The Bennetts and the Dawsons – submitted by Bill Bennett

Ed. note: I hope to have some photos to add to this page soon.

I thank you for asking for more information on the Bennetts of Bennett Hill Road, also known as Townline Road in Banks Township.

My Great Grandfather Henry settled in the northeast corner of section 5 in Central Lake Township, at the location where the Shook’s farm is now.  I don’t have much on Henry other than that he was born in Ireland in 1828 and migrated to Canada, married Mary Ann Fraser in Montreal, moved to Cobourg Ontario until migrating to Northern Michigan settling first in the Charlevoix area for a while, then settling in Banks Township.

Henry and Mary Ann had six children. My grandfather Will was the second oldest. He married Liz Dawson in 1891 and they tended the farm at the top of Bennett Hill until my Grandfather died suddenly at fifty years of age in 1913. My Grandmother sold the farm and moved back to the Dawson Grand View Farm, as it was then called, on Meggison Road at the crest of the hill near the west end (south side of Meggison) where the road curves and turns into Shady Nook Road.

The line of mature maple trees that Henry Dawson planted on the south side of the road are still standing. There was a grand view of Torch Lake and the Bay, then the sight of Northport at the end of the Penninsula (thus the name the Grand View Farm). There was a schoolhouse that was at the far west end of the farm also called the Grand View School.

My dad dearly loved his boyhood stomping grounds. (Will Bennett’s farm where my Dad grew up was in Banks Twp. on the north side of Bennett Hill Road and just at the top of the hill, east from where the Shook’s farm is now.)  He graduated from Central Lake H.S. in the class of 1922, moved to Detroit in 1934, and met my mother there. They were married in 1935. After he worked for 27 years for Fisher Body Division he retired and moved back to the north country, Kewadin. He told me many things about people and places up there through the years until his death in 1984.

If you go to the Southern Cemetery there on M-88 you will find the graves of Henry and Mary Ann Bennett in the older area of headstones (north east corner) next to a rather large marker of the Carey’s. Henry and Mary Ann’s marker is horizontal and on the south side of the Carey’s marker. It would likely be covered with snow now. Then north and slightly east you will find the graves of my Grandfather Will and Lizzie as she was called. They would be on the north side of the little two track road.

I currently live in Georgetown Ohio having moved here going on three years ago to be closer to our daughter and her family who live in a neighboring town called Bethel. We moved here after residing and working in Kalkaska from 1974 to 2005. We had lived in Kewadin for several years prior. Both of our children graduated from the Kalkaska Schools. I put in seventeen years as a engineer operator at the Kalkaska Natural Gas Processing Plant which was owned by the Amoco Production Company based in Houston Texas. I took an early retirement in 1992 from Amoco and worked for a couple other Gas related companies until 2000.

Bill Bennett

10 Responses “The Bennetts and the Dawsons – submitted by Bill Bennett” →

  1. sharon dawson

    January 1, 2009

    Do you know a lester Dawson, he died in 1979, His wife was Ruth Rugio from Ohio, she passed away in the sixties they had one son fFredrick Dawson, i know he had a cherry farm in central lake Michigan.if you can give me any information on these people I would appericate it.

    • Thanks for dropping by, Sharon. I recommend you contact the Central Lake Area Historical Society. Info from the Elk Rapids Area Historical Society website gives this contact info: (231) 544-6488. P.O. Box 404 Central Lake, 49622. The Elk Rapids site also says that the Genealogy Club meets in the High School on the 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm. The contact person is Denise Shooks (231) 544-6340. Lois and Gary Dawson have been very active in the renovation of the historic Knowles House in Central Lake, and are likely to know something about Lester. Mary Lou DeTar, a new Central Lake Township Trustee, also knows a great deal about the history of the Central Lake area. Hope this helps.

    • Sharon I just read your inquiry about Lester Dawson and his son Frederick.
      Lester’s wife’s name was Ruth Ruggles. As to Frederick a neighbor, Connie
      Ruggles, called me three years ago telling me of a call she received on the
      death of Frederick. She was of no relation to him but the only Ruggles listed
      in the phone book in Central Lake. My husband being a cousin to Frederick I
      knew who to call and let Nola Dawson know of his death, and she in turn I
      believe contacted his children of which I believe you are one.

      As to the cherry farm it has been long gone for almost 40 years. Lester had sold it to Alexanders before his death. The Cherry trees have been gone even longer.

  2. Mary Dawson VanderWall

    October 26, 2011

    I am a Dawson, raised in Muskegon but have lived for many years in Colorado. My father, Ford Dale Dawson (known as Dale) spent his childhood in Central Lake before moving to Muskegon when he was a teen. His father was George and mother, Carrie. My father was the youngest of four boys. His oldest brother was Victor and next were twins, Rollie and Ralph. Rollie died in his early 60″s and his widow eventually married Arden Bennet, a cousin of the boys. Rollie’s and Arden’s wife, Viola, was an artist and painted in the East Jordan, Torch Lake, Central Lake area. I recently visited the Torch Lake area. I think my Grandfather had brothers that lived in the area but for some reason there has never been a connection. Does anyone know my family?
    Mary Dawson VanderWall

    • Hi, Mary – I’m so glad you got in touch. There are definitely people who know your family. In fact, there are definitely people who are your family still living in the area. Do get in touch with Denise Shooks of the Central Lake Area Historical Society and the Genealogy Club (231) 544-6340. She’ll be able to help you a lot.

    • Mary – George Dawson was first married to Edith Cary, daughter of Jesse & Reima (Ward) Cary. They thought Edith was pregnant, but she ended up having a tumor. Word was received from Detroit that she had made it through surgery and was doing alright, but she past away that night. We had been searching for what had happened to George for a long time. Joined Ancestry and found that he had moved to Kalkaska and married again and had a family. Edith’s brother William (my great grandfather) was a photographer for a short time in the late 1890’s and I have some pictures of George – contact me at and I will forward them to you. George’s parents are Henry and Mary Jane (McArthur). They had four boys and four girls.
      Denise (Cary) Shooks

    • Denise, I’m just tickled that you got in touch. I’ll email you separately – William was a true artist in my opinion. I’d be very glad to have some photos of George.

  3. Ron Tart

    April 27, 2012

    William Dawson ( late 1800s) is my great grand father on my mothers side, Virginia Davis, graduated 1923 from Central Lake.

    • Thanks for getting in touch, Ron. There sure are a lot of Dawsons Around Here, and most of them seem to have inherited the gift of telling great stories. As near as I can tell, they arrived here in the 1870s and have been paying close attention ever since.

  4. Noah Dawson

    February 19, 2018

    This is great!


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