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Morrow, Benton Thomas (1834-1912)


Posted By: Carl Malone (email)
Date: 7/2/2017 at 20:41:58

The Atlantic News Telegraph
Atlantic, Iowa
Wednesday, May 29, 1912
Page 1, Column 1-2



Drove Stage Coach across Plains and In California Also—Last of Stage Drivers in This Vicinity.

The death of B. T. Morrow, which occurred several days ago, and which was told of in the columns of this paper at the time, is of more than passing moment, for it removes probably the last, with one or two exceptions, of the men who drove stage coach thru this territory before the coming of the railroad.

Benton Thomas Morrow was born May 31, 1834, near Bellville, Ohio, being the son of William and Marie Potter Morrow. His father served thru the war of 1812 against the British and came out ranking Major. There are but few persons living today whose fathers fought in that war. Mr. Morrow grew to young manhood near the place of his birth and when about twenty-three years of age, came to Iowa with his mother and brother. They located near Grove City in 1858 and about two years later “Bent.” as he was familiarly know began to drive stage for the Western Stage Co. His route at first was from Hedges Grove, in the southern part of this county, to Tuckers, on the Winterset road, then from Winterset to Spencer’s, now Prole. After having driven stage on that route for about three years, Mr. Morrow drove from Morrison’s, now Anita, to Dalamanutha in Guthrie ounty [county]. In 1864, with his mother and twin brother, Clint, Mr. Morrow crossed the plains with a party of immigrants to California. He spent two years there, during which time he drove stage from Los Angeles to San Pedro. In 1866 he and his brother started home, coming by way of freight train. A man named Taft had a train of five tenbule teams, and the wagons, which held six tons each, were loaded with provisions and wine to be taken to Helena, Mont. Mr. Morrow and his brother, Clint, each drove a team. The trip required four months and was full of varied experiences. From Helena the brothers found it difficult to obtain passage eastward to their home in Iowa. The Indians were very troublesome and the stage that ran from Helena to Fort Benton had no driver. Mr. Morrow volunteered to dive [drive] the stage and so he and his brother accompanied by a few passengers, started out for Fort Benton. Mr. Morrow held the lines and his brother sat on the seat beside him, provided with the water pail filled with small rocks, which he threw at the leaders to urge them forward. Thus after having paid their passage they worked it too. They made good time and spent the night at Run River, a stock station, and arrived at Ft. Benton the next day. Here the company made Mr. Morrow an offer of $150 per month to act as stage driver for them, but he decided not to accept. Boarding a steamboat at Ft. Benton, the Morrows came down the Missouri river to Omaha, then a small city, and then came on home by stage.

Later Mr. Morrow drove stage from Lewis to Grove City to Hamlin’s Grove and from there to the stage farm in Guthrie county. He next led stage stock from the stage farm to King’s in Harrison county and afterward drove on to the end of the Northwestern, now Denison. In 1868-9, he drove from Des Moines to Spencer’s now Prole, and from Des Moines to the end of the Rock Island at Atlantic and thereupon retired from “whip and line service.” Mr. Morrow and his brother, together with George Conrad, Fred Willard and Isaac Cozad formed a quintette of stage drivers who resided in this community for a good many years. But two of them are living now, Clint Morrow in California, and “Ike” Cozad at Lewis, where he has long made his home.

After giving up staging, Mr. Morrow settled here and took up farming. He bought land near here and at one time he and his brother owned one hundred and sixty acres, part of which is now included in the Fair Grounds. Later he bought land elsewhere in Cass county and at one time owned some Audubon county land. He was married Sept. 11, 1871, to Miss Hannah Disbrow, at the home of her parents near Atlantic, Rev. E. S. Hill performing the ceremony. After having lived south of town about eleven years, Mr. Morrow and family moved to California and lived in and near Los Angeles for four years. Returning to Iowa, they lived on a farm near Audubon for about two years. The family then moved onto a farm near Buck Creek church, where they lived for ten years. They then moved to the farm just south of town where they have since resided. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Morrow, Mrs. T. M. Harris and Misses Belle and Ethel.

Mr. Morrow died after a short illness about 10:30 Thursday forenoon, May 23rd, and was buried Saturday following. The funeral services were held at the Congregational church and burial was made in the Atlantic cemetery. The funeral services were largely attended and the funeral sermon delivered by Rev. Spelman was of comfort and of inspiration to those left to mourn the death of a kind husband and a good father. Mr. Morrow’s passing is but another evidence of the onward march of time and should serve as a reminder to us all that Death is inevitable and that it will come in time to each one of us.

NOTE FROM CONTRIBUTOR: Benton Morrow was born May 31, 1834 and died May 23, 1912

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Cass Obituaries maintained by Cheryl Siebrass.
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