FLETCHER, BENJAMIN F., a retired farmer of Springfield, Ill., is a veteran of the Civil War and belongs to one of the pioneer families of Sangamon County, being of the third generation of Fletchers who have lived there. He was born in Ball Township, Sangamon County, December 13, 1839, and is of Scotch-Irish ancestry through his grandfather, John Fletcher, who was born in Rockbridge County, Va., in 1774, and married Elizabeth McElvaine. He and Francis Brown brought their families to Sangamon County, Ill., in 1830. Mr. Fletcher entered eighty acres of land in what is now Ball Township, but died a few months later, his widow surviving him twenty-eight years and dying in 1858. He had come to the new home in the hope of bettering his financial condition. He and his wife were buried side by side in the West Graveyard.
Job Fletcher, son of John Fletcher, was born in Virginia in 1801, and served as Captain of a military company in Kentucky, where he married Frances Brown, who was of German lineage, and following farming in that State until he came with other members of the family to Sangamon County. He opened up a farm on Panther Creek and was much interested in the progress and improvement of the community until his death, in 1884. Hi wife died in 1882, in her eightieth year. He had divided 320 acres of land among his children and was known as one of the successful and practical farmers of the neighborhood. He was a man of large frame, six feet in height, but thin and wiry, and was well able to cope with pioneer conditions, making a good home for his wife and children. There were eight children in the family: Elizabeth, who died after her marriage; William and Frances, who died in childhood; John S., died at the age of twenty-three years; Preston lives in Montgomery County, Ill.; Paulina, widow of Francis E. Dodds, of Springfield; Benjamin F.; Virginia, wife of C. G. Brown, of Divernon, Ill. All were born upon the home farm adjoining that of R. H. Easley, except Elizabeth, and all attended the early subscription schools of their neighborhood, remaining at home until their marriages except those who died young. The father of this family was a large landholder and became highly respected by all who knew him. He was a public-spirited and useful citizen and in religious faith, was a Presbyterian, contributing generously to the support of the church and assisting in organizing Pleasant Grove church in an early day, and later helped organize one at Divernon, where two of his daughters were then residing. His interest was deeply centered in his family and he put forth every effort to provide for the future of his children and for their comfort while they lived under his roof.
Benjamin F. Fletcher attended the subscription schools and later the public schools, and grew to manhood on the home farm. On August, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, One Hundred Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and took part in the Battle of Jackson, Miss.; the Siege of Vicksburg and Guntown, and at the latter place was captured and held prisoner form June, 1864, until April 28, 1865, spending some time in Andersonville Prison. After the fall of Atlanta he was transferred to Millen, but later was returned to Andersonville, where he remained until about the close of the war. He had been wounded in the head at Vicksburg, but his injury was without serious results. In May, 1865, at Camp Butler, Ill., he was honorably discharged from service.
At the close of the war Mr. Fletcher returned home and in 1867 was married to Miss Mary Drennan, who was born in Ball Township, in 1847, and they became parents of four children, all born on the old home farm in Ball Township. One died in infancy and the others are: Cyrus O., on the home farm; Myra F., wife of Dr. J. T. Woodward; Dr. F. D., a graduate of Rush Medical College, now practicing his profession at Chatham, Ill. Mrs. Woodward graduated from Lincoln University and Cyrus took a three year course at that institution.
Upon the death of his father, Benjamin F. Fletcher took charge of the ole home place and received as his share of the estate 200 acres of land. He purchased the interest of his brother and sister, and has added to his original holdings from time to time, so that he now owns 500 acres of well improved land. He made many improvements on the farm and made his home there until November 1901, when he purchased a handsome residence at 326 West Jackson Street, Springfield. He is a stockholder in the Bank of Auburn, of which he was one of the organizers and for many years Vice President. Her served as a member of the Board of Supervisors form Ball Township and also held various other offices in the township. In politics he has always been a Republican, and though never an office seeker, has done his duty when called upon for public service. He became a member of the Masonic order in 1865, at Auburn, Ill.; became a charter member of Chatham Lodge, and now belongs to Lodge No. 4, Springfield. He also belongs to Stephenson Post No. 30 G.A.R., and to Abraham Lincoln Regiment of Union Veterans. For most of his life he has belonged to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and he and his wife have been active in church and Sunday School work. He has always tried to do all he could to help in the uplifting of his fellow men, and by example of a noble life has given help and inspiration to many. He has won the confidence and esteem of all who have been associated with him, and now, retired from active life, surrounded by comforts and friends is enjoying a well earned rest.