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Eltiste Family

Harold Edwin Benjamin

Born - Wednesday, July 2, 1902

Lyon, Rice County, Kansas

Baptized - 1909

Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church

Stuttgart, Phillips County, Kansas

Confirmed - 1916

Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church

Stuttgart, Phillips County, Kansas

Married - Wednesday,  June 25, 1924

Belleville, Republic County, Kansas

Died - Thursday, April 5, 1956

Culver City, Los Angels County, California

Buried - Monday, April 9, 1956

Inglewood Park Cemetery

Lot 483    Montcrest Section

Inglewood, Los Angles County, California

Foster Father - August Christian Eltiste

Foster Mother - Katharina (Hahn) Eltiste




Harold Edwin Benjamin



Harold Edwin Benjamin was born July 2, 1902 in Lyons, Kansas, to Edwin Canby Benjamin. Harold was the youngest of five children. Edwin had blue eyes, light brown hair, and was of fair complexion. Willetta had brown eyes and dark hair. Harold, Vera and Vida had dark eyes and dark hair. George and Lillian were fair like their father. Willetta's mother had asthma and hay fever very badly; an allergy, which is hereditary. Harold inherited asthma.


In his early married years, Edwin tried to work in the coal mines in Pennsylvania and later Lyons, Kansas, and there contracted Tuberculosis. He was an accomplished violinist and played with a symphony orchestra at Wichita, Kansas.


 When Harold was four years old, Edwin and Willetta were divorced. The main trouble stemmed from Edwin's poor health and his inability to support his family. It was thought that Willetta had cancer and she was taken to the hospital for an operation in 1906. Edwin was in a Tuberculosis Sanitarium and had no money.


The children were separated. John A. Benjamin, Edwin's brother, was a prominent man with means but he did not want to be saddled with his brother's children and felt they would be better off placed in good homes. Vida and George were kept by Aunt Pearl Fleming-Hubbard and when Willetta recovered sufficiently to support them, she got these two children back.


Vera was 13 years old and stayed on a farm with a cousin, but later came back to live with her mother. Harold and Lillian were kept by Grandma Benjamin, who was getting very old and later died. At this time, John turned Harold and Lillian over to a German Lutheran Children's Society. From there, Lillian who was older, was placed in a home where she had to work very hard. Willetta somehow got in touch with her and got her back.


In 1906 Harold was taken as a foster child by Katerine and August Eltiste of Phillipsburg, Kansas from the German

Lutheran Children's Society. The Eltiste's had four children, the youngest of which was then in his early 30's.

Harold was educated in a Lutheran Bible School and he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He

wrote and spoke German fluently.


  When Harold was 16 years of age and still living with the Eltiste's, Willetta sent a pocket watch to the Lutheran Children's Society who forwarded it to Harold for his birthday. Inside the watch was a tiny note telling him to contact his mother. She anticipated that being a boy, he would take the watch apart, which he did, and he was reunited with his mother.


After graduating from high school, the Eltiste's sent Harold to Lincoln to an auto repair school.


Harold married Leota Ruth Beck on June 25, 1924 in

Scandia, Kansas. They had five children, but Harold Jr., died at 8 months of age.


"The year of 1934 will long be remembered as a year of

hardship, hard work and worry... The most severe dust storms began in March of that year and people hardly knew how to cope with them. No rain came during the spring and by July the drought was serious. The heat waves burned the corn to a crisp. The Rock Island Railroad hauled water in tank cars from Scandia as far west as Mankato. The only growing thing seemed to be Russian thistles and some farmers crushed them to feed to livestock. The city of Scandia provided water free to farmers who were in dire need. A Republic County emergency group was formed and through this agency the government began purchasing livestock in distress to be used for food for those persons on relief. The streets of Scandia got their first coat of gravel when the C. W. A. workers spent two days spreading gravel."


"Each spring as the rains came, Scandia watched the Republican River. The spring of 1935 was an especially rainy one and all the creeks and ditches poured their water into the river until the water began creeping over the banks.... All of the southwest part of the town was under water and a couple of blocks of main street were impassable. The crest came on Sunday morning, June 2, when a wall of water coming down the debris, laden stream struck the bridge with such force that the central part of the structure was taken out. The highway west of the river was completely washed out and a row of big cottonwood trees were uprooted... The flood damage amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars."


Source: Pages 26 and 27 of The History of New Scandinavia 1868-1961


Because times were very hard and farming was not prosperous. Harold came to California in the early 1930's.

Shortly after, Leota and the four children drove to California to be with Harold. They settled in Culver City. At first, Harold worked as a gardener in the

Beverly Hills area of Southern California, and as a welder at the Long Beach Shipyards during World War Two.


Harold and Leota were divorced in 1947. He married Edna May Whittet and they lived near Adhor Milk Farms in Los Angeles.


He worked for Adhor Milk Farms as a welder. He was in good health until an industrial accident occurred in which the end of a finger was crushed. It didn't heal properly so it was cut back at least three times, giving him emotional trauma. He wore gloves to keep his fingers covered. Over the nest four years he had four heart attacks. Since there was no history of heart disease in the family and he was in excellent health until the accident, it is believed the blood clots were the cause of death by heart disease.


Harold died on April 5, 1956. An autopsy listed the cause of death as cerebral anoxia, congestive heart failure, and arteriosclerosis heart disease.


Memorial services were held at Utter-McKinley View Park Chapel on April 9, 1956 at 1:30 p.m. by Reverend Roy L. Ruth. He is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California, Lot 483,

Montcrest Section.  





1 stWife -  Loeta Ruth (Beck) Benjamin

Born - Sunday, March 3, 1907

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas

Died - Monday,  July 24, 1995

Hemet, Riverside County, California

Father - Ernest Glendale Beck

Born - August 30, 1885  ۩  Died -  May 20, 1954

Married -  September 6,  1906

Mother - Hilda Asenath (Mahan) Beck

Born - December 13, 1886  ۩  Died - September 9, 1985


2 ndWife - Edna May (Whittet) Benjamin

Married - 1947



Daughter - LeVonne Loeta (Benjamin) Cooke

Born - June 9, 1925

Courtland, Riverside County, Kansas

Married - December 1, 1946

Culver City, Los Angeles County, California

Husband - Lawson Wendell Cooke

Born - May 9, 1924  ۩ Chicago, Cook County Illinois

Parents - Raymond & Clara Cooke


Daughter - Georgalee Vida (Benjamin) Works

Born - July 9, 1926

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas

Married - July 21, 1946

Culver City, Los Angeles County, California

Divorced - April 1975 - Los Angeles County, California

Died - November 1, 2009

San Diego, San Diego County, California

Husband - John Downey Works III

Born -  October 28, 1924

2 ndWife - Marjorie L. (Flynn) Works

Married -  December 29, 1975 - Clark County, Nevada


Son - Harold Edwin Benjamin Jr.

Born - November 6, 1927

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas

Died -  July 3, 1928

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas


Son - Richard Lee Benjamin

Born - June 1, 1929

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas

1 stWife - Marjory Anne (Coleman) Benjamin

Born -May 10, 1932

Married - October 14, 1950

Culver City, Los Angeles County, California

Died - November 7, 1980

Van Nuys, Los Angeles County, California

2 ndWife - Beatrice Ann (Janowicz) Benjamin

Born - January 23, 1942

Long Island City, New York

Married - June 27, 1970

Van Nuys, Los Angeles County, California


Son - Donald Dean Benjamin

Born - October 6, 1934

Scandia, Republic County, Kansas

Married - March 4, 1961

Los Angeles County, California

Wife - Deanna Lee (Bigham) Benjamin

Born - November 3, 1941

Los Angeles County, California



Father - Edwin Canby Benjamin

Born - May 23, 1872

Married - March 1, 1895  ۩ Lyons, Rice County, Kansas

Mother - Willetta May (Stauffer) Benjamin

Born -  May 14, 1873 - Pennsylvania






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