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A name that originally stems from the reverence for an early Christian saint, ‘Bennett’ first became popular in the British Isles following the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Many of the name have stamped their mark on the historical record through a diverse and colourful range of pursuits, including military service, politics, enterprise and the arts.
Read here the inspiring tale of the Bennetts, both past and present.
Bennett Family Name Mini-Book Excerpt
"James Gordon Bennett, Sr., made his mark on the historical record as a pioneering figure in American newspapers.
Born in Scotland in 1795 in Newmill, Banffshire, he studied for a time at a Roman Catholic seminary in Aberdeen before immigrating at the age of 24 to North America.
Working for a short period in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a schoolmaster, he later moved to Portland, Maine, before moving yet again in 1820 to Boston.
Abandoning his career as a teacher, he worked as a bookseller and a proof reader.
By 1823, Bennett was to be found in New York City, working as a freelance newspaper journalist and then as an assistant editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer.
Having carefully accumulated his earnings, by 1835 he was able to found and launch the New York Herald.
It proved an immediate success, with Bennett giving space for in-depth interviews with victims of crime, witnesses and also leading political figures of the day.
It was the New York Herald that had the first ‘exclusive’ interview with a U.S. President – an interview conducted by Bennett himself in 1839 with President Martin Van Buren.
He died in 1872, having six years earlier passed control of the New York Herald to his son, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., and with the newspaper boasting the highest circulation in America.
Born in New York City in 1841, and more commonly known as Gordon Bennett, it was this highly colourful character who gave rise to the well-known expletive Gordon Bennett! as an expression of incredulity.
This was through his eccentric behaviour, widely reported in the gossip columns of rival newspapers of the day."