James Rea Benson

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The Hon.
James Rea Benson
James Rea Benson.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Lincoln
In office
1867–1868
Succeeded by Thomas Rodman Merritt
Senator for St. Catharines, Ontario
In office
1868–1885
Appointed by John A. Macdonald
Personal details
Born (1807-01-21)January 21, 1807
Ireland
Died March 18, 1885(1885-03-18) (aged 78)
Political party Liberal-Conservative

James Rea Benson (January 21, 1807 – March 18, 1885) was an Ontario businessman and political figure. He represented Lincoln in the 1st Canadian Parliament as a Liberal-Conservative member until March 14, 1868, when he was named to the Senate of Canada for St. Catharines.[1]

He was born in Ireland in 1807[1] and came to Kingston in Upper Canada with his family in 1819. He later moved to St. Catharines, where he was a hardware merchant,[2] also operating mills and ships in partnership with Thomas Rodman Merritt.[3] Benson was president of the Niagara District Bank, the Welland Loan Company and the St. Catharines Gas Company.[2] He served on the town council for St. Catharines and on the council for Lincoln County.[1] He died in 1885 in Ottawa while still in office.[4]

The city of St. Catharines purchased his residence and used it for some time as the city hall.[5]

Benson married the daughter of Charles Ingersoll.[2] His daughter Helen married Calvin Brown, the first mayor of St. Catharines.[5] His niece, Mary Benson, the daughter of his brother Thomas, married Thomas Rodman Merritt.[6]

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