From Ohio History Central
Lyman Benton was a politician and abolitionist in Geauga County, Ohio.
Benton was born circa 1770, in Guilford, Connecticut. In 1803, he and his family moved to Geauga County, settling in Burton Township. Benton served in the War of 1812 as part of the Ohio Militia, attaining the rank of ensign. Circa 1810, Benton became a justice of the peace in Geauga County, performing some of the county's earliest marriage ceremonies. Benton, himself, married twice. His first wife was Anna Hopson, who died of natural causes. His second wife was Rhoda Fowler. Benton was the father of nine children.
By the 1830s, Benton had become a devoted abolitionist. He was a supporter of the Liberty Party in the early 1840s. By this time, Benton suffered from "dropsy," a nineteenth-century term usually used to describe weight gain and heart failure. According to accounts, Benton weighed over four hundred pounds. Despite his health condition, Benton had friends construct a cart, with two chairs in the back, to transport him to the polls, so that he could vote for Ohioan James Birney of the Liberty Party in the presidential election of 1840. He also walked to the first abolitionist meeting held in Burton Township.
Burton died on March 7, 1845.
Burton represents the growing tensions over slavery between Northerners and Southerners during the early nineteenth century.