Finding Your Folks: Reader seeks help with Bennett connections

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I received an e-mail recently from Fran Gillich, who believes she is connected to the Bennetts of Fayette County. However, proof of the connection has eluded her for years.

Actually, Fran wrote me twice and, for the sake of brevity, I will combine both letters which tell her story. She writes:

“I hope you can give me some information on my Bennett Family who lived in the towns of Fayetteville and Jonesboro, and I think there is a Bennett Cemetery there. I know this is my family, but can’t seem to make the connection.

“My great-grandfather, Wm. Armstead Bennett Sr., was killed in the civil war, at Missionary Ridge in Tennessee. He married Mary Elizabeth Manning, and they had the following children: John who was eleven years of age when his father was killed; then Benjamin F., Sallie, and my grandfather, Wm. Armstead Bennett Jr., who was born in Louisiana on their way to Texas in covered wagons. They settled in Rockwall County of Texas, and many Bennetts still reside there. I know one of the relatives there married a Cousins.

“My sister lives in Montgomery, Ala., and when we were down to visit them some years back, I persuaded my husband to take me to Fayetteville, as I had just received my book, “Georgia Bennetts Their History And Their Heritage,” by Wm. Thomas Waters and Carlotta S. Tate, that was sent to me by Mrs. Harris of Jonesboro. It was her mother that helped with the information in writing the book.

“I have pictures of my Aunt Myrtle Bennett, my father’s sister, and she is the image of the picture found on page 119 in my Bennett Book of Lavinia Jane Bennett Stewart.

“I also went to the old Bennett home place, and met a relative of the Bennetts who still lives in the original Bennett home. I believe her father was a doctor and her husband was a man in a wheelchair, who had been injured in an flying accident. I can’t remember their name.

“I was told that there was an old Bennett cemetery near Fayetteville, but I didn't have the time to go there.

“Mrs. Harris was quite old when she corresponded with me, and died shortly after I received the book. I know the Burches living there were related to the Bennetts. He lived on the main street, that led to the old Bennett homeplace, and directed us to the old place.

“The Bennett book mentions that when Mr. Waters died all his research on the Bennett history was donated to the Georgia Archives, and that there is extended information about the Bennett Family in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. The history covered in this book covered primarily the Virginia and Georgia records used to establish one line of descendents of Benjamin Bennett, whose will was made in Amelia County Va., in 1767.

“My father was Henry Benjamin Bennett, and his father was Wm. Armstead Bennett Jr.

“Hoping to hear from you again, and if you could put me in touch with anyone who is doing genealogy research there, it would be greatly appreciated. I will be 81 years of age next March, and would love to make the connection on my family to the Bennett Book.

“Best regards for your help, Ms. Fran Gillich ("

My thanks to Fran for sharing her lineage. This would appear to be the same Bennett family as the one on page 29 of the Fayette County, Georgia Heritage Book (story submitted by Jeanne and Glenn Brewer), but the story in the book, unfortunately, does not go into the distant lineage of the Bennett family. It begins with a William Columbus Bennett who arrived in Fayette in 1821 (guess that makes him a pioneer) from Jackson County (Georgia, we assume), settled south of Fayetteville, and eventually became the owner of Bennett’s mill in the location we know it today (formerly the Old Mill Restaurant on Ga. Highway 54 in Fayetteville). This William Bennett married Lavinia Brumbelow.

The older “History of Fayette County,” compiled and edited by Carolyn Cary in 1977 and published by the Fayette County Historical Society, also has an account of this family but only gives the descendants of Chamealous Evans (Cam) Bennett, son of the William Bennett who was the pioneer. This story states that William married Lavinia Brumbelow in 1816, and references the Bennett book noted by Fran in her letter to me.

These Bennetts appear to be buried in the Fayetteville City Cemetery. The new Fayette County Cemeteries book shows both William (h/o Lavinia) and Lavinia Bennett buried there, with dates of 15 Oct. 1791 - 11 June 1873 (William) and 9 July 1974 - Nov. 119 (sic) 1872 (Lavinia). That is the way it appears in both the old cemetery book and the new one, so I don’t know if it is a typo or actually appears on the grave that way (surely not).

A William Bennett was the executor of the will of Flora Sanders, made May 1857, probated 1858, but there is no will for William Bennett in Book A, which goes through 1897. (Source: Joel Dixon Wells’ book available at the FCHS).

If any of you have information which can connect Fran’s William Armstead Bennett to this Fayette family, please write her at the above e-mail address. I’m sure she would be grateful for anything since she has been working on this family for so long.

Although time does not permit me to do personal research for others (unless the family connects to my own), I welcome all letters and e-mails about g enealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; e-mail or Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

Until next week, happy hunting!

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