McLemoreStrong
Genealogy
Strong - McLemore History and Ancestry
First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]
Alvin Carlton Benkelman, Sr.

Alvin Carlton Benkelman, Sr.

Male 1895 - 1987  (92 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Alvin Carlton Benkelman  [1, 2, 3
    Suffix Sr. 
    Born 8 May 1895  Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 Sep 1987  Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Notes 
    • His daughter, Anne Scott Benkelman Pritchard wrote, on Veteran's Day 2011, "My dad, Alvin Carlton Benkelman, was born in 1895 and served in WWI; he liked to say "where the bullets were the thickest" - loading munitions on ships in New Jersey."

      Cass City Chronicle
      Cass City, Mich., April 11, 1919
      Page Four
      Around Our Town
      Alvin Benkelman, son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Benkelman and a U. of M. student, is enjoying his vacation here at the home of his parents.

      Cass City Chronicle
      Friday, August 27, 1954
      Vol 49, Number 18
      Page 1

      Invention Lauded by Experts
      New Benkelman Beam Measures Deflection

      Alvin C. Benkelman, brother of Dorus Benkelman of Cass City, has been lauded by road engineers in the United States for developing an instrument called the "Benkelman Beam" for the measuring of elastic pavement deflections. Deflection of a pavement is the amount the pavement gives under road pressure. Although many devices have been invented to measure deflection, the "Benkelman Beam" is the first really simple device for the highway work, according to engineer Benkelman.

      In the past, the best method was an electronic method which required a great deal of expensive equipment and a considerable amount of time and effort for each installation. Only a limited number of installations were possible in any one area. Another disadvantage of this method was that the road surface had to be disturbed to install the equipment. While on duty as a consultant engineer with the Bureau of Public Roads on the WASHO test road in Idaho in 1953, Mr. Benkelman developed the deflection measuring device which bears his name. Because of the speed with which Mr. Benkelman's device is operated, the WASHO test personnel was able to make approximately 40,00ft individual deflection readings. An example of the increased speed of the "Benkelman Beam" is reported by the California Highway Department. They used the beam to study pavement which had received severe "longitudinal and transverse" cracking. The beam was used to determine its operational characteristics and to supply experience on the best methods of using it. The results were outstanding. A complete survey of the road was completed in one day, excluding traveling time. Over 40 different sections were tested along the road. The California road commission estimates that the same work done by the electronic method would have taken 10 days. Mr. Benkelman and his wife and daughter, Ann Scott, are visiting Mr. and Mrs. Dorus Benkelman. They stopped in Cass City on their way home to Alexandria, Val, from Idaho.

      The STRIFFLER-BENKELMAN BROADCAST, Vol 22 dated September 7, 1959, reported that Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Benkelman of Ottowa, Illinois and daughter Ann Scott attended the Blaufuss family reunion in Davenport, Iowa.

      Volume 27 of the STRIFFLER-BENKELMAN BROADCAST, published September 4, 1967 reported that Alvin, a 1917 engineering graduate of the University of Michigan, was honored with the University's Sesquicentennial Award at the annual Asphalt Institute meeting at the University on August 9, 1967.

      Memorial Service for A. C. Benkelman Sep. 13, 1987

      There was a man, born in 1774, who journeyed westward planting or selling seedlings from Pennsylvania to Ohio and beyond.  He was a natural man, cheerful, generous in nature, and had an affinity for the wilderness.  He supplied frontiersman with apple orchard stock throughout the Midwest.  His name, John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. There was another man who retired in the Elk Creek community in 1967 with a strange sounding name.  He was born in Michigan in 1895, and was a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Chemical Engineering.  From 1919 to 1928 he worked for the Illinois Highway Department where he was soil engineer on the Bates Road Test. From 1928 to 1934 he worked for the Michigan Highway Department as research engineer on soils, fast actions, and pavement.  From 1934 to 1954 he worked for the U. S.  Bureau of Public Roads in charge of structural design of flexible pavement.  In 1956 he was on the staff of Highway Research Board.  He is well known throughout the highway construction trade for his invention of a economical portable device to measure deflections of pavement under heavy loads which to this day carries his name.  His name, Alvin C. Benkelman, better known as "Benk".  The device that he invented is called the Benkelman Beam. I compare Benk with Johnny Appleseed because they both left their mark.  Benk, too, was outgoing, was young at heart, loved people and the out-of-doors.  He established a flourishing pine tree farm, and was a member of the American Tree Farmers Association.  He couldn't do enough for others. Most think that Benk was lured to the area by his wife, Olive, a native of Elk Creek, but there must have been a yearning or spark that had been smoldering since the days of his youth when, as a young man in a glee club, he learned "In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia", which became one of his favorite pieces.  His first trip to this area was at the time of the First World War when he accompanied the body of a dead soldier to Galax, Virginia.  He liked it then and vowed to return. Benk had two children, a son and daughter.  It is rare when a son gets to choose his step-mother, but Alvin Jr., whose mother had died, introduced his vivacious teacher, Miss Scott, to his widowed father.  Matrimony ensued and it was a joyous occasion when "Scotty" was born. Benk and Olive had been making plans for their retirement for many years.  They had already negotiated the purchase of the property that is referred to as "The Falls" which at the time was a dump. Where others may have seen trash, Benk saw jewels.  One of his first projects was to clean up that unsightly piece of property, build a cabin, and landscape the grounds to show off the falls.  It was since become a show place and a haven for many a guest. He attacked the homeplace, "Flag Pond" with the same vigor and vitality, restoring an already existing house and out buildings, into their permanent dwelling.  I remember my first visit to their home and how cordial they were and willing to show off their home.  Benk was especially proud of the spring that had been walled up and flowed through the end of their entrance way.  I was impressed by how low the ceilings seemed, but for someone five feet two, they were high enough. Because I was taller was my fault, not his.  The lawns were always neatly mowed and trimmed, Benk doing the work or supervising.  One of the log houses in the rear was converted into a wood working showroom which became his hobby.  It was not unusual to find him working in his shop in the dead of winter by the warmth of a wood stove. Because of his love of trees, it was only natural that he developed his hobby for working with wood.  Every kind of wood was a new challenge.  Some he liked better than others, but I've never seen  anyone able to make a piece of wood shine without any finish as Benk could.  There is hardly a kitchen in the community that doesn't have the little recipe holder that he fashioned with a clothes pin.  He made letter holders, lamps, music boxes, jewelry boxes, key boards, cribbage boards cut out in the shape of a state, boot jacks, and even a grandfather clock, to list but a few, and do you know, he gave these away freely to his friends, often accompanied by an original verse by his wife.  You could never come away from his house empty handed.  If it wasn't something that he had made, it was something that he had grown out of his bountiful garden.  He flourished on generosity.

      (  The above are excerpts from Dr. Palmer Fant's memorial address, courtesy of Alvin C. Benkelman, Jr.)

      His obituary was published in the October 7, 1987 Cass City Chronicle.

      Alvin Benkelman

      Funeral services were held last month for former Cass City resident, Alvin C. Benkelman, who died Sept. 9 in Elk Creek, VA. Born May 8, 1895 in Cass City, Benkelman was a well known civil engineer in the design of flexible pavement. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1919 with a B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering and began his professional careert as a pavement and soils engineer with the Illinois Division of Highways, serving on the Bates Road Test. He then became associated with the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads and did research at Purdue University and on the Virginia Demonstration Road in 1926-28. Benkelman continued to work in research and design of flexible pavement with the Michigan State Highway Department in 1928. Returning to the bureau in 1934, Benkelman was in charge of research for the Hybla Valley Test Track and on the WASHO Road Test in Idaho. His work as Research Engineer on the AASHO Road Test in Illinois brought him in contact with engineers from all over the world who gathered to learn of road construction and durability. Benkelman is well known for his invention of the "Benkelman Beam: which is widely used in highway construction to measure pavement deflections. After retirement from the Bureau of Public Roads, he traveled extensively as a consultant for the Asphalt Institute. Benkelman was awarded the Highway Research Board's Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service award in recognition of his work in the field of highway research. In 1967 he retired to the Elk Creek Valley where he became a member of the American Tree Farmer's Association. For the past 20 years, he has enjoyed living in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, Olive S. BENKELMAN; one son, A.C. Benkelman, Jr. of Warrenton, VA; one daughter, Mrs. Ann Scott (Benkelman) PRICHARD Jr. of Sacramento, Ca.; one sister, Marie BROWN of Saginaw; 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

      (Transcribed by Melinda McLemore Strong)

      He was one the family members BonnieMargaret Jacobs personally interviewed when preparing her history of the Benkelman family.
    Person ID I851  Strong Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Aug 2014 

    Father John Adam Benkelman,   b. 26 Apr 1856, Bowmansville, Town of Lancaster, Erie County, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1952, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years) 
    Mother Augusta Catherine Freidrika Krehl,   b. 6 Mar 1870, Franklin Center, Lee County, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Feb 1934, Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Married 19 Jun 1890  Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 5
    Family ID F617  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Katherine Lynn Ayres,   b. 14 Jan 1901, Sudley, Prince William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Oct 1940, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years) 
    Married 5 Nov 1927  Sudley, Prince William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 6
    • Cass City Chronicle
      Cass City, Michigan, October 28, 1927
      Page Four
      Local News

      Invitations have been received to the wedding of Miss Katherine Lynn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Hawks Ayres, of Manasses, Virginia, and Alvin Carlton Benkelman, son of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Benkelman of Cass City. The ceremony will take place in the Sudley M.E. Church, South, at Manasses on Saturday, Nov. 5. The newleyweds will be at home to their friends after Nov. 20 at the Strathmore, 2501 18th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

      (Transcribed by Melinda McLemore Strong, Spring 2007)
    Children 
     1. Alvin Carlton Benkelman, Jr.,   b. 1 Jul 1929, Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Aug 2012, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
    Last Modified 20 Jun 2009 
    Family ID F624  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Olive Porter Scott,   b. 18 Dec 1907, Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Oct 1996, Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Married 1 Jun 1944  Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 7
    • Cass City Chronicle
      Friday, July 7, 1944
      Vol. 39, Number 15

      A. C Benkelman and Olive Thompson Wed


      Dr. and Mrs. W. W. Scott announce the marriage of their daughter, Olive Scott Thompson, to Alvin C. Benkelman of Alexandria, Virginia, on June 1 at the manse in Rockville, Maryland, with Rev. H.K. Pasma officiating.

      The bride wore a dress of aqua with brown accessories and a corsage of orchids.

      Mrs. Benkelman is a graduate of Radford College and did special work in personnel at Purdue University and at the college of William and Mary. For many years she was social director at Radford College. During the past three years she has been guidance director at the Mount Vernon high school in Alexandria.

      Mr. Benkelman, the son of John A. Benkelman, of Cass City, has been employed as an engineer by the Michigan State Highway department and the Federal Highway department since his graduation from the University of Michigan.

      The couple are making their home in Arcturus-on-the-Potomoc, Virginia, after a nothern wedding trip.


      (Transcribed by Melinda McLemore Strong, Spring 2007)
    Children 
     1. Living
    Last Modified 23 Aug 2008 
    Family ID F625  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 8 May 1895 - Cass City, Tuscola County, Michigan Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 5 Nov 1927 - Sudley, Prince William County, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1 Jun 1944 - Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 9 Sep 1987 - Elk Creek, Grayson County, Virginia Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1902, with his sisters Marie and Ida
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1902, with his sisters Marie and Ida
    Alvin with his younger sisters in 1902. Their older brothers, Glen and Dorus, were not in the photo, and younger brother, John Donald, had not yet been born.
    Benkelman Cousins in the Sugar Bush, ca 1905
    Benkelman Cousins in the Sugar Bush, ca 1905
    L to R, Glen Benkelman, Alvin Benkelman, Joe Benkelman, Ward Benkelman, and Dorus Benkelman, ready to "sugar" maple trees

    Joe and Ward, in the center of the photo, were sons of Samuel Benkelman.
    Glen, Alvin and Dorus were the eldest children of John Adam Benkelman, Sam's brother.
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catherine (Schaufele) Descendants ca 1912 Family Reunion
    Benkelman, Adam and Anna Catherine (Schaufele) Descendants ca 1912 Family Reunion
    Back, Standing, l to r: Mae Benkelman, Kate Schwegler, John Benkelman Sr., Ester Ackerman Benkelman, Minnie Jesse Benkelman, Joe Benkelman, Augusta Krehl Benkelman, Dorus Benkelman, Will Schwegler, Ward Benkelman, Ben Schwegler, Sam Benkelman

    Middle Row, kneeling, l to r: Alvin Benkelman, Harold Benkelman, Ruth Benkelman, Marie Benkelman (standing), Lena Benkelman Schwegler, Barbara Rommel Benkelman, Louisa Benkelman Schwegler

    Bottom Row, seated, l to r: Bertha Benkelman, Glen Benkelman, Ida Benkelman, Lottie Benkelman, Ben Benkelman Sr. behind his nephew John Donald Benkelman, Lois Benkelman, Ben Benkelman Jr., Alice Ross Schwegler with her baby Edward William Schwegler, and ,facing left, Mary Striffler Benkelman (Mrs. Sam)

    (Legend Courtesy of Bonnie-Margaret Benkelman Jacobs)
    Cass City High School Football Team, 1912
    Cass City High School Football Team, 1912
    Alvin is seated in the front row, second from the right
    Cass City High School Football team, 1913
    Cass City High School Football team, 1913
    Alvin Benkelman is seated on the front row, second from the left
    Cass City Basketball Thumb Champs, 1913-1914
    Cass City Basketball Thumb Champs, 1913-1914
    Alvin Benkelman, Sr. is second from the right, front row
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1915
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1915
    The son of John A. Benkelman and Augusta Krehl
    Benkelman, Dorus William ca 1940's with his wife Jane (Stickley), hosting family at Jane's cottage in Prescott, Michigan
    Benkelman, Dorus William ca 1940's with his wife Jane (Stickley), hosting family at Jane's cottage in Prescott, Michigan
    John Adam Benkelman, with his sons Alvin and Dorus, and Dorus's wife, Jane (right) and two unknown individuals

    PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY EVERYONE IN THE PHOTO
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1944 with his bride, Olive Porter Scott
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1944 with his bride, Olive Porter Scott
    Alvin, after being widowed for four years, married Olive Porter Scott on 1 June 1944 in Rockville, Maryland.
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1945
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1945
    Husband of (1) Katherine Ayres and (2)Olive Porter Scott
    B. 1895 Michigan D. 1987 Virginia
    Benkelman, John Adam ca 1946
    Benkelman, John Adam ca 1946
    John Adam Benkleman with his children and their spouses. Granddaughter Scottie Pritchard identifies those in the photo as follows: "My grandfather John Adam Benkelman front and center with is children and their spouses and I think 2 grandchildren. My parents, Benk and Olive, are on the left. Back row Alvin, Glen, maybe Bill, John's wife, John, maybe Marie's husband and Dorus. Front row Olive, Maude, John Adam, Marie and maybe Ruth her daughter?"

    PLEASE HELP US POSTIVELY IDENTIFY EVERYONE IN THIS PHOTO.
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1950's
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1950's
    Alvin Carlton "Benk" Benkelman, Sr. in center briefing a group of visiting engineers. A Chemical Engineering graduate of the University of Michigan, Benk first worked for the Illinois and Michigan Highway Departments as a research engineer. From 1934-1954 he worked for the U. S. Bureau of Public Roads in charge of structural design of flexible pavement. He is well known throughout the highway construction trade for his invention of a economical portable device to measure deflections of pavement under heavy loads which to this day carries his name, the Benkelman Beam.
    Benkelman Beam in Use AASHO Test road, ca 1962
    Benkelman Beam in Use AASHO Test road, ca 1962
    Invented by Alvin Carlton Benkelman, this was an economical portable device to measure deflections of pavement under heavy loads which to this day carries his name, the Benkelman Beam.
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1962
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1962
    Upon receipt of R. W. Crum Award, 1962, being congratulated by wives of Highway Research Board engineers. In 1948 the Highway Research Board established an award in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of transportation research. This award was known as the Highway Research Board Distinguished Service Award until 1952, when the Executive Committee redesignated it the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award as a memorial to the Board's director, Roy W. Crum, who served as head of the HRB staff from 1928 until his death in 1951. Outstanding achievement consists of the performance of distinguished service, the production of fundamental or developmental research, or the administration, promotion, or fostering of outstanding research that in the judgment of the Executive Committee is worthy of the award.

    Documents
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1922, at Road Test
    Benkelman, Alvin Carlton Sr. ca 1922, at Road Test
    Alvin at the Bates Road Test 1922

  • Sources 
    1. [S337] Benkelman, Hilda Jane Stickley THE MEMOIRS OF JOHN A. BENKELMAN (Privately Published, 1966).

    2. [S653] Cass City Chronicle, P.O. Box 115, Cass City, Michigan 48726, Published continously since 1899, archived from 1899 through 2005 at http://newspapers.rawson.lib.mi.us/chronicle/, Friday, July 7, 1944 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S653] Cass City Chronicle, P.O. Box 115, Cass City, Michigan 48726, Published continously since 1899, archived from 1899 through 2005 at http://newspapers.rawson.lib.mi.us/chronicle/, October 7, 1987 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S333] Ancestry.com - U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [database online], (Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration Death Master File contains information on millions of deceased individuals with United States social security numbers whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Birth years for the individuals listed range from 1875 to last year. Information in these records includes name, birth date, death date, and last known residence.).

    5. [S1610] Jacobs, BonnieMargaret McDonald "The Family Benkelman" Unpublished Manuscript, 276 pages, October 1981 Version, (Copy owned by Barney Benkelman, Helena, Montana; which he xeroxed and sent to Melinda McLemore Strong in San Antonio, Texas), p. 133 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S653] Cass City Chronicle, P.O. Box 115, Cass City, Michigan 48726, Published continously since 1899, archived from 1899 through 2005 at http://newspapers.rawson.lib.mi.us/chronicle/, Cass City, Michigan, October 28, 1927 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S595] Striffler-Benkelman Broadcast, (Family Publication, published sporadically to record family milestones in connection with the annual Striffler-Benkelman Family Reunions, with Vol. 1, Number 1, published Sept. 7, 1936. Issues on file at the Rawson Memorial Library in Cass City, Michigan include Vol. 5 (1941), Vol. 7 (1944) and Volumes 8 (1945) through Vol. 28 (1968). Issues published from 1961 through 1964 were not assigned volume numbers, and 1963 appears to be missing. Xeroxes of the existing issues were also made by Melinda McLemore Strong in 2007. According to a article published by the Cass City Chronicle on August 6, 1981, commemorating the Fiftieth and Final Striffler-Benkelman Reunion, the final issue of the STRIFFLER-BENKELMAN BROADCAST appears to have been Volume 28, published in 1968.), Vol. 7, September 4, 1944 (Reliability: 3).