Benson, William

156 W Edmund Ave
St Paul, Minnesota, US

Category: Stonecutter

Used in the following map:

Capitol Construction Workers

1900 City Directory. William Benson was born in Sweden in 1866 and emigrated in 1881. His wife and two youngest children were born in Georgia and he came from there to St.Paul in 1900 to work on the Capitol as a "sawyer,"planer" and "turner". He worked on the Capitol for many years and is found in the 1904-5 Payroll records classified as a stone cutter and foreman.
William Benson seemed determined to adapt to the changing stone industry. Benson, as mentioned earlier, moved from Georgia to St. Paul with his wife Cora and family, and initially worked as a machine operator in the stonecutting shed. In 1905 he had been promoted to foreman stonecutter by the Butler Brothers. He continued working as a stonecutter for a cut stone contractor in St. Paul and two sons, Thomas H. (born 1890) and Walter J. (born 1902), followed their father into the trade. In 1915 Thomas, only 25 years old, died of what was called tuberculosis on his death certificate. Tuberculosis was commonly given as cause of death for stonecutters but it is likely that the dust Thomas was constantly exposed to at work contributed to his death. In the 1920’s William and his younger son, Walter, worked for the C.H. Young Co., a large cut stone contractor, as “planers.” William served as president of the Twin Cities local union in 1921. In 1929 Walter moved to Indiana where he worked in the Bedford limestone industry as a planer and was a member of the union there. In 1930 William, at the age of 63, was still working as a “marble worker” for a wholesale marble shop in St. Paul according to the census report. The Stonecutters’ Journal reported in August of 1932 that William Benson had died while visited his son in Bedford. By 1940 Walter was in Miami still working as a stonecutter, and his mother, Cora, now widowed, was living there with him and his family.