Sunday, August 4, 2013

Genealogy by the States: The Bentley California Land Rush!

William Tyler Bentley, hubby's 3rd great-grandpa, seemed to be drawn west throughout his life. Born in New York in 1795, he moved his family to what became Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1835. Though they were early settlers, most of the family didn't put down permanent roots in Indiana.

Tulare County, CA
During the 1850s, William and his grown children* (except two of his married daughters, Lucy E. Bentley Larimer and Lucinda H. Bentley Shank) moved to California in search of fertile farm and ranching land. Remember that California only became a state in 1850, and Visalia was the county seat of Tulare in the early days. By 1858, Visalia was being served by the overland stage coach from St. Louis to San Francisco. The Bentleys were part of this exciting time in California history!

The 1867 voters' records of Visalia (Tulare county) list William Tyler Bentley as a farmer. His son Elisha Morgan Bentley (married to Charlotte Raymond) was raising livestock on 320 acres in Visalia (according to the 1870 non-population Census).

William's daughter Elizabeth E. Bentley Light and her husband Emanuel were farmers in Tulare county. Another daughter, Abbie Eliza Bentley Curtis and her blacksmith husband, Leonard Curtis, lived in Santa Cruz, CA.

William's obit from the Visalia Times Delta of April 3, 1873 reads: "Died on South Tule River, March 29, 1873, Wm. T. Bentley, aged 77 yrs, 7 months, father of E.M. Bentley, of this place."

To learn more about the Bentleys' lives in California, I'm sending for the obits of Elisha Morgan Bentley and his wife, Charlotte (see below, right). *According to Lucinda H. Bentley Shank's obit, Wm Tyler Bentley left for California in 1848 and five of his seven children followed to California in 1851.

Special note to "Cousin Elizabeth"--please get in touch again re William A. Bradford.


Genealogy by the States was started by Jim Sanders of Hidden Genealogy Nuggets.

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