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Benning Wentworth

Colonial governor of New Hampshire

Died when: 74 years 82 days (890 months)
Star Sign: Leo


Benning Wentworth

Benning Wentworth (July 24, 1696 – October 14, 1770) was an American merchant and colonial administrator who served as the governor of New Hampshire from 1741 to 1766.

While serving as governor, Wentworth is best known for issuing several land grants in territory claimed by the Province of New Hampshire west of the Connecticut River, which led to disputes with the neighboring colony of New York and the eventual founding of Vermont.

Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire into a prominent colonial family in 1692, Wentworth was groomed by his father John while growing up to assume control over the family business before misbehavior while studying at Harvard College led him to be sent to Boston instead in 1715.

There, Wentworth was apprenticed at his uncle's business before becoming a merchant.In 1730, he returned to Portsmouth to assume control over his father's estate.

After Wentworth returned to his family, he soon started becoming involved in politics, sitting on both the House of Representatives and the governor's council in the 1730's.

There, he allied with Theodore Atkinson against political rivals Jonathan Belcher and Richard Waldron.In 1733, Spain refused to pay Wentworth for a timber shipment, leaving him in debt.

Negotiations in London to resolve this led to Wentworth being appointed governor in 1741.Wentworth used his position as governor to entrench his family's economic and political dominance in New Hampshire.

In the 1760's, a dispute with the colonial government in neighboring New York ultimately led to an end to Wentworth's land grants, and he eventually stepped down as governor in 1766.

Wentworth soon retired to his mansion in Portsmouth, where he died four years later.The town of Bennington, Vermont was named in his honor.

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