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Bristow, Benjamin F.

Born: 1815-11-14 Kentucky

Died: 1888-06-07 Kentucky

Born in Clark County, Kentucky to a Baptist minister, Benjamin F. Bristow was a Methodist Episcopal minister, circuit court clerk, state representative, railroad investor, and merchant. He married Martha Ellen Lucas in September 1835. The couple had eight children together. Although little is known about his early life and work, in March of 1842 he filed a petition for bankruptcy in Morgan County, Illinois. By 1850, however, he was working as a merchant in Morgan County and doing well enough that he owned $1,000 in real estate. That same year, he ran a successful campaign for election to the Illinois General Assembly as a Whig, and served in that body's Seventeenth House of Representatives from 1850 to 1852. In 1857, he was also a founding member of the Jacksonville and Beardstown Railroad Company. He introduced Stephen Douglas to the crowds gathered in Jacksonville, Illinois on September 6, 1858, for the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Bristow returned to Kentucky in 1864 and lived and preached there until his death.

J. H. Young, 1888 Minutes of the Sixty-Eighth Session of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Frankfort, KY: Capital Printing, 1888), 51-52; Lineage Book National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 103 (1913): 38; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 11 March 1842, 3:7; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 8 November 1850, 2:4; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Morgan County, IL, 279; Louis L. Emmerson, ed. Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1919-1920 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1919), 537-38; "An Act to Incorporate the Jacksonville and Beardstown Railroad Company," 18 February 1857, Private Laws of Illinois (1857), 1261; Harry E. Pratt, The Great Debates (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1955), 17.