Benton, also known as Benton City, was on Atascosa Creek twenty-five miles northwest of Jourdanton in Atascosa County. Its site is within the current city limits of Lytle. Benton was settled in 1876 and had a post office from that year to 1929. The community may have been named for Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri and friend of Sam Houston, or for Samuel L. Benton, who fought in the Texas Revolution, or for one of his sons, who settled on land inherited from his father in the area. In 1878 Benton had a Masonic hall, a newspaper called the Benton City Era, and a school called Benton City Institute. In 1879 the residents tried to form their own county, but were thwarted by the residents of Medina and Bexar counties whose land they wanted to appropriate. The town was bypassed by the International-Great Northern Railroad in 1881, and the population dropped to fifty by 1884. By 1904 it had rebounded to 308, and in 1914 it had dropped to 200. A gristmill-gin, three churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Christian), at least one general store, a blacksmith shop, and several cattle-breeding services operated in the town and surrounding ranch community during those years. In 1904 the local public school had seventy-five students and two teachers. In 1914 the school had 104 students. The high school was consolidated with the Lytle school district in 1919, and by 1925 the population of Benton had dropped to fifty. The elementary school closed in 1934. After 1956 only the ruins of the Benton City Institute and the Masonic hall marked the site.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Linda Peterson | © Texas State Historical Association
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