Benton Dudley Alloway (1852 - 1918)

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Birthplace: Mount Ayr, Ringgold, Iowa, United States
Death: Died in Madison, Madison, Nebraska, United States
Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About Benton Dudley Alloway

He was a farmer. He appears to have been named for his uncle George Dudley Goodwin. A biographical article on Ben Alloway in Missouri River Reveille calls him Benton Douglas Alloway, and says that he had three brothers, who became ministers, and three sisters. It also says that his oldest brother, 25 years Benton's senior, fought in the Civil War. Ben Alloway was apparently too young to serve in the war.

After their marriage in 1872, Ben and Mary Alloway lived in Ringold County, Iowa. In 1880 they were living at Kellerton, Mt. Ayr Township. The census calls him Ben Always. His brothers James and John were living in Colorado in 1880.

In 1884 they moved with their three sons to Charles Mix County, South Dakota and lived there for 9 years. He appears on the 1885 territorial census there. The census says he was born in Missouri. On 4 August 1888 he bought 160 acres from the federal government in Charles Mix County (in the Northwest 1/4 of Section 28, Township 99 North, Range 67 West, 5th P. M.). B. D. and Mary Alloway were members of the Methodist Church at Darlington. (Rev. John G. Palmer, Palmer's Directory of the Methodist Episcopal Church for Dakota Conference (1888), 78).

In 1893 they moved across the frozen Missouri River into Gregory County, walking across the ice with their household goods in a wagon. Little Walter didn't feel safe, so he crawled into the wagon and rode across with the furniture. The family settled in the Burnt Rock area west of Bonesteel. Daughter Bertha remembered in later years that they lived in a dugout and in the spring snakes sometimes came out of the walls. One time, Mary let Ira outside to enjoy the sun. She came out to check on him and found him holding a baby rattler in each fist. She "literally shook the snakes from his hands and rushed her child to safety."

It was a struggle to break the land at Burnt Rock and newly broken ground in the area had a low crop yield. In 1894 they had a bumper crop of wheat, but Indians camped in the fields and let their horses eat and trample the grain. Ben Alloway and his neighbors were helpless. They traveled to the Indian agent to complain, but learned that the western boundary as newly defined that year was only two miles west of Bonesteel and they were farming Indian land. The crop was ruined and the homesteaders had no redress. The Alloways left the Burnt Rock homestead and lived in or near Bonesteel while Ben tried to find work. Their 12th child, David, was born in December 1895 and lived until April.

Shortly afterwards Ben got a job cutting cottonwood trees for posts in Nebraska and the family moved to Union Creek in Stanton County. They appear on the 1900 census there: Benton W. Aloway (48), a farmer, Mary S. (45), Lewis K. (26), Dudley B. (20), William E. (18), John A. (15), Walter J. (14), Bertha F. (12), Iria M. (10), Elsie E. (8), and Roy M. (3).

In 1904 there was an official drawing for homesteads near Bonesteel, South Dakota. Ben and Mary Alloway applied, and so did their son Ernest who had remained in the area when the family moved back to Nebraska, and the Harrison Thomas family, whose daughter Ethel was dating the Alloway's son Walter. The Alloways and Thomases received adjacent homesteads, and Ernest Alloway received one not far distant. Benton's tract was 160 acres in Gregory County (the West 1/2 of the Northeast 1/4, Section 28, Township 96 North Range 69 West and the East 1/2 of the Northeast 1/4, Section 29 Township 96 North Range 69 West, 5th P. M.), patented 23 March 1908.

Mary Alloway died in 1908, and Ben remarried. He and his new wife lived on the Bonesteel homestead for a time, then moved to Madison, Nebraska, where he died of ear cancer. He was buried at Bonesteel.

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Benton Dudley Alloway's Timeline

1852
July 22, 1852
Mount Ayr, Ringgold, Iowa, United States
1872
October 1, 1872
Age 20
Grant, Taylor Co, Iowa
1873
November 8, 1873
Age 21
Ringgold, IA, USA
1875
June 21, 1875
Age 22
Ringgold, IA, USA
1877
February 17, 1877
Age 24
Ringgold, IA, USA
1878
March 19, 1878
Age 25
Ringgold, IA, USA
1879
December 29, 1879
Age 27
Ringgold, IA, USA
1882
March 15, 1882
Age 29
Ringgold, IA, USA
1884
July 27, 1884
Age 32
Charles Mix, SD, USA
1886
May 22, 1886
Age 33
Charles Mix, SD, USA