FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Miami-Dade Co. Biographies
BENNETT, W. M.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
II, page 156, 1923.
BENNETT, W. M. One of the best known citizens of Dade County, representative of the
agricultural and live stock interests of the county, is W. M. BENNETT, widely known as a
dairy man and in the pure bred cattle industry. His noted stock farm is on Arch Creek, in
the northern section of the county.
Mr. BENNETT has been a man of hard working purpose since early boyhood. He was born in
Volusia County, Florida, in 1880, son of ASA and LOUISA (BLACKWELDER) BENNETT, his father
a native of Georgia and his mother of Florida. His parents are still living. ASA BENNETT
came from Georgia to Florida at the age of eighteen and settled in Volusia County.
W. M. BENNETT grew up on a farm, attended a country school from three to five months each
year, and when he was only seven years old he began assisting his father in a cypress swamp
in sawing shingle blocks. He helped in this arduous work every season until he was fifteen
years of age. After that he handled the regular duties of a farm until he was about twenty,
when he started for himself in the building trade and located at Ormond, where he became a
charter member in the local carpenters' union. He served as city marshal of Ormond for nearly
five years, and after that became a contractor and builder in Southeast Florida, doing work
in this line at Fort Lauderdale, Arch Creek, Lemon City and other places.
Mr. BENNETT has been a permanent resident of Dade County since 1909. For several years he
did general farming, and since then has specialized in the live stock and dairy business.
He has always been fond of live stock, and quite naturally he developed his interest into
that of a breeder of pure bred stock. He owns and operates what is known as the Ringleader
Stock Farm, comprising 220 acres nine miles north of Miami, at Arch Creek. He has additional
pasturage further north. His farm is stocked with Holstein, Jersey and Guernsey cows,
numbering altogether about 130 head. His herd of seventy registered Holstein cows is one
of the finest in the state. Each of his herds, Jersey, Holstein and Guernsey is headed by
a bull that is the best in its class. His Holstein bulls are of the famous Ragapple strain,
and Mr. BENNETT has owned several of the finest individuals of that class. While he is a
breeder and dealer in pure bred stock, he has not neglected the practical production end
of his dairy. In the early part of 1922 his dairy herds were producing about 125 gallons
of milk each day, and arrangements were then being made to increase the production to 250
gallons. It is an important industry, and contributes in no small degree to the pure milk
supply of Dade County. It is also a conspicuous instance of the remarkable progress made
in better live stock in this section of Southern Florida, where a few years ago high grade
cattle were practically unknown.
Mr. BENNETT has always been interested in public affairs, and he served nine years as
deputy sheriff of Dade County. His fellow citizens, particularly in the northern section
of the county, have learned to appreciate his fidelity to their best interests and his
businesslike performance of public duty. In 1921 Mr. BENNETT became a candidate for the
democratic nomination for county commissioner to represent district No. 2, the northern
district of Dade County, and was elected June 6, 1922, by a large majority. His many
friends are urging him to make the race for sheriff in 1924. Mr. BENNETT is a thirty-second
degree Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner, being a member of Mahi Temple of the Shrine at Miami.
He is also affiliated with the Knights of Pythias.
He married Miss DORA WINDHAM. Their three children are THELMA MINNIE, LEILA LOUISE and
Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn
©2010 Fran Smith
This page presented August 14, 2010