ruins of The Benton City Institute & Atascosa Lodge.
ON FM 3175 just a
little east of the Benton City cemetery.
in 1875. In use until 1934
Photo Courtesy Terry
Jeanson, February 2010
a Pecan Shell
Benton was settled in 1876 and was granted a post office that same year. It has
three possible namesakes. The first was Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, the
second Samuel L. Benton who served at San Jacinto or possibly one of Samuel Benton’s
sons. Since the sons inherited land in this area, it was likely one of them.
By 1878 the town had a Masonic lodge, the Benton City institute and its own newspaper.
By 1879 residents of Benton attempted to form a separate county, but Medina and
Bexar counties weren’t willing to contribute any of their land for the experiment.
town suffered a blow to its collective ego when it was bypassed by the railroad
(the International-Great Northern) in 1881.
By the mid 1880s the population was a mere 50 residents. In 1904 it reported just
over 300 residents, but ten years later it was down to 200.
In 1904 the
Benton school employed two teachers to instruct 75 students. By 1914 there were
104 students, but the high school merged with the Lytle
district in 1919.
The population returned to just 50 residents by the mid
1920s. The grammar school closed in the mid 1930s and today the ruins of the Masonic
lodge and the city cemetery are all that are left from Benton’s “golden age.”
City Cemetery (Established
First public cemetery in this community, which was famous in early
days for its outstanding school, aggressive businesses, and newspaper, the Benton
Site was given by James M. Jones, farmer-livestock raiser
and leading citizen, whose rock house stood nearby. Jones and family moved here
in 1869, when Atascosa County (with Amphion the
county seat) was a frontier region of south
Interred here are pioneers and veterans of Indian warfare,
the Civil War, World War I, World
War II, and other conflicts.