Abigail Bendure

Abigail was born in 1814 in Ohio, and married Henry KEELER about 1835. They had at least eight children, born in Michigan and Wisconsin. She was the mother of Cynthia Ann Keeler, who married William Perley. For more on their family see Henry KEELER.

In the HISTORY of KALAMAZOO COUNTY, MICHIGAN, we see that Henry KEELER and Thomas BENDURE paid taxes in Prairie Ronde Township in 1838. I'm supposing that this refers to Henry and Abigail Keeler, but is Thomas a brother or her father?

This question is addressed in OUR BENDURE HISTORY, a family history publication which can be found in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though the question is addressed, it's not answered.

It seemed that the only reference to Abigail is in M.V.B. Perley's book on the Perley family history, which offers no sources for it's information.

But in "Ohio Records and Pioneer Families", there is an entry for a marriage of John Kelly and Elizabeth Bendure in Clark County, Ohio, on March 23, 1820.  A note attached to this entry says that Elizabeth had no parents and that Bazil Harrison gave consent.

Bazil Harrison, known as Judge Harrison, was one of the original settlers in Kalamazoo (see the excerpt the end of this article for a little bit on Bazil Harrison).  Could Abigail and her sibs have been orphaned and travelled with Bazil to Kalamazoo?  In re-examining the land and military service from that area, there is a John Kelly closely associated with the Harrisons, Thomas Bendure, and Henry Keeler.

Scott Duncan has put a great web site together containing a lot of history of Bazel Harrison as well as other Harrisons.  It includes a photo of Minerva Jane Keeler Harrison. 

A check of the wills of Clark County, Ohio, shows a William Bendure, with Bazil Harrison as the adminstrator:

Case A1-37 Clark County, Ohio

Last Will of William Bendure

Filed August 1819

. In the name of God Amen.....

That I give to Elizabeth Bendure one bed and bedding that deducted out of her portion of the estate after my decease the rest of the property to be sold and money to be paid to interest until each ___ becomes of age and then to receive their equal portion of the money.

I hereby appoint Bael Harrison my executor of my estate and children is to be put to trades when sixteen and is the boys to remain at trade until twenty years of age In witness whereof I have here put my hand seal the ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen..

Timothy Beach

Thomas Rathbun

William Bendure

We find our only reference to Abigail in guardianship papers filed in Springfiled, Clark County, Ohio:

Case A103, Clark County, Ohio

Guardianship of Wm Bendure. s children

Filed August 15, 1821

Bazel Harrison and Samuel McMillan paid $200 bond on 15 Aug 1821 and named guardians of John Henry Bendure, Sarah Bendure, Thomas Bendure, Stephan Bendure, and Abigail Bendure.

Oddly, in case A-157, originally filed in 1823, we learn of two more sibs: William and Jacob. Also included in these papers are the receipts of the payouts by Bazil to the children:

Case A157, Clark County, Ohio

Filed 21 April, 1823

Bazel Harrison named guardian of William Bendure, aged 15 years, and Jacob Bendure, aged 13 years.

Record of payments made by Bazel:

John H Bendure on 18 May 1825 $10

Sarah Bendure on 1 November 1827 $10

Timothy Beach on 10 Sept 1828 $ 3

Bazel Harrison $10

William Bendure on 4 Feb 1828 $10

Thomas Bendure October 12, 1831 $12

William Bendure 22 Oct 1831 $ 3

Thomas Bendure 22 Oct 1831 $ 2.42

Elizabeth Kelly 21 Oct 1831 $18

Stephen Bendure 15 Oct 1831 $18

Here's the early land records of our subjects:

1830 Bazil Harrison, section 2

1830 John Kelly, section 10

1830 Bazel Harrison, section 11

1830 Thomas Bendure, section 11

Sections 2, 10, and 11 are adjacent in Prairie Ronde Township, Kalamazoo County.

From the hsitory (see below), it's presumed Bazil Harrison arrived in Michigan in November of 1828.  The payouts to John, William and Sarah listed above were probably made when they came of age.  The payout to Timothy Beach (an administor of the estate) made on September 10, 1828 was probably for expenses just as the Harrisons were leaving Ohio.  The payments made in 1831 suggest those kids were all in the Kalamazoo area at the time.

The case was never closed, and there is no record of estate payments being made to Abigail and Jacob.

While I believe that this evidence tells us that Abigail Bendure was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Bendure of Clark County, Ohio, and that she arrived in Michigan to meet Henry Keeler as part of the Bazil Harrison party, more questions remain unanswered.  I also believe that this relationship to Bazil Harrison explains the family story concerning a connection with President Harrison. We don't discover where William came from or who his parents were, nor do we learn his wife's family name. 

It's an unusual enough name that any occurrence of it is of interest to me. There are a few others I'm in contact with on the internet that are also interested. If you know of BENDUREs, please get in touch with me.


(From the History of Kalamazoo County)

In what is now the township of Prairie Ronde was made the first permanent settlement in Kalamazoo County. The location was its northeast portion, near a beautiful lake, and the person who had the honor of being the pioneer settler of the county--at the time being nearly sixty years of age--lived until the winds of more than . a hunded winters. had . whistled through his branches,. and departed to the realm of the future in the knowledge that all his life long he had never known a personal enemy. His name--Bazel Harrison--will long be revered by those who knew him or shall read of him from the historic page. His father. s brother, Benjamin Harrison, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the judge was therefore a cousin of President Harrison, the hero of Fort Megis and Tippecanoe.

The time at which Judge Harrison settled on the prairie has been the subject of much discussion, some averring that it was in the fall of 1827, and others that it was in the fall of 1828 From all evidence it is hardly to be disputed that the date of his arrival was the 5th day of November, 1828.

Click here to send me an email.

Copyright 1999-2004 Martin E. Cassidy