Posted by: Beth | June 12, 2012

MRIN-29 Elijah Bennett and Barbara Bible

Elijah Bennett and Barbara Bible

My maternal 4th great grandparents


I have just started to research this family and already I’ve found one of those stand out stories that just sticks with you. Apparently during the Civil War, the Bennett’s, along with many others in that area were sympathizers of the South. Elijah and Barbara’s son, Henry Bennett, served in the Confederate Army under “McNeil’s Rangers”. There was a Militia Group with loose ties to the Union Army that went by the name of “The Swamp Dragons”. The Rangers and Swamp Dragons were enemies. I don’t have all of the details yet, but from I’ve read so far, The Swamp Dragons were looking for blood and raided Elijah and Barbara Bennett’s home, knowing that their son Henry was an enemy to them.

Instead of finding Henry, they found their son George and two other men who were visiting for dinner. The two other men where chased out to the front of the house. One of the men was shot and mortally wounded. The other managed to get away. George, who was not a soldier or militia, nor was he in a uniform, jumped out of the kitchen window and ran. He almost got away, but was caught by a second group of the Swamp Dragons laying in wait. George was shot in the leg and brought back to his parents front yard where he was tortured then killed in front of them. George was only 33 years old, he had 6 children and pregnant wife at home.

Elijah got a large rock and engraved his sons tombstone himself. He wanted to make sure it was known that there was no honor in the killings that took place at his home. These men were murdered and I think he wanted to make sure that no one ever forgot that. It worked, to this day that tombstone is a local legend. People remember the story. I saw a picture of this stone for the first time just the day before this writing this post. You can just see the pain and anger that Elijah felt at the senseless murder of his son.

The inscription reads:



MAY THE 21 1864

AGE 33 + 2 M + 24 D


Elijah Bennett

  • Born: 18 Aug 1795 in Virginia
  • Married: 14 Jan 1818 to Barbara Bible, Pendleton County, Virginia (would later become part of West Virginia)
  • Died: 20 Nov 1871 in Pendleton County, West Virginia
  • Buried: John Warner Cemetery in Pendleton County, West Virginia
  • Age: 76 years old
  • Cause of Death:
  • Parents: Joseph Bennett and Hannah Starnes

Barbara Bible

  • Born: about 1797 in Virginia
  • Married: 14 Jan 1818 to Elijah Bennett in Pendleton County, Virginia (now West Virginia)
  • Died: after 07 Jun 1880. She is last seen in the 1880 census at age 84. That census was taken on June 7th of that year. Barbara is found in the household of Elijah Bennett, age 24, (probably a grandson) and his family.
  • Buried:
  • Cause of Death:
  • Parents: George Bible and Ann Elizabeth Penninger

Their Children

  1. Barbara Bennett – verified with AncestryDNA test
  2. Elizabeth Bennett – verified with AncestryDNA test
  3. George Bible Bennett (1832-1864)
  4. Henry Bennett (1834-????)
  5. Sarah Bennett (1835-????)
  6. Jane Bennett (1838-????)

Sources: Coming Soon

    1. 1818 Marriage Record for Elijah Bennett and Barbara Bible. They are in the 2nd row, 25th line
    2. Appalachian Lifestyles: Murdered I Say.
    3. Find A Grave Memorial #68760929 – Elijah Bennett
    4. Find A Grave Memorial #68764264 – George Bible Bennett
    5. Rootsweb Family Tree – George Bible Bennett . This includes a transcription of the locally famous tombstone “Murdered I say”. It also includes a transcription from the book “Twixt The North and South” by H.M. Calhoun which gives an account of the murder of George Bible Bennett


  1. I never saw that story. It was very interesting. What is interesting to me is that I am also related to the Snyders. My ancestor Adonijah Lambert married Barbara Bennett. My grandfather, Luther Lambert, married Lena Snyder. Capt. Sampson Snyder was the head of the Swamp Dragons and he was my grandmother’s uncle. Thanks for the info.


    • Wow, Connie. Thanks for that added information. Adonijah Lambert and Barbara Bennett are my 3rd great grandparents through their daughter, Sarah Ellen Lambert (MRIN-9).
      Which of their children does your grandfather, Luther Lambert, descend from?

      So, this is a real story for you about family vs. family during the Civil War. I was never interested in history until I started doing family history. Now, I find the Civil War era to be so interesting. I’m hunting for more information about this story. I’ll update it as I find more

  2. Elijah was also my gggrandfather.
    His son Elijah went to Marshall Oklahoma
    Married to Louisa Teter

    Patty Johnson

    • Hi Patty
      Thank you for that additional info. Everything helps.

  3. Hello- I just wanted to thank you for this information. Elijah and Barbara are my third gr grandparents. I descended through Jane (AKA Jenny) and her husband Billy Schartiger. I enjoy learning things about my ancestors that makes them more real than just a name and date. I still really question exactly who Elijah’s parents are; especially his mother. The case of the three Hannah’s intrigues me and frustrates me at the same time. I don’t know if we will ever answer some old family mysteries.

  4. Thank you for this information. I always enjoy learning family history. Elijah & Barbara Bennett are my 3rd great grandparents. I am descended thru their daughter Mary & her husband, Salem Ketterman. Then their daughter Mary Susan & her husband James S. Cunningham. Finally, their daughter Lenora & her husband Harry Offutt. (my grandparents.)

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