Potter County Military Data

Menzo Benster - Veterans of the Civil War

1885 Union Veterans Census

1890 Veterans Census

World War II Honor List






Veterans of the Civil War who Settled in Potter County, Dakota Territory by Winifred Fawcett and Thelma Hepper, 1993.

Transcribed for Internet use by Peg Williams with permission given on July 20, 2010 by Thelma Hepper.

Benster, Menzo Morey was born April 17, 1840, in Sylvan, Wayne County, Mich. to Wendell and Mary Benster. His father had been born in England and his mother in New York. Menzo had very little schooling, however, he gained very valuable lessons from life. When he was 21, he and his two brothers took over a sawmill owned by their father, and ran it for 3 mos. when it burned. At age 22 he enlisted as a private Company A, of the 24th Mich. Inf. He was promoted to corporal and served six mos. until he suffered sunstroke at the Battle of South Mountain from which paralysis resulted. He received his discharge as a result of the sunstroke. He apparently recovered from the sunstroke and paralysis for on Oct. 20, 1870 he married Mary Munson in Detroit, Mich. Mary was the daughter of Carlos and Almira (Shirley) Munson. Her father was born in Conn. and her mother in Ohio.

After he recovered from his paralysis he became interested in the sewing machine business in Mich., but his doctor advised him to seek another climate. On May 2, 1883, he came with his wife and two daughters, Frankie and Edna, to a place called Meade, Dakota Territory, later called Gettysburg. He filed on land near the town and proved up on NE quarter of the section 22 in Gettysburg Township. He became the first Postmaster of Gettysburg, Potter County, on Aug. 14, 1883. Menzo M. Benster was appointed postmaster of Gettysburg, by President Garfield, for two years. He also engaged in a grocery business. He perfected and patented a number of things, such as a wireless staple, a thill coupler for a buggy, a window casing in which the window could be taken out for cleaning, and he invented a flying machine.

Three years after coming to Potter County another daughter, Dottie, came to gladden their lives.

Their daughter, Frankie, married Charles C. Kreig. They lived in Gettysburg and had four children. Years later, in 1933, when Gettysburg celebrated its 50th Anniversary, Mrs. Frankie Kreig wrote some interesting letters describing their arrival, and living in Gettysburg during its infancy. These letters were published in the Potter County News in July of 1933. The second daughter, Edna, became the wife of Anderson Michael and moved to Philip, SD, where he was the cashier in the bank. They had three children.

Altha, or Dottie, became the wife of Charles Bowers, wire chief for Western Union. They had one son. Mr. Benster joined the Mead Post #32 as the 9th member in 1883, on transfer from Geo. H. Thomas Post #5 of Ill. in 1881. Here he had the job of Post Recorder but because of his lack of education his books were found in default, so he resigned from the G.A.R. on Aug. 14, 1884.

He passed away Oct. 14, 1924, at the age of 84 yrs. 7 mos. He left his wife, three daughters, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren to mourn his death. Mrs. Benster passed away May 2, 1930. Both are buried in the Gettysburg Cemetery.

Sources: Potter Country News 1933; G.A.R. Records; 1885 Special Ex-Soldier’s Census; 1890 Federal Soldier’s Census; 1900 Federal Census.


Potter County

World War II Honor List

Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel


Name Serial Number Grade Casualty Type
Bartels, Adolph H. 37297947 S SG DNB
Christiansen, M. K. 37572750 PFC KIA
Edson, Harlan R. 02065971 2 LT DNB
Erlenbusch, Jacob NMI 37249233 TEC5 DOW
Hartman, Charles M. 6583190 CPL FOD
Hoven, Leonard L. 37771139 PFC KIA
Jordeth, Victor R. 37287313 TEC5 KIA
Kammer, George J. 37317246 TEC5 DNB
Nauman, David K. 0-745249 1 LT DNB
Ochszner, Clarence C. 37317243 PFC KIA
Spicer, Leslie J. 20719407 PVT DNB
Stoner, Lowell T. 37297948 SGT DNB
Toomey, Winston M. 37297949 S SG KIA
Tousley, Burton C. 0-522523 1 LT KIA


FOD = "Finding of Death", determined to be dead under Public Law 490.

DOW = "Died of Wounds"

KIA = "Killed in Action"

DNB = "Died, Not Battle"





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