THE BENSON/BENGSTON SIDE:
My mother's grandfather on her mother's side (my great grandfather) was August John Benson. His name originally was Bengston, but it got changed, like so many names in that era, for convenience. He was born in Sweden in January of 1855. His wife was Emma Anderson. She was born in Sweden in October, 1861. It's interesting to think that Abraham Lincoln was the U.S. president at that time and we were in the midst of our civil war.
Click here to see the hand written page from the census taker of 1900 who listed the entire Benson family in their home at 2300 Hoyne Ave. in Chicago. You can see all the children and their ages.
Ida Elfrida Benson, my grandmother, was born May 16, 1887. According to the birth certificate, she was the third child born to the parents, of which only two were living at the time. August, the oldest, was born in 1884. After that, Herbert-1888, Harry-1891, Walter-1893, and the youngest, and closest to Ida all her life, Esther-1896.
Of all the siblings, I knew Esther the best, spending many holidays and visits with her. I also met Herbert (Uncle Herb) several times. He was a contractor from Michigan and was married to a lady named Corrine. Corrine had an elderly mother who lived with them and a brother who was a priest in the Catholic Church. They were fairly well-to-do, but nobody liked Corrine very much. I remember that she didn't smile hardly at all. They didn't have any kids.
Nobody had any kids my age. Since we lived around Chicago, these were the relatives I knew. No kids. Every event, holiday, visit meant only old folks. Of course, to me, everybody over 18 was old. Everybody would eat and then fall asleep in their chairs. Except my Dad.
Anyway, I never met any other sisters or brothers of Gram and Gramp Lovig except for Esther and Herb. One other note about Esther. She married rather late in life to a man named Charles Adams. Kind of a cantankerous guy who, I was told, had a brother who was a counterfeiter. He died in the late 1940's. Esther had a black cat, Inky, liked to watch Liberace on TV, read the scandalous magazine Confidential, and was very hard of hearing. She died in 1957.
Now to go back in time. Arthur Lovig and Ida Benson were married June 24, 1905. In 1902 they celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter, Alice Elizabeth. Later in the decade (1907? 1909?) their second born, my mother arrived on June 9. And, in 1916, Arthur Jr. was born.
Mom grew up with a horrible inferiority complex. Adults were so brutal to say things like, "How come you're not as pretty as your sister." She was told she was cross eyed, which she wasn't, but she believed it all of her life. Then her little brother came along and all the focus was on him, especially by her Dad.
In the late 20's she married a man named John Prochaska. He was a drinker and it didn't last long. Again, Mom kept this marriage a secret from me. I found out by accident when I was in my 20's. Secrets, lots of secrets. That's why it is so hard to write the complete family story.
My aunt Alice married a man named Roy Muchmore and had two children, Roy Arthur, born in 1929, and Jay, born in 1931. She died of tuberculosis in a sanitorium in 1938. Roy died in the 1987 after being ill from a stroke for years. Uncle Art also passed in the 1970's. You could basically say that he drank himself to death. Aunt Leona moved back to Las Cruces, NM, her home town, and died in the late '80's. She was a heavy smoker and finally succumbed to emphysema.