WILLIAM MONROE BENHAM, an attorney of Pittsburg, was born in Auburn, New York, on April 8, 1866, a son of DeWitt
C. and Cynthia (Arne) Benham. both natives of New York state. His forefathers were early settlers in this continent,
his ancestor, John Benham, coming to America from. England in 1630 on the ship "Mary and John," and making
his home in New England. The parents of the subject of this sketch removed from New York to Beaver county, Pennsylvania,
about 1871, where the father became a coal operator, organizing and being president of the Auburn Coal Company.
He died in 1892, leaving to survive him his wife and, the following three children, all of whom are still living:
1. Rev. DeWitt M., who was pastor of the Point Breeze and Tabernacle Presbyterian churches of this city. In 1898
he received an urgent call to become the pastor of the Central Presbyterian church of Baltimore, Maryland, where
he is now located. 2. Mary A., wife of J. Duncan Dithridge, who descends from an early Pittsburg family, but at
the present time they are residing in New York city. 3. William M.
William M. Benham. third child of DeWitt C. and cynthia (Arne) Benham, received his preliminary education in the
public schools of New Brighton, Beaver county, Pennsylvania, and was graduated from Geneva College, Pennsylvania,
in the class of 1887, being awarded the general excellency prize for the highest grade of the year, and having
pursued the classical course the degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred upon him. In the autumn of 1889 he entered
the law departmeflt of Columbia University, New York city, where he remained during the prescribed time of three
years, being graduated therefrom in June, 1892, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws cum laude. At the commencement
exercises the Committee on Awards presented him with the first prize of two hundred and fifty dollars for the greatest
knowledge and highest attainments in his law studies. During his first year at Columbia he was elected president
of his class, consisting of two hundred and fifty members, and upon the resignation of Dr. Theodore Dwight as warden
of the law department in June, 1891, he was selected by his classmates to present to Dr. Dwight a handsomely embossed
While at Columbia Mr. Benham read law in the office of Messrs. Carter, Hughes & Kellogg, of New York city,
the Mr. Hughes of this firm being now governor of the state of New York. At a general term of the supreme court
of the state of New York, held in the city of New York, he was admitted on December 7, 1891, to practice in the
several courts of that state. Mr. Benham after receiving his diploma from columbia in June, 1892, returned to Pittsburg,
where he took the prescribed examination, and on September 17, 1892, was admitted to the Allegheny county bar.
He at once commenced the practice of law in Pittsburg, and in due time was admitted to the supreme and, superior
courts of Pennsylvania, and the United States circuit and district courts. He has been highly successful in his
profession; and has established a large and remunerative practice. Mr. Benham enjoys the trial of cases, and before
the jury is a forcible and effective speaker.
He is unmarried. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity, during 1907 being worshipful master of Fort Pitt Lodge,
No. 634, Free, and Accepted Masons, and is also connected with the Pennsylvania Consistory, making him a thirty-second
degree Mason. He is exalted ruler of Pittsburg Lodge, No. 11, Benevolent, and Protective Order of Elks, having
been elected to that office for two snccessive terms, this being unusual, as the lodge during the thirty years
of its, existence has only re-elected to that office two of Mr. Benham's predecessors. He was one of the organizers
of the Colonial Republican Club of Pittsburg, and has been on its board of trustees since its formation. The first
two years of the club's existence he was vice president, and then was chosen president, in which capacity he served
during 1907. He is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association, acting upon the committee on narrative during
the years of 1896 and 1897, and is also a member of the University Club and the Pittsburg Board of Trade. In the
year of 1901 he was supreme senator of the Knights of the Ancient Essenic Order, the highest office in the country.
Politically Mr. Benham is a Republican. In the Blaine campaign of 1884 he was corresponding secretary of the Young
Men's Republican Club of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and was president of the same organization in the Harrison
campaign of 1888. He has been president of his district organization; county committeeman, ward committeeman, city
committeeman, and in the years of 1905 and 1906 was first vice chairman of the Republican city executive committee
of Pittsburg. He has been a delegate to various state and county conventions.
A Century and a half of
Pittsburg and her people.
By: John Newton Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company
Allegheny County Pennsylvania Biographies
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