So the Lord isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. This means that everyone is alive as far as God is concerned. Jesus, Luke 20:38 CEV

Thursday, March 7, 2024


Today is the 139th birthday of my great-grandmother, Ina Belle Benton. 

Ina Belle Benton
8 March 1885 - 27 November 1972

"Grandma Brown" was among the sweetest, funniest, and most loving people I've ever known. She grew up picking cotton in northeast Texas and married a Tennessee General Baptist preacher/blacksmith/railroad fireman. This pastor's wife raised my father's mother and her two sisters in harsh conditions and less-than-bare-necessity homes in early 20th-century Sumner County, Tennessee, near Westmoreland, and Hopkins County, Texas, around Cumby. In her elder years, she lived in a cottage beside my grandparents for most of the twenty years I was in her life. The poverty of her youth resulted in painful life-long health conditions, yet I never remember her complaining about anything (in the sense that she seemed to navigate all her challenges with grace and dignity), and I have no recollection of a missing smile on her kind face. 

I remember sitting with her on Sunday evenings to watch Ed Sullivan shows on a black and white TV that had a pink case. Each time she would complain about how scantly dressed the dancers were, I would reach out and offer to change the channel for her. She would smack me gently with her cane, and then we would share a big laugh at the teasing that had become a hallmark of our relationship. One time, as our family gathered around my grandparents' dining room table (that now blesses our home) and took each other's hands to say grace, I asked her if her hands were clean. She immediately responded, "They were 'til you touched them." I recall multiple occasions whenever alcohol was discussed, and she would remark with a twinkle in her eyes that she never used whiskey except for medicinal purposes, which always brought chuckles from everyone except for the mild frowns from my mother and her strict teetotaler side of the family.

Ina Belle Benton and Harris Brown Brown were married on 25 November 1906 in Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas. Their three children were Ina Vastie Brown, Linda Mae Brown, and my grandmother, Thelma Irene Brown. Late in life, her second husband was Edward David Gray. Grandma Brown died on 27 November 1972 and was buried in Sherron Cemetery, Oak Grove, Sumner County, Tennessee.

Benton Surname Lineage

Humphry Benton 1520-1583, father of  Edward Benton 1539-1605, father of  Andrew Benton 1565-1623, father of  Edward Benton 1600-1680, father of Andrew Benton 1639-1714, father of  James Benton 1665-1733, father of  Joseph Benton Sr 1703-1752, father of  Joseph Benton Jr 1725-1807, father of  Nathan Benton 1764-1826, father of  Eugenius N Benton 1814-1864, father of  Charles Eugenius Benton 1853-1924, father of  Ina Belle Benton 1885-1972, mother of  Thelma Irene Brown 1912-1991, mother of William Harris Lawson Sr 1931-2020, father of the author.

Benton Migration

England > Connecticut > Maryland > Georgia > Texas > Tennessee > Indiana

My 12th great-grandfather, Humphry Benton, was born in Epping, Essex, England, and the next four generations were born there. My 9th great-grandfather, Edward, immigrated along with his son Andrew to the United States, settling in Connecticut, where the next few generations lived. My 5th great-grandfather, Joseph Benton Jr., was born in his mother's birth state of Maryland. as was his son Nathan who moved to Georgia. His son, Eugenius N. Benton, settled in Harris County, Georgia. His son Charles Eugenius moved to Texas, where his daughter/my great-grandmother Ina Belle was born. In Hopkins County, Texas, she married Harris Brown, who was from Sumner County, Tennessee, where they returned and my grandmother, Thelma Irene Brown, was born. My grandmother moved to Indianapolis where she met and married my grandfather, and her mother joined them late in life and lived in a cottage beside their house.


  • Essex County | Epping
United States of America
  • Connecticut
    • New Haven County | Guilford
  • Georgia
    • Harris County | Hamilton | Westerville
  • Indiana
    • Clinton County | Frankfort
    • Marion County | Indianapolis
  • Maryland
    • Columbia County
    • Frederick County
    • Montgomery County | Hyattsville
    • Prince George's County
  • Tennessee
    • Sumner County | Portland | Westmoreland
  • Texas
    • Grayson County | Denison
    • Hopkins County | Cumby
    • Morris County | Dangerfield

Family Photo. "Ina Belle Benton," ca. 1965. 


Ancestry ®. "Public Member Trees Database.” © 1997-2023 Ancestry®.   Ancestry  User profile for William Harris Lawson, Jr., user Livingweb. 03 March 2024.

Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed March 4, 2024), memorial page for Ina Belle Benton Brown (8 Mar 1885–12 Nov 1972), Find a Grave Memorial ID 139651956, citing Sherron Cemetery, Oak Grove, Sumner County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by Keith Spears (contributor 48591231).


The original date of this post: 8 March 2024, the 139th birthday of Ina Belle Benton.
Last updated: 27 March 2024.

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