The Bentley Family

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada

Bentley family of Middleton

Genealogy and history of our Bentley line

1. David Bentley was born ca. 1725 in Connecticut. He married Ann Baldwin, the daughter of Thomas and Ann (Bingham) Baldwin, 1 December 1748, in Norwich, Connecticut. They came to Nova Scotia in 1760 and settled in Cornwallis township, Kings County, as one of the "Planters" who took up lands which had belonged to the Acadians before their expulsion. David Bentley died 13 June 1792 at Cornwallis.

Children of David and Ann (Baldwin) Bentley:

  1. Eunice, b. ca. 1750, m. Peter Pineo Jr.
  2. Anna, b. 3 Oct 1752, m. Daniel Pineo
  3. Asahel, b. 8 Mar 1755, m. Lucy Clark
  4. Phoebe, b. 27 Feb 1758, m. William Pineo
  5. David Baldwin, b. 18 Jan 1761, m. Margaret Webster
  6. James, b. 25 Jul 1763, d. 28 Jul 1763
  7. John, b. 6 Oct 1764, m. Miriam Gillett
  8. Hannah, b. 20 Nov 1767
  9. Eliot, b. 19 Jun 1770
  10. Prudence, b. 10 May 1773, m. Dr. Isaac Webster

2. Asahel Bentley was born 8 March 1755 in Connecticut, the son of David and Ann (Baldwin) Bentley. He married Lucy Clark, 26 May 1778, at Cornwallis. She was born 15 March 1760, the daughter of Asa and Sarah (Hopson) Clark of Cornwallis, formerly of Colchester, Connecticut. Asahel Bentley died 22 November 1825 at Cornwallis.

Children of Asahel and Lucy (Clark) Bentley:

  1. Alice, b. 8 Apr 1779, m. Oliver Woodworth
  2. Anna, b. 2 May 1782, m. John K. Wheaton
  3. Asahel Jr., d. young
  4. Charlotte, b. 16 Apr 1786, d. 2 Oct 1790
  5. George, b. 29 Jun 1788, m. Jane Robertson
  6. William, b. 4 July 1791, m. Ruth Eaton
  7. Sarah, b. 19 Dec 1796

3. George Bentley was born 29 June 1788 at Cornwallis, the son of Asahel and Lucy (Clark) Bentley. He married Jane Robertson about 1810. The names of her parents and date and place of birth are not known. George Bentley died 14 April 1816 at Halifax. Jane (Robertson) Bentley later remarried to John Mayhew Bill on 3 January 1828.

Children of George and Jane (Robertson) Bentley:

  1. Andrew George, b. 18 May 1812, m. Ruth Ells
  2. Asahel, b. 10 Nov 1814, m. Elizabeth Caroline Gesner

4. Asahel Bentley was born 10 November 1814 at Cornwallis, the son of George and Jane (Robertson) Bentley. He married Elizabeth Caroline Gesner, 14 March 1838, in Cornwallis. She was born 9 September 1819 at Cornwallis, the daughter of John Henry and Mary Lydia (Chase) Gesner. She died 27 March 1871 and was buried in Jaw Bone Corner Cemetery at Canard in Cornwallis township. Asahel Bentley married his second wife, Roxanna Sanford, on 2 February 1874 at Pereau in Kings County. She was born about 1844, the daughter of Charles and Rebecca Sanford. Asahel Bentley died 21 February 1900 at Cornwallis.

Children of Asahel and Elizabeth Caroline (Gesner) Bentley:

  1. Maria Jane, b. 14 May 1839, m. John Alexander Borden
  2. George Gesner, b. 22 Dec 1840, m. Charlotte Randall
  3. Elizabeth Catherine, b. Apr 1842, m. Ephraim Terry
  4. Abram Stronach, b. 8 Sep 1844, m. Annie Robbins
  5. John Henry, b. 26 Jan 1847, m. Alice Alberta Lockhart
  6. Sophia Rebecca, b. 6 Dec 1849, m. James Everett Eaton
  7. William Burpee, b. 4 Nov 1853
  8. Stephen Morine, b. 26 Oct 1857, m. Anna Laura Harris

Children of Asahel and Roxanna (Sanford) Bentley:

  1. Avery Longley, b. 27 Aug 1875
  2. Lucy Annabelle, b. 31 Jan 1877, m. Clarence E. Sherry
  3. Laura Louise, b. 22 Nov 1879
  4. Bradford Starr, b. 29 Sep 1881

5. Abram Stronach Bentley was born 8 September 1844 at Billtown in Cornwallis township, the son of Asahel and Elizabeth Caroline (Gesner) Bentley. He married Sarah Ann Robbins, 27 June 1865, at Canning in Cornwallis township. She was born 11 August 1839 at Yarmouth, the daughter of John and Sarah Ann (Cornwell) Robbins. Annie Robbins died 25 January 1930 at Middleton, Nova Scotia and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery there. Abram Stronach Bentley died 4 August 1932 at Middleton or Berwick, Nova Scotia and was buried beside his wife.

Abram Stronach Bentley farmed at Sheffield Mills and Canning. About 1882 he moved to Berwick and developed a large orchard becoming one of the leading apple growers in the Annapolis Valley. They were members of the Canning Baptist Church and the Berwick Baptist Church.

Children of Abram Stronach and Annie (Robbins) Bentley:

  1. Byron Havelock, b. 27 Mar 1866, m. Ethel [surname unknown]
  2. Frederick Eugene, b. 1 Sep 1867, m. Mary Elizabeth Marshall
  3. Charles Asahel, b. 22 Jun 1870, m. Edith Macdonald
  4. Florence Lavinia, b. 27 Sep 1877, m. Robert Stanley Gullivan

6. Frederick Eugene Bentley was born 1 September 1867 at Sheffield Mills in Cornwallis township, the son of Abram Stronach and Annie (Robbins) Bentley. He married Mary Elizabeth Marshall, 15 November 1899, in Middleton. She was born 17 September 1873 in Outram near Middleton, the daughter of Charles and Lenora (Brown) Marshall. Frederick E. Bentley died 22 October 1954 in Middleton and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery there. Mary (Marshall) Bentley died 14 August 1970 in Middleton and was buried beside her husband.

Frederick E. Bentley graduated from the Maritime Business College and moved to Middleton where he started a dry goods business. He kept the store until about 1940 when he became a partner in an insurance agency. He served as Mayor of Middleton and on the town council for many years. He was an avid baseball player and managed the star Middleton baseball teams of the early 1920s. The family belonged to the Middleton Baptist Church.

Children of Frederick Eugene and Mary Elizabeth (Marshall) Bentley:

  1. Annie Bernice, b. 17 Aug 1900, m. Carl Young Fisher
  2. Charles Hubert, b. 15 Apr 1907, m. Rachel Bevan
  3. Doris Leah, b. 14 Jul 1910, m. Donald MacKay Allan, 13 Jun 1959

7. Annie Bernice Bentley was born 17 August 1900 in Middleton, the daughter of Frederick Eugene and Mary Elizabeth (Marshall) Bentley. She married Carl Young Fisher, 19 October 1927, in Middleton Baptist Church. He was born 24 April 1901 in Middleton, the son of Charles Frederick and Sarah (Young) Fisher. He died 28 February 1941 at Middleton and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery there. Bernice (Bentley) Fisher died 14 February 1992 at Truro, Nova Scotia and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.

Children of Carl Young and Bernice (Bentley) Fisher:

  1. Frederick Bentley,
  2. Neil Hubert

7. Charles Hubert Bentley was born 15 April 1907 at Middleton, the son of Frederick Eugene and Mary Elizabeth (Marshall) Bentley. He married Rachel Bevan, 17 June 1939, in England. Hubert Bentley died 16 June 1984 at Halifax and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery at Middleton. Rachel (Bevan) Bentley died in December 2001 in Oakville, Ontario.

Children of Hubert and Rachel (Bevan) Bentley:

  1. Elizabeth Anne
  2. Mary Patricia

Memories of Doris Bentley Allan (1910-2002)

Aunt Doris at the Hunt Club, 14 June 2002 Aunt Doris was born 14 July 1910 in Middleton, Nova Scotia and died 12 October 2002, aged 92, at the Ottawa General Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She was the wife of Donald Mackay Allan and daughter of Frederick Eugene Bentley and Mary Elizabeth Marshall of Middleton, Nova Scotia. She was raised in Middleton and studied business at Acadia. The Depression meant there were few jobs to be found in the Annapolis Valley so she worked for her father until 1935 when a change in the provincial government--her father was a staunch Liberal--allowed her an opening in the Premier's office in Halifax. She rose quickly in his office to become his Private Secretary within a few years. After the outbreak of war, Premier Angus L. MacDonald accepted the call of duty from Prime Minister Mackenzie King and came to Ottawa to be the Minister of National Defence for the Navy. Aunt Doris came with him and served as his Private Secretary until his resignation in 1945. She then stayed on worked for his successor Douglas Abbott, eventually transferring with him when he became the Minister of Finance. She later worked for other cabinet ministers but retired in 1959 to marry Uncle Don--whom she had met in 1940 but had kept waiting for 19 years because she enjoyed working in the government. She loved golfing, playing bridge, and watching baseball.

These are a few memories from the last years of Doris (Bentley) Allan's life when we both lived in Ottawa and I had the chance to see her more often which tell something of the way she aged with grace, spirit and sometimes fiery determination.

Martini on the Rocks

In the late 1990s, Aunt Doris treated me, my cousin Bruce and his wife Alena to dinner one night at the Hunt Club Golf Club in Ottawa. Bruce was in town for a conference and Alena had come along for the shopping. The dining room was booked that night so we sat in a cozy lounge set aside for golfers who wished a more casual dining environment. Aunt Doris, then about 87 or 88, ordered a "martini on the rocks" from the young waiter.

Apparently deceived by the elegant appearance of the grey-haired lady, he returned a few minutes later and asked her politely, "Did you want ice with that?"

She looked surprised and glanced at us for confirmation and replied in a slight drawl, "Well, I said on the rocks didn't I?" We nodded agreement.

Suitably chastened, the waiter scampered back to the bar to bring the formerly meek lady her martini on the rocks. She knew how to obtain service.

Golf on T.V.

Aunt Doris loved golf. Recovering in the Montfort Hospital in Vanier just a month before her death, she complained of the boredom and how long the days were. Without her contact lenses, she could not read and her hands were too sore for her to consider using them. I arranged to have a telephone and television set up for her to offer some distraction. The weekends were a particular treat for her because pro golf filled the day.

It was with some consternation then that she called me the next Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm. Sheila answered the phone and Aunt Doris barked, "Is Bob there, I can't find the golf!" No hellos, no how do you dos, but straight to the point.

Sheila passed the phone to me and Doris quickly exclaimed, "Bob, I can't find the golf!"

Remote control in hand, I flipped through the channels without success and finally settled on the programme listings channel. In time it revealed that golf was on two channels, one then and one later. I imparted this welcome intelligence to her and she hurriedly changed channels. To her obvious frustration, she observed "It's not golf, Bob".

"Yes it is", I replied, "that's just a commercial".

We chatted quietly while waiting for the beloved golf to appear. A few minutes later, "It's still not golf".

"No, but it's just another commercial", I replied but with less conviction.

A few minutes later the golf finally appeared to my relief and her evident delight, "Thanks Bob, goodbye". Golf on, conversation over.

When I visited her at the hospital that evening, six or seven hours later, she was still happily watching golf.

Dinner with Dave and Doris

On another occasion in spring 2002, my brother Dave had come to Ottawa on business. He had arranged to meet a friend at a pub for 9:00 but we decided to see if we could drop by for a visit with Aunt Doris beforehand. We ultimately took her out for dinner but not having a lot of time, we hoped to find someplace close to her posh retirement home on the banks of the Rideau River in Sandy Hill. We set out by car and passed by a number of restaurants which were not suitable before we came to A Passage to India.

Aunt Doris piped up, "I hear it's very good."

Dave inquired, "Do you like Indian food?"

"Not at all", she shot back drily.

With that option closed, we soon found ourselves across the Rideau River in Vanier, a French enclave with a seedy main drag of strip malls, taverns and exotic dance parlours.

We found a small licensed family diner that promised good food. The thought of Aunt Doris in such a place seemed incongruous. Dave and I ordered a beer and a hamburger platter. Aunt Doris ordered a hot dog which she ate with evident relish. She commented about how good it was, how it had been so long since she had eaten a hot dog, and how they never had them on the menu at Rideau Terrace, her retirement home. We should not have been surprised. She had grown up in a baseball-loving family and must have enjoyed hot dogs often in the ballparks of her youth. Aunt Doris had told me that she and Uncle Don had often attended Ottawa triple A ball-games in the 1940s and early 1950s where they frequently met future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in the stands.

She washed the hot dog down with a Scotch and soda and then we returned her to Rideau Terrace after a delightful evening.

Some Bentley family photographs

Bentley family of Middleton, Nova Scotia ca. 1926.jpgThe Bentley family of Middleton, Nova Scotia, ca. 1926. Frederick E. Bentley (1867-1954) and his wife Mary E. Marshall (1873-1970) are in the back row at the left, his father and mother are in the back row at the right, Abram Stronach Bentley (1844-1932) and Annie Robbins (1839-1930) of Sheffield Mills. The younger of the two women in the middle of the back row is probably their daughter Florence (Bentley) Gullivan. The front row, from left to right, is Doris Bentley, a family friend, and Bernice Bentley.

Nana ca. 1987.jpgNana, also known as Annie Bernice (Bentley) Fisher, at her birthday party in Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, ca. 17 August 1985.

Nanas house Middleton ca. 1987 200dpi.jpgNana's house, on the Main Street in Middleton, ca. 1985. She lived in this house from the 1930s to 1990.

Aunt Doris, 14 June 2002.jpgAunt Doris, alias Doris Leah (Bentley) Allan, treating her great-nephew Rob Fisher and great-niece Sheri Fisher to dinner at the Hunt Club in Ottawa, 14 June 2002, a few months before her death.

Bentleys.jpgSeveral of the Bentleys gathered at my house after Aunt Doris's funeral, on 19 October 2002. In the back row from left to right are Rob Fisher, Fred Bentley Fisher, and Dave Fisher. In the front row from left to right are Mary Bentley, Ann (Bentley) Jones, Meryl (York) Fisher, and Sheri Fisher.

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