This contest had but little effect upon Benton, as the township furnished but few recruits. The excitement hardly reached these quiet haunts of the paleface and the roving Indians. The county together furnished a number who went to the southern fields of carnage. Some returned, while a few sleep their last sleep on Mexican soil, and their memory forgotten save by those left desolate by their loss. The star of empire had gone a few miles south, and manifest destiny taken a few steps forward, but blood marked the pathway, and a nation mourns for her lost sons. Was it worth the sacrifice?
The gold fever raged pretty severely in Daviess county generally and Benton township seems to have had its share. Quite a number of the people left for the golden shore and dug and delved in that far off land to place their families and themselves beyond the reach of want. Some of the best citizens were allured to the El Dorado of the Pacific coast, some to gain wealth and return, others to stop and make their home among its fertile fields, and others to pass the “dark river ” to the eternal home beyond. For several months the excitement was intense, every report from the land of gold was eagerly sought for and eagerly read. Property was sacrificed in many instances to get the “wherewith ” to accomplish the long and dreary journey to the land of the setting sun. Some even fell by the way, but nearly all got through safely, yet all did not realize a fortune.
Years had passed and those who had gone began to return, and withal Benton seemed to grow and prosper. No emigration to other lands seemed to check her prosperity, for if one left two cane to take his place. Farms were being improved and others opened by new settlers, schools flourished and churches grew apace. Cabins arose in shady groves and a clearing soon after appeared and this continued until the blight of civil war took possession of the land. Then, for awhile, progress ceased. The passions of men became inflamed. Some nobly joined the army showing their manhood and their courage upon the field of strife, while others proclaimed aloud their loyalty, and in darkness committed deeds of crime so damaging as to make hearts tremble for the salvation of man.
Back to: Daviess County