Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Stories: Benonia Ausbury and Elizabeth (Osenbaugh) Humphrey Family

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Several weeks ago, I posted the first story of the Humphrey family transcribed from the Sutherland Centennial History Book, then didn't return to the family history. Today's post is the second installment of the Humphrey family history. 

Benonia “Ben” Ausbury Humphrey, the son of James D. and Mary E. Humphrey, was born on February 18, 1846 at Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio, one of 11 children. At the age of 21 years, he moved from Ohio to Mount Pulaski, Illinois.

Elizabeth Osenbaugh, the third child of John and Martha (Whitney) Osenbaugh, was born on a farm near Hartford City, Blackford County, Indiana, on March 7, 1855. She was five when the family made its brief move to Henry County, Missouri, to help “make it free from slavery”. Her father moved the family to Macon County, Illinois, where Elizabeth grew up.

Ben and Elizabeth were married on March 8, 1874, at Maroa, Macon County, Illinois. They farmed near Weldon in Dewitt County, Illinois, where their first son, James Fernando Humphrey was born on April 22, 1875. They returned to Maroa, Illinois, where their son, William Ransalaer (Rance) was born on January 27, 1877. The third and last child, Charles Elmer, known as Elmer, was born on February 3, 1882.

The family moved to a farm south of Paxton, Nebraska, in 1893. Most homes in the early years were made of sod, however, Ben shipped the lumber and windows by rail from Illinois, for a home made of lumber.

The youngest son, Charles Elmer, passed away on November 14, 1900, at the home, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Sutherland.

Because of Elizabeth’s failing health, the couple moved into Sutherland and built a home that is still in existence in the north part of town. In later years they lived with their son, Rance, and his family.
Elizabeth died at home in Sutherland, on July 5, 1918, and Ben passed away in Sutherland, March 11, 1922. Both are buried in Riverview Cemetery.


They were among the earliest settlers, their “homestead” one of the first. The two surviving sons, both moved to Sutherland and raised their families. Ben’s two brothers, James Wesley and Joseph H. Humphrey, were some of the early settlers.

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