By Todd Walter


Photograph by Janine Crandell - 2004
With permission of the owner
Thank you Mr. Hohenberry!



Now commonly known as THURMAN CEMETERY this small cemetery is located three miles south of Maquon on Highway 97 and 100 yards West in a pasture on the North East Quarter of Section 21 in Maquon Township, South West of the former Bennington School. Bennington was laid out as a town on April 4, 1838 by Elisha Thurman, with 20 lots, two streets, and two alleys, but it failed to develop and the plat was vacated by the State Legislature, although it was the township polling place until 1858 when it was moved to Maquon. He had purchased the 160-acre farm with his brother, Mark, for $500 on October 27, 1837. On January 12, 1880 he sold his farm to Andrew C. Housh but set aside one acre for the cemetery, then on June 20, 1884, Elisha and his wife, Anna, sold the one-acre cemetery plot to the Bennington Cemetery Association for one dollar. He had previously sold the one-acre lot the school sat on to Maquon School District No. 8, also for one dollar.

The first known burial was in 1836 with the last being in 1923. It is not maintained or fenced, and cows have knocked over all of the stones. Although one acre was set aside for the cemetery, the space that was used was about 50 by 30 feet. The property is currently owned by Harold Hohenberry.

Following the research is the actual transcription of the stones.

Todd Walter
December 2001



NICA - Dau of J. & H. THURMAN - Died Sept. 22, 1841, Aged 1Yr. 4Ms. 20Ds.

HARRIET, Wife of J. E. FOSTER, Died May 14, 1871, Aged 25Yrs. 7Ms & 26Ds.
The hearts keen anguish only those can tell,
Who we bid the dearest and best farewell.
The parting with our treasure, once our pride
More prized and honored than the world beside.

(Same granite stone)
JOSEPH E. FOSTER, 1840 - 1917, Co. C. 133 Inf. Regt. Pa. (Also has government stone)
HARRIET, His Wife, 1844 - 1871 (Her birth year does not match age on her original stone)

ELIZA, Wife of J. M. FOSTER, Died Mar. 25, 1847, Aged 26Yrs. 8Mos. 19Ds.

Top Gone, M. & E. FOSTER, Died Sep 18, 1842, Aged 13 Days (Top was intact for prior transcript)

MARY J., Dau. of G. R. & E. OAKS, Died May 28, 1868, AE 8M. 17D.
Sleep on sweet babe and take thy rest, God called thee home, He thought it best.

AMANDA F. KEYS, Died Feb. 9, 1883, Aged 47Yrs. 4Mos. 10Ds.
Her peace is seald (sic), her rest is sure, Within that better home,
Awhile we weep and linger here, Then follow to the tomb!

JOHN W. SMITHSON, Died Nov. 18, 1862, AE 27Yrs. 1Mo. 20Ds.
A loving husband and father dear, A faithful friend lies buried here.

(Same stone)
INFANT SON, Sept. 17, 1876 - Sept. 26, 1876
ARCHIE, Dec. 8, 1882 - Feb 16, 1883
Children, H. & M. THURMAN

INFANT Dau. of H. & M. A. THURMAN, Died Sept. 26, 1876 (No age, stone broke)

(Same stone)
ELISHA THURMAN, July 1, 1812 - July 4, 1885 (Should be 1895)
ANNA, His Wife, Oct. 29, 1814 - Dec. 28, 1899

ALBERT THURMAN, 1857 - 1923



There are surely several unmarked graves in this cemetery but one that is almost certain is that of an infant of Joseph E. and Harriet Foster. In the 1902 "HISTORY OF THE FOSTER FAMILY" by D.I. Foster, he states that "She and their only child died May 14th, 1871". Since Harriet is buried here it is probably safe to assume that the infant was buried here also.


John W. Smithson, Maquon, enlisted as a Corporal in Company F. 86th Infantry on August 5, 1862, and died of illness at Danville, Kentucky, November 18, 1862.
Joseph Evans Foster enlisted in Company C, 133rd Regular Pennsylvania Volunteers. He mustered in at Harrisburg, PA on August 14, 1862.


John W. Smithson   P
Elisha Thurman       W (No probate)
Albert Thurman      W
Joseph E. Foster     P


In the name of the Lord, Amen

I, Elisha Thurman, of the town of Chestnut, county of Knox, State of Illinois, being eighty three (83) years old, of sound mind and memory hereby make this my last will and bequeathment.

I hereby bequeath all my land & real estate in section thirty one (31) town 9 North, two east of the 4th prin. Meridian, Knox County, Illinois to my wife Anna Thurman the remainder of her natural life should she outlive me. Then at her death or at my death should I outlive her the same to become the property of the following named heirs in the following manner. Albert Thurman and Walter Thurman each to receive the value of two hundred dollars apiece and then to share equally with the following named heirs; My sons: Fletcher, Howard and George, and my daughter Minda.

                                                                                      Elisha Thurman {Seal}

We the following named witnesses certify to this instrument as to signature of testator in his presence and the presence of one another.

Witnesses L.C. Sherwood {Seal}
                 J.H. Cain           {Seal}

Dated this 22nd day of October A.D. 1894



I, Albert Thurman of the Town of Indian Point County of Knox and State of Illinois, do hereby make and declare, this my last will and testament, in a manner and form following,
to wit:

First, It is my will, that my funeral expenses and all my just debts, be fully paid.

Second, It is my will, that suitable monuments be erected and permanently placed, one at the grave of my deceased wife Caroline Thurman, and one at the grave of myself. Said monuments not to cost exceeding One hundred dollars each.

Third: After the payment of such funeral expenses and debts, and the erection of monuments aforesaid, it is my will, that all my real estate, described as follows, A strip of land off the North Side of the North East Quarter (1/4) of the Southeast Quarter (1/4) of section Thirty Six (36), (lengthy description), containing Fourteen (14) acres more or less, and all, in the Town of Indian Point, in the County of Knox and State of Illinois, Shall be rented and kept rented for the benefit and behalf of what is known as the Bennington Graveyard, which is situate three miles or whereabout, South of the village of Maquon, in said County of Knox and State of Illinois, forever.

Fourth: It is my will, that this fund shall arise and be perpetuated from the rent of said real estate, after the taxes thereon, shall have been annually paid, with such sum as shall appear necessary to keep and maintain such premises in proper repair.

Fifth, And lastly I hereby constitute and appoint my niece Florence Bowden of the Village of Hermon, in said Knox County, Illinois, Executrix of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof, I the said Albert Thurman have hereunto set my hand and seal this the 26th day of November in the year of our Lord 1918.

                                                                                     Albert Thurman {Seal}

(Note: The 14 acres that he left in his will was rented out until 1926 when it was sold to cover his bills. All he had that was of value at his death, besides the land, was 15 chickens worth $7.50 which apparently were "taken away or stolen by some unknown person". After the land was sold and bills paid, there was a balance of $591.51 left for the care of the cemetery. His wife Caroline (Cain) (Cooper) Thurman is buried in Hermon Methodist Church Cemetery. She did get her stone.)


Galesburg Daily Republican Register
April 9, 1914

Howard Thurman and son Lora of Hermon put up a monument to the graves of Elisha Thurman and wife in the Bennington Cemetery this week.


Galesburg Evening Mail
April 10, 1923


Funeral services for Albert Thurman were held at the Christian Church at London Mills at 10 o'clock this morning. Burial was made at Bennington Cemetery. Mr. Thurman, who was a well known citizen of Hermon, died Sunday from complications following the flu. He lived alone and had been in poor health for some time.


Galesburg Evening Mail
April 11, 1917


With the passing of Joseph Evans Foster at the home of his nephew, D.I. Foster on last Monday morning. The last old soldier has gone from our midst. Joseph, the fourth son and sixth child of Thomas and Eliza Foster was born in Broad Top Township, Bedford Co., Pa., April 14th, 1840, died in Rapatee, Ill., at 11 o'clock a.m. Monday, April 9, 1917, aged 76 years, 11 months and 25 days. He grew to manhood on the Broad Top mountains, and at the age of 22, 1862 he enlisted in Co. C 33 Reg. Pa. Vol. and served his country faithfully. After which he joined a band of coal prospectors under the late Wm. Foster Sr., working in Bedford, Huntington Clarion and Venango counties. Just 51years ago last April 1866 he arrived at what is now Rapatee, and has lived here ever since, though making brief visits east and west. In 1870, he married Miss Harriet Foster, daughter of J.M. Foster Sr., it was truly a love match and while she died the next year 1871, he never married again. Some time after this he was converted and joined the M.E. church of which he remained a faithful member to the end, serving it in many capacities, and was Superintendent of the Sunday School for some 18 years, being loved by every child that attended it. He has resided in Rapatee about ? years, and since 1903, he has lived by himself just south of the church. He was much attached to his home and while crippled with rheumatism and almost blind he refused to be moved until his last illness which was of only 3 days duration. His mind was clear until Sunday afternoon and he told us all was well with his soul. The funeral occurred Wednesday from Rapatee church, in which he always took such an interest being chairman of the original building committee. Rev. A.P. Rolen preached the sermon and the body was laid to rest beside his wife in Bennington Cemetery, where he had a nice monument erected in June 1916. The pallbearers were Phillip Fullmer, J.C. Hoxworth, Tobias Woods, J.F. Morse, T.M. Morse and G.P. Dikeman. Of a family of sixteen children, but three are living, Mrs. Louisa Edwards of Seward, Neb., Mrs. Susan J. Blair of somewhere in Pa., and his youngest brother, Samson P. Foster of Kearney, Pa.

The writer was in the coal business with him 1883 to 1885. He was a good true man.



History of Knox County, Illinois
Charles C. Chapman, 1878

Elisha Thurman, farmer, P.O. Maquon, was born July 1, 1812, in Highland co., Ohio. Parents were Thomas and Feba (Goard) Thurman, natives of Virginia. His early life was passed on the farm; he moved to Illinois in 1830, settling in Knox co., and has been out of the county only three years time since. Dec 25, 1834, he was married to Anna Hall. They are the parents of 9 children, seven are living. Was first a member of the Methodist Church, but now belongs to the Christian, which he joined in 1838 or '39. Has been School Director and Trustee. Republican. Owns 592 acres of land.


History of Knox County, Illinois
Charles C. Chapman, 1878

James M. Foster, farmer, son of Zebulon and Elizabeth (Wingate) Foster, the former a native of New York and the latter of New Jersey, was born Jan. 2, 1808 in Hamilton co., Ohio.; moved to Indiana in 1814; received a common school education; moved to Illinois in 1830, settling in Fulton co. until 1833, when he moved to Knox co.; was married June 13, 1841 to Eliza Combs, then again to a second wife, Louisa Roads, Sept., 1848; he is the parent of 9 children, of whom 7 are living; was a soldier in the Black Hawk War; has been School Director, School Trustee and Supervisor; Republican. P. O. Maquon.


History of the Foster Family
A Wonderful Story, Covering Nearly Two Hundred
Years of Time, and Half the United States in Territory.
D. I. Foster, Rapatee, Illinois

Joseph Evans Foster, fourth son of Thomas Foster (and Eliza Horton) grew to manhood on the Broadtop Mountains (Bedford County, PA). At the age 22 he enlisted in Co. C, 133rd Reg. Pa. Vol., Captain , Alexander Bobb, Colonel, B. F. Speakman. They were mustered in at Harrisburg, Pa., on Aug. 14th, 1862. This regiment saw some very hard fighting on the fields of Antietum, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After his discharge he worked at the coal business in Bedford and Venango counties, Pa. Came to Illinois in 1866. Married Harriet, daughter of James M. Foster. She and their only child died May 14th, 1871. Joe has resided at Rapatee for 36 years. He has been a very useful man. Is a member of the M. E. church.


Edward T. Smithson married Betsey Walter on December 27, 1832 in Highland County, Ohio.


Elisha Thurman and Anna Hall were married December 25, 1834 in Fulton County, Illinois. They were the first couple from Maquon Township to be married.


James M. Foster married Eliza Combs on June 13, 1841 in Knox County, Illinois.


John W. Smithson married Amanda F. Thurman on March 6, 1859 in Knox County, Illinois.


Amanda F. (Thurman) Smithson married John M. Keys on October 26, 1865 in Knox County, Illinois.


Joseph E. Foster married Harriet Foster on February 17, 1870 in Knox County, Illinois.


Albert Thurman married Mrs. Caroline (Cain) Cooper on June 13, 1890 in Knox County, Illinois.



John W. Smithson's probate includes a bill of $70.00 from Elisha Thurman for "To going to Danville, Ky for him & bringing back his body". Also included is a bill for $10.20 from Housh and Thurman of Maquon for "burial expenses".

Joseph E. Foster's probate included the following for his burial expenses:

$5.00 to William Jones for digging grave
$2.00 to Mrs. T. A. Richie for washing body
$5.00 to A. P. Rolen for funeral services
$9.00 to Dr. C. H. Essex for three visits for last illness
$2.00 for care of cemetery lot
$3.00 for placing date of death on monument

The undertaker was J. F. Belue of Fairview. His bill included the following:

Plush Casket and box $84.50
Use of hearse $10.00
Care of body $10.00
Professional services $ 5.00
Suit $11.00

Albert Thurman's funeral expenses were $187.38. His tombstone cost $100.00. No details were included.

Bowater Sumner served as Surety on July 11, 1837, in Highland County, Ohio, when his brother-in-law, John W. Walter was appointed Guardian of Edward and Betsy Smithson's sons: William M., age 3 and John W., age 18 months. In 1848 John W. Walter was again appointed Guardian of the children in Knox County.

Deed Book 122
Page 409

The Grantors, Elisha Thurman and Anna Thurman, his wife, of the Town of Chestnut in the County of Knox and State of Illinois, for and in consideration of One Dollar, in hand paid, convey and warrant to The County of Knox of the State of Illinois for the use of the Bennington Cemetery Association of the Town of Maquon, County of Knox and State of Illinois the following described real estate:

to wit:

One Acre of land situated in the North east quarter of Section Twenty One (21) Township No. Nine (9) North Range No. Three (3) East of the Fourth Principal Meridian, County of Knox and State of Illinois. Said one acre found as follows to wit: Beginning at the Corner Stone at the South East corner of foresaid Quarter Section and measuring North Twenty Eight (28) Rods thence west Nineteen (19) rods to the North east corner of said one acre.

Said one acre bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at its North East corner measuring west Twelve and 13/20 rods (12 13/20) thence South Twelve and 13/20 (12 13/20) rods thence East Twelve and 13/20 (12 13/20) rods thence North to the place of beginning situated in the County of Knox in the State of Illinois, hereby releasing and waving all rights under and by virtue of the Homestead Exemption Laws of this State.

Dated this 20th day of June A. D. 1884

Signed, Sealed and Delivered in Presence of

T. L. McGirr}                                                                Elisha Thurman {Seal}                                                                                             her
                                                                                   Anna X Thurman {Seal}

Any contributions, corrections, or suggestions would be deeply appreciated!

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