Benjamin Carpenter SAWYER

Born: 04 Sep 1819, at Mill Rift, PA
Died: 27 Dec 1909, in Chester (near Waupun), WI

Father: James Sawyer
Mother: Catherine Nearpass

Spouse: Mary Valentine (1819-1900)


  • Elizabeth (Libbie)
  • Edgar J.
  • John Decker
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Mary Alice
  • Sarah Frances
  • Kate E.

    At right, Benjamin ca. 1880? ===>>

  • Benjamin Carpenter Sawyer was born in the family home at Mill Rift. His father, James, had settled there in 1808. His middle name comes from the surname of the second wife (Hannah Carpenter) of his great-grandfather (Major John Wood). The name may also reflect the Benjamin Carpenter of local fame.

    As a young main, Ben had been a logger on the Delaware River. He came West before he married and worked at South Port, WI (now Kenosha). He returned East but the western fever was in his blood. In 1842 he returned West and walked from Milwaukee to Green Bay, WI. He carefully appraised the land between these places, judging what would be the most suitable for a farm. In all this distance, he selected property 4 miles south of Waupun because of its fine virgin timber, rich soil, water running through the farm and easy access to a trading post, Waupun. He purchased this farm from the government for $1.25 per acre. He returned East, married a wife (Mary Valentine at Goshen, NY in April 1846) and started a family.

    In 1850, he, his wife and 2 children (Libbie and Edgar) came West. His land was entirely frontier country. They spent the first winter with their neighbors, the Titus family. The men of the neighborhood cleared the land for crops the next Spring, and put up a cabin from the logs they cut. After prosperity came, he put up a fine brick house and furnished it in grand style. After his sons left home, he found farming too hard, so he sold the farm, built another fine home in Waupun and retired there. In 1894, when we was 75 years old, he suffered a massive stroke. He recovered but was never able to walk again. But never had another one and lived another 15 years.

    Benjamin was the first of this branch of the Sawyer family to pioneer and later settle in the West (Wisconsin). Two brothers, William and Michael, settled in the (then) middle west in later years.

    In his young days, he was outgoing and liked to be with people. After his stroke, he was so incapacitated that he was very lonely. The grandchildren took turns staying with him and Aunt Libbie after Grandma's death. His grandaughter Ruth Sawyer Thompson, daughter of Benjamin Franklin, used to wonder what her family could do to help if anything happened. He was always the head of the house, domineering, yet liberal with his children and grandchildren.

    In the East the family were Presbyterian. But there being no such church in Waupun, they became Congregationalists. He was a deacon in that church for many years. He was also a very religious man and high Christian standards ruled his life. After he was paralyzed, at twilight, he would sit in his wheelchair near a window and softly sing or hum the old hymns. His favorite was "How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours When Jesus No Longer I See". One of the outstanding things Ruth remembers were morning and evening devotions at his house. His prayers were very lengthy. When she was there in the morning, she would be on pins and needles lest he not conclude his prayers for me to get to school on time. The children always knelt for prayers and at night invariably Ruth went to sleep on her knees. It was a Chinese puzzle how to get her upstairs to bed.

    Here's another picture of Benjamin, taken later in his life (extracted from a family photo):

    Contemporary Events (mostly from BN HT, CHME):
    - for earlier events see Jas1
    - 19C optimism via 100yr peace (1815-1914), industrial progress (trans, farm, med)
    - 1801 Cane Ridge, KY revival w/(Presb) Rev Barton W Stone fuels 2nd Grt Awakening 1780-1830
    - 1803 LA Purchase i.e. US buys it from France, OH becomes 17th state
    - 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition to Nov 1805; Kant dies (b1724 80yo)
    - 1805 J C F von Schiller dies (b1759 46yo) German romantic poet
    - 1806 Napoleon dissolves HRE; J S Mill born (d1873 67yo)
    - 1807 Slave trade abolished in British Empire (Wm Wilberforce)
    - 1808-16 President #4 James Madison (DR) 5' 100# father of US Constitution
    - 1811 Luddite riots in England, K Geo III declared insane, Geo IV t/o as regent (K 1820-30)
    - 1812-4 War of 1812 US v. Britain over shipping, territory disputes, 1812 Napoleon invades Russia w/Grand Army (bad move, only 100k of 600k survive)
    - 1813 Soren Kierkegaard born (d1855 42yo) existentialist philosopher
    - 1815 Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, Congress of Vienna settles post-war Europe (Metternich, Castlereagh, Tallyrand)
    - 1816-24 President #5 James Monroe (DR) purchased FL from Spain in 1819, 'Monroe' Doctrine 1823, Francis Asbury dies 1816 (b1745 71yo) Methodist circuit-rider
    - 1818 Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle; France joins 4 Grt Pwrs [UK, AHE, Prussia, Russia] in 'Quintuple Alliance', US-Canada border fixed at 49th parallel; Karl Marx born (d1883 65yo)
    - 1819 CJ3 John Marshall: 'The power to tax involves the power to destroy', Simon Bolivar secures indep of 'Greater Columbia', Singapore fnd'd by Brit admin. Sir Stamford Raffles
    - 1820 Missouri Compromise, several new states; Fanny Crosby born (d1915 95yo), blind, wrote > 9k hymns, incl. 'Blessed Assurance', 'To God Be the Glory' ...
    - 1824 George MacDonald born (d1905 81yo), imaginative writer beloved by C S Lewis
    - 1824-8 President #6 John Quincy Adams (DR) son of #2, Lord Byron 1788-1824 36yo
    - 1827 Beethoven d. at Vienna (deaf, b1770 57yo)
    - 1828-36 President #7 Andrew Jackson (D) populist, 1st pres. to ride a RR, famous 'Battle of New Orleans' ldr in War of 1812
    - 1830 1rst passenger steam RRs open, Mormonism fnd'd (1 of 4mc), Tocqueville visited America in the 1830s
    - 1831 Hegel dies (b1770 61yo) German philosopher, 'dialectic' process of intellectual evolution
    - 1832 [1rst] Reform Act in Britain, extends vote to middle class, Sir Walter Scott dies (b1771 61yo), Goethe dies (b1749 83yo) German romantic poet; Bentham dies (b1748 84yo)
    - 1833 Johannes Brahms b. at Hamburg (d1897 64yo)
    - 1834 William Carey dies (b1761 73yo), English Calvinist Baptist, missions pioneer (led to >1200 missionaries by 1910 Edinburgh conference); Friedrich Schleiermacher dies (b1768 66yo) German romantic and 'father of [modern] theological liberalism' (echoed Kant; reason lmtd to space/time, so religion only about doing, feeling, NOT thinking)
    - 1836-40 President #8 Martin Van Buren (D) 1rst pres. b. a US citizen
    - 1836 Chartist movement in Britain demands vote for ALL adult males, TX wins indep from Mexico after battles at Alamo and San Jacinto
    - 1837 Q Victoria to 1901 64yrs
    - 1839-42 Opium War; Britain v. China
    - 1841 President #9 W H Harrison (W) elected 1840, dies Su 4 Apr 1841 in ofc, VP Tyler t/o
    - 1841-4 President #10 John Tyler (W) nicknamed 'His Accidency', Cyrus I Scofield b1843, Sojourner Truth freed 1843
    - 1844-8 President #11 James Knox Polk (D), acq most land for US since LA purchase, 1845 US pop. 20M; Nietzsche 1844-1900 56yo
    - 1846 Height of Potato Famine in Ireland (1M d. by 1851), Corn Laws repealed, Mexican-American War to 1848
    - 1848 Year of revolutions in Europe, CA gold rush begins, 'Communist Manifesto' published
    - 1848-50 President #12 Zachary Taylor (W), military man, d. in office, CA gold rush 1849
    - 1850 Tai Ping rebellion in China, revolt against Manchu Dynasty (to 1864)
    - 1851 Great Exhibition in London (glass bldg?)
    - 1850-2 President #13 Millard Fillmore (W), ZT's VP, t/o on d., auth. Matthew Perry's trip to Japan, which helped open trade
    - 1852-6 President #14 Franklin Pierce (D), Gadsden Purchase adding NM and part of AZ to USA
    - 1853-6 British missionary David Livingstone crosses Africa, discovers Victoria Falls 1855
    - 1854-6 Crimean War; Britain, France, Turkey v. Russia ('Charge of the Light Brigade'), English nurse Florence Nightingale reforms nursing there
    - 1854-60 Lincoln-Douglas debate years in America
    - 1855 Soren Kierkegaard dies (b1813 42yo) Danish Christian existentialist philosopher
    - 1856-60 President #15 James Buchanan (D), only pres. never m.
    - 1857-8 Indian Mutiny, (brutally) put down by Britain, cntl passes from BEIC to Brit govt, 1857 US stock mkt crash, 3rd Grt Awakening starts in Canada, spreads to England, NE America (ldr Phoebe Palmer)
    - 1860 S Carolina secedes, sparks Civil War to 1865; Hudson and Maria Taylor fnd China Inland Mission (CIM), opened doors for later women Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael
    - 1862 Henry David Thoreau dies (b1817 45yo) literary individualist, transcendentalist
    - 1863 Battle of Gettysburg (Lincoln's famous 'Gettysburg Address' 19 Nov), 7th-Day Adventism 1rst conference (2 of 4mc)
    - 1860-5 President #16 Abe Lincoln (R), ass. 15 Apr (shot 5 days after war ends)
    - 1861 Unification of Italy (ldr Giuseppe Garibaldi), US Civil War begins (to 1865), Social Gospeler Walter Rauschenbusch born (d1918 57yo)
    - 1862 Bismarck PM of Prussia (to 1890, dismissed)
    - 1865-8 President #17 Andrew Johnson (D), Abe's VP t/o, finishes term, 1rst pres. impeached by House, but acquitted by 1 vote in Senate
    - 1865-90 Cowboy era in American West 25yrs
    - 1866 Austria-Prussia War, latter wins
    - 1867 US purchases Alaska from Russia (SoS Seward), Dominion of Canada formed, 2nd Reform Act passed in Britain (extends suffrage)
    - 1868 Meiji Period in Japan (to 1912)
    - 1868-76 President #18 U S Grant (R), frmr General, Mark Twain helped him finish autobio
    - 1869 Suez Canal opened, 1rst Vatican Council (Pius IX) declares Immac Concep, papal infallibility
    - 1870 Charles Dickens dies (b1812 58yo) 'A Christmas Carol' 1842
    - 1870-1 Franco-Prussian War, latter wins, German Empire formed, [Kaiser] Wm I Emp., Paris Commune opposes natl govt and peace terms, later crushed by troops
    - 1872 Triple Alliance formed (to 1914); Germany, Austria, Italy
    - 1873 John Stuart Mill dies (b1806 67yo) greatest 19C British philosopher
    - 1874 1rst Impressionist exhibition held in Paris; G K Chesteron born (d1936 62yo RCC)
    - 1875 Charles G Finney dies (b1792 83yo) ldr of 2nd Grt Awakening 'reason-cntr'd optimism' (modernist, pressure tactics, 'entire sanctification')
    - 1876 Little Big Horn, [Gen. George] 'Custer's Last Stand'
    - 1876-80 President #19 R B Hayes (R), alleged 'stolen' election
    - 1879 Christian Science incorp. (3 of 4mc)
    - 1880-1 President #20 James Garfield (R), ass. 19 Sep, wrote Greek/Latin same time, Boer War
    - 1881-4 President #21 Chester Arthur (R), VP finished term, honest and efficient
    - 1882 John Nelson Darby dies (b1800 82yo) PB ldr, taught dispensationalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson dies (b1803 79yo)
    - 1883 Germany introduces sickness insurance (progressives admire Bismarck); Karl Marx dies (b1818 65yo); 4 Jul 'Buffalo Bill' Cody's 1st 'Western' show at N Platte, NE
    - 1884 3rd Reform Act passed in Britain, Jehovah's Witnesses 1rst incorp. (4 of 4mc)
    - 1884-8 President #22 (and #24) Grover Cleveland (D), Statue of Liberty unveiled 28 Oct 1886
    - 1886 Charles Williams born (d1945 59yo) Inklings author
    - 1887 peak of RR-bldg @ 13k miles (avg 5k/yr 1870-1913, Nathan Lewis in 28 Oct 2013 Forbes)
    - 1887-9 Italy invades Ethiopia
    - 1888-92 President #23 Benjamin Harrison (R), gson of #9 Wm H H (W) p1841, 6 new states: ND, SD, MT, ID, WY, WA
    - 1888 [Kaiser] Wm II of Germany (to 1914)
    - 1892-6 President #24 (and #22) Grover Cleveland again, C H Spurgeon 1834-92 58yo pastor of New Park Baptist Church in London; J R R Tolkien 1892-1973 81yo, RCC Inklings author
    - 1893 Labor Party fnd'd in Britain by socialist Keir Hardie [uh oh]
    - 1894 Alfred Dreyfus affair in France, Tsar Nicholas II (to 1917)
    - 1895 Conservative Christians publish 'The Fundamentals' (1 Jesus divine, 2 b. of virgin, 3 d. as sacrifice, 4 [bodily arose and] will return, 5 inerrancy), Rhodesia fnd'd by Cecil Rhodes
    - 1896 Wm McKinley (R) elected 25th president (to 1900)
    - Fr 3 Apr 1897 Johannes Brahms d. at Vienna (b1833 64yo)
    - 1898 Spanish American War over Cuba under President Wm McKinley, US annexes Hawaii, gets Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico from Spain; Battle of Omdurman, Brits defeat Sudan rebels; C S Lewis born (d1963 65yo) Inklings author (Milton Bowman b.)
    - 1899 1rst Hague Peace Conference, Boer War to 1902, D L Moody dies (b1837 62yo) pietism v. modernism
    - 1900 TR (R) elected 26th president (to 1908), Boxer Rebellion in China, Germany begins Naval arms race w/Britain, Nietzsche dies (b1844 56yo) nihilistic philsopher
    - 1901 King Edward VII of Britain to 1910 9yrs, terrorism w/in Russia, Russia invades Manchuria, Boxer Rebellion in China
    - 1902 Anglo-Japanese alliance formed
    - 1903 split of moderate Mensheviks and extreme Bolsheviks in Russia
    - 1904-5 Russia and Japan at war (Japan wins), Entente cordiale between Britain and France
    - 1906 British Labor party formed (mainly from Liberal Party malcontents), 1rst modern battleship launched in Britain, SF CA earthquake, liberal rev in Persia (Iran), Azusa St Revival (LA CA, i.e. 'Holiness' movement)
    - 1907 Entente cordiale between Britain and Russia, so now 'Triple Entente' v. 'Triple Alliance' of Germany, AHE and Italy
    - 1908 Wm H Taft (R) elected 27th president (to 1912), Belgium t/o Congo, Austria annexes Bos-Herz, Rev in Turkey by 'Young Turks', Russian-supported counter-rev in Persia (Iran) succeeds
    - 1909 Old-age pensions introduced in Britain, Henry Ford pioneers ass'y line, Robt Peary reaches N Pole
    - for later events see Clifford

    Note: 'The 7 Men Who Rule the World from the Grave' are 1 Darwin, 2 Marx, 3 Julius Wellhausen ('higher criticism'), [Einstein, thru no fault of his own,] 4 Freud, 5 John Dewey, 6 John Maynard Keynes and 7 Soren Kierkegaard (cf br-7mrwg).

    The leading figures of the 2nd Great Awakening were Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) in the Northeast, Charles G Finney (1792-1875) in New York, and Francis Asbury (1745-1816) in the mid-Atlantic and Southern states (cf Joel Rosenberg's book 'Implosion').

    Michael Knox Beran's 2007 bk Forge of Empires 1861-71: 3 Revolutionary Statesmen and the World They Made i.e. Lincoln (freed a subjugated race and transformed the American Republic), Bismarck (overthrew the petty Teutonic princes, defeated the House of Austria and last of the imperial Napoleons, and united the German nation) and Tsar Alexander II (broke the chains of the serfs and brought the rule of law to Russia).

    The British Empire remained the leading Great Power of the world during the 19C. By the early 1800s the powerful European nations had built vast colonial empires. Britain, France, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain ruled nearly 1/3 of Asia, controlling trade between Asia and the West. Manchu China remained mostly closed until Britain forced it open in the Opium War 1839-42 (leading to later rebellions and revolution in a xenophobic China). Ottoman decline continued (see ToN).

    The Brothers Grimm (Jacob & Wilhelm) began to collect 'Maerchen' (short, popular tales w/magical elements) in 1806, the year Prussia was defeated by Napoleon and Hegel completed his bk The Phenomenology of Spirit. The disparate German territories suffered under French occupation, contributing to a gradual emergence of a natl awareness, amplified by the Romantic movement among writers and intellectuals. A leading poet, Clemens von Brentano, encouraged the Grimms to collect these tales, believing w/them that only in folk culture can genuine culture and authentic traditions reside. Their 1st volume was pub'd in 1812, the year the tide began to turn against Napoleon, and the 2nd in 1814 (postdated 1815), the year of his defeat (FT Dec 2015).

    - Dear Folks
    - BN HT = History's Timeline, Barnes & Noble, 1981, own.
    - CHME = Christian History Made Easy, Dr Timothy Paul Jones, Rose, 2005, own.