“Push Forward” was the Benjamin family motto for generations before Daniel was born around 1770, and he embodied this in his life, always pushing forward to find a better place for his family.
When very young, his family moved from New York to southeastern Pennsylvania. About 1777 their settlement was attacked by Indians. In the ensuing battle his father was scalped and killed, his maternal grandparents and aunt were burned alive in their cabin, and Daniel was taken captive along with his mother and other siblings and relatives. It was seven years before most were freed.
Most of the family gradually migrated to the newly opened lands of Ohio. Daniel and his wife Martha settled on the Scioto River near what is now Columbus. His mother and other relatives settled a little to the east.
When war was proclaimed in the summer of 1812, the United States did not have a large standing army, so Ohio militiamen were gathered and sent under General Hull to try to retake Detroit from the British. When they arrived there, Hull refused to let them fire on the British and surrendered on August 16.
At this time Daniel Benjamin was already 40-46 years old but when he and others heard what had happened to the Ohio Militia, “men of every class and condition of life” enlisted. His company worked on building roads so guns and provisions could be moved to the Detroit area. They had wanted to take advantage of hard ice on the rivers in the winter, but that year there was little or no ice. Thus, General William Henry Harrison, the new commander and later the shortest serving President of our country, encamped for the winter near Toledo, and our Daniel probably went home.
In the spring of 1813 we believe Daniel enlisted again, this time for a year. Harrison retook Detroit and pursued the British up into Canada. In the spring and summer of 1814 all of the members of his company were discharged and returned home.
By 1820 Daniel and his family had moved to the border between Indiana and Illinois. His older children were now marrying, and soon the group spread north to Warren County, Indiana. In 1827 his name is on the roll of those helping form the county.
In 1834, Daniel, four sons, two daughters, and other family members “pushed forward” to what is now the township of Wayne here in DuPage County. Daniel and Martha lived in Wayne until their deaths in January of 1863 when they were buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
They lived to see their family flourish here, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren carrying on the family tradition of pushing forward, some all the way to the west coast. Their name is carried on in the Benjamin School District 25, formed on land donated by son Robert. In addition, two granddaughters married into the Kline family and we can visit their former farm, Kline Creek Farm, now part of the DuPage Forest Preserve District.