. Bentley was reared and educated in the public schools of Freeport; after leaving school he was employed at different kinds of business until reaching his twenty-third year, when he became engaged in the sale of musical instruments for the firm of Pelton & Pomeroy, remaining with this firm about two years. He then went to Chicago, where he was engaged in the same business for a period of five years. He then returned to Freeport and embarked in the music business on his own account in the year 1879, at his present stand, No. 144 Stephenson street. After conducting the retail piano and organ trade exclusively and successfully for a time, he began the manufacture of piano and organ stools, which business he pursues in connection with his music store, and so popular are the stools of his manufacture that they are now sold in every State in the Union.

In December, 1875, Mr. Bentley was married to Miss Elida Pattison, daughter of Richard Pattison, Esq., of Freeport, Ill. They are the parents of two children – Charles Johnson and Henry D.

Mr. Bentley is a Mason in good standing and a member of the Freeport Consistory, and takes great interest in Masonic matters. He is a liberal-minded and progressive citizen, and takes great pride in the progress of the city of his adoption.

Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits & Biographical 1888 Stephenson Co IL Pg 223

C.N. BENTLEY, whose home is on section 21, Harlem township, is one of the venerable figures of the pioneer gatherings of Stephenson county. It indeed has few if any residents whose settlement antedates his own. He knows what it means to open up a new country to civilization, and he is now living in the peace and comfort that follows a long and useful career.

Eldred Bentley, the grandfather of the subject of this article, was born in Rhode Island, but spent the greater part of his life in Rensselaer county, New York, and died in Chautauqua county of that state in 1851, at the age of ninety-three. His wife, Nata, was an own sister of that Ethan Allen, who linked his name with fame beyond divorce in the capture of the fort at Ticonderoga at the opening of the Revolutionary struggle. Eldred Bentley, Jr., the father of C. N. Bentley, was born in Rensselaer county in 1793, and died in Chautauqua county in 1843.

Mr. Bentley was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, July 24th, 1826, and of his brothers and sisters mention is briefly made. John lives in Winnebago county, and Eldred at Ellington, Chautauqua county, New York. Louisa married Norman Carr, and died in Ellington in 1891. Jemima married Mr. Jeffords, and died in Pennsylvania in 1896. Sarah died at Ellington while still a young girl, and Nancy, who had become the wife of Mr. Ralph, died in Chautauqua county in 1856.

Mr. Bentley married Alecta Smith in Fredonia, New York, in July, 1844. She is a daughter of Jeriel Smith, who came to this county, settled in Harlem township, and died in 1857. She bore her husband five children, and died in October, 1889, leaving behind her precious memories as a wife and mother. Their oldest son, Lewis, 1845, served with distinction throughout the Civil war in the 46th Illinois Volunteer Infantry; and after the war returned home in February, 1866, only to be killed by a vicious horse the following June. Jane, 1847, became the wife of H. B. Price, a resident of Freeport, and died in 1895, leaving three sons and two daughters. Alva was born in New York, and was accidentally scalded to death after reaching Illinois, at the age of twenty months. George J. who was born in Winslow, Illinois, is a lawyer of considerable prominence at Cripple Creek, Colorado. Lydia, 1860, died when four years old. Charles C. married Theresa Mulnix, and resides with his father. He is the parent of five children. Violet Electa is the oldest, Chloe the second child and Cecil N. and Charles C. are twins. Dewey, the youngest child, bears the name of the hero of Manila.

Mr. Bentley is serving his twenty-fifth year as school trustee of his home district, and his judgment on school matters is almost beyond question by the people of the neighborhood. He has served four years as constable, and highway commissioner one or more terms. It has never been in his mind, however, to seek any kind of a political office beyond those local positions that had to do most immediately with home affairs.

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