Wesley Benjamin became a resident of Yarker sometime
after the taking of the 1851 CENSUS [January 1852].
The KINGSTON DIRECTORY & the DOMINION DIRECTORY FOR
1857-58 (the latter published in November 1857) shows Wesley Benjamin as
having saw & lath mills, a planing machine and a hub factory in Simcoe
Falls. Yarker land records show that Wes bought the ruins of the
saw-mill at Woodmucket from George Miller in 1858. The mill, which burnt
down about 1857 (or in the year earlier) was rebuilt by Wesley.
In 1863, Wesley Benjamin and Joseph Connoly Sr. bought
the ruins of the Woodmucket tannery, rebuilding it as a hub and spoke
factory, and operating it under the name "Connoly & Benjamin. "
[Herrington, 1913]. This was not the last of the Benjamin and Connolly
joint ventures in Yarker. Subsequent partnerships were both business
and marital. By 1895, Wes incorporated several of his then businesses
under the firm name Benjamin Manufacturing Co. Ltd. [Yarker village
histories, plus Walter Herrington's HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF LENNOX AND
ADDINGTON, provide additional information on the activities of Wes
Benjamin and his sons.]
The 1861 census of Yarker Village shows Elijah W. &
Mary Benjamin owning a frame house on a two acre lot. In 1866 Wes
purchased from Sidney Warner and wife a 3/4 acre lot in Yarker [CL 1/40
eastern half]. A stone house later owned by Wes is located on the
main street in Yarker, north of river. It has yet to be determined
when this latter house was erected and if it was Wes who had it built.
The 1901 census of Yarker shows Wes living with the
family of his 'adopted' daughter, Katie & John Oldham. Following
Wes' death, the house was inherited by Katie (Benjamin) Oldham.
Subsequent to her death it was inherited by her husband Dr. Oldham; and
after the doctor's death by his second wife, Hermine (Connoly) Oldham. The
stone house was sold to others outside of the family following Hermine's
death in 1957.
Wes, along with James G. Heydon of Newburgh, purchased
from Wilson Brawley, property on Sydenham Lake [Loughborough Twp CL 6/8
(part)] in the year 1901. Wes had first rented adjacent land a year
or so earlier from Mary Maria Slack, annual rent $12.00 for a period of
ten years for the purpose of "quiet enjoyment."
Wes was a Methodist; his name appears on the Wilton
Membership list of the Methodist Episcopal Church for 1859-1886. In
addition Yarker Class lists for various years include the names of E. W.
Benjamin (1881, dropped for not attending class), Saphrona Benjamin [nee
Connoly] and Albert Benjamin (1876, dropped for non-attendance). In
1899, following Saphrona's death, Wes had a window installed in Yarker's
Riverside Methodist Church in her memory. [Milroy, WALK WITH ME, A HISTORY
OF RIVERSIDE UNITED CHURCH... continues, "The old frame church on the hill
was struck by lightening in 1938." All that was saved "only the organ and
a table." ]
"E.W. Benjamin died at his summer home at Sydenham on
Monday August 8, 1910 aged 74 years, 11 months, 28 days." [NAPANEE BEAVER,
17 August 1910]. His Will, dated: 8 Nov 1909, was proved: 24 Oct 1910.
[abstracted copy on file]
According to genealogist
Wilman Davis, Wes shares a gravestone with Albert Benjamin, Cora Moles,
Emma Clara Joice, and four members of the Oldham family.