Benton County & Benton City Are Named After a Complicated Man
It's kind of annoying living in Benton County because nearly EVERY state has a Benton County. Do you know why? Because a man named Thomas Hart Benton was an American hero and few people today know anything about him.
Thomas Hart Benton helped settle Tennessee and later Missouri. He was the son of a wealthy lawyer, but moved West to make his own career after being kicked out of school for stealing. He became friends with Andrew Jackson and got involved in politics through that association.
Benton became a senator and was the longest-serving senator (30 years) up to that time.
But that's not why every state has a county named after him.
Sen. Benton was a big advocate for Westward migration and settlement (remember "Manifest Destiny" from school).
But that's not all. Being from Missouri, he also courageously fought against slavery, eventually losing the 1851 election for saying slavery should not spread to Western territories, and warning it would tear apart the nation.
So be proud of your Benton County or Benton City roots. Your namesake is a man who stood up for what's right while everyone around him said he was wrong.