1822 - ?
Allen Richardson Benton was born in the town of Ira, Cayuga County, New York. Very early in life he had an ardent desire for learning, which was fully gratified by his parents until, from too much mental labor, his health failed, which made it necessary for him to give up his studies, and seek the restoration of physical strength in laboring on a farm.
At the age of fifteen, under the preaching of Dr. S. E. SHEPARD and JOHN M. BARTLETT, he became a member of the Christian Church.
At the age of twenty-one, having entirely recovered his health, the old desire for learning revived, and, after due preparation at the Fulton Academy, New York, in the fall of 1845, he was matriculated in Bethany College. While at college, he was distinguished for close application to his studies, integrity of character, and a faithful discharge of all his obligations as a student and Christian. He was graduated Bachelor of Arts in July, 1847, dividing the first honors of his class with ROBERT GRAHAM, now Presiding Officer of the College of Arts in Kentucky University, he delivering the Greek, and GRAHAM the Latin salutatory.
In the fall of 1848 he became permanently established as Principal of Fairview Academy, Rush County, Indiana, in which place he continued six years, during which time he succeeded in building up a highly prosperous school.
Having been elected to the Professorship of Ancient Languages in Northwestern Christian University, he spent part of the year 1854 attending the Rochester University, New York, in the study of the Hebrew, under the instruction of Dr. CONANT.
In the spring of 1855, he opened a preparatory school in the Northwestern Christian University buildings, and, in the fall of the same year, the college was opened. He continued in the discharge of the duties of the Chair of Ancient Languages until the summer of 1861, when he was elected President of the University.