Benjamin F. Boggs

Benjamin F. Boggs

Submitted by Robert Kingrey

Source: Edited by Joseph O. Cunningham

Benjamin F. Boggs was born in Lawrence County, Ohio. His father’s families were residents of southern Ohio. His ancestors on his mother’s side were of Scottish origin, and came to America during the Colonial period, settling in Pendleton County, VA. His great-grandfather, John Nelson, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The grandfather, Benjamin Nelson, removed with the family to Lawrence County, Ohio, and it was here that his daughter, Mahala Nelson, mother of the subject of this sketch, was married to Alexander Boggs.

Having lost his parents at the age of seven years, Mr. Boggs went to live with his uncle Henry Nelson. Although the neighborhood had been settled for some time, the inhabitants were scattering, and educational advantages were exceedingly limited. Young Boggs attended school two or three months each winter from the age of ten ears until he was nineteen, at which time he entered the Academy at Albany, Ohio, remaining there two years. These scanty opportunities were eagerly improved and thoroughly enjoyed by his alert mind.

In the spring of 1853 he accompanied his uncle Henry Nelson to Madison County, Ind. The following autumn he returned to Ohio where, on December 20, 1853, he was married to Mary J. Armstrong, who still survives him. Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Boggs accompanied by his wife, went to Indiana where they lived for one year. They then returned to Ohio where they stayed for 6 years, and, on September 15, 1860, he with his family- at that time consisting of himself, his wife and three children- removed to Douglas County, Ill. Driving overland in a canvas covered wagon, taking twelve days for the trip.

Mr. Boggs continued residence on the farm in Douglas or Champaign Counties until 1899, when he removed to Urbana, where he resided until his death, which occurred February 25th, 1903.

Eleven children were born to Mr. And Mrs. Boggs, nine of whom are still living: Elma, wife of Rev. G.W.  Wilson, of Chicago: Harriet, wife of I.A. Love, a lawyer of Danville, Ill.: Estelle, wife of F. H. Prunk, a hardware dealer of Indianapolis; Frank H. Boggs, a lawyer of Urbana and a junior member of the firm of Cunningham & Boggs of that city; Florence, wife of Dr. Oliver M. Johnston, Professor of Romance Languages in Leland Stanford University, California; Cassandra A. Boggs, teacher in the city schools of Seattle, Washington; F. Stanley Boggs, real-estate and insurance agent of Urbana, Ill.; L. Pearl Boggs, a teacher residing at Urbana, and O.Carter Boggs, real-estate and insurance agent of Urbana, in business with his brother, F. Stanley Boggs of the same place. Mr. Boggs was a strong believer in liberal education and gave to all of his children the advantages offered by our state University, from which four of them were graduates.

In religion Mr. Boggs was, from his early boyhood, a Methodist, always holding the interests of his church of first importance. In politics, first a Whig and then a Republican, yet never a strong partisan, he always took lively interest in the political affairs of his county.

For the greater part of his life, Mr. Boggs was extensively engaged in farming and the feeding of stock, and at the time of his death was the owner of between 500 and 600 acres of fine farming land in Champaign and Douglas Counties, and about 2000 acres of wheat and grazing lands in Harper County, Kansas.

Mr. Boggs was possessed of a strong and pronounced individuality which- although in his intercourse with others was most facile and suave- invariably ruled and finally determined his actions. He was unbending in his integrity, his sense of right and justice being his rule of action. The arguments and persuasions of friends were listened to with respect and deference, but the ultimate action would confirm to his convictions. In public matters, especially those pertaining to his church relations, he was a liberal giver, and the worthy poor had in him a constant friend.