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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

BENTON, Thomas Hart, Jr

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BENTON, Thomas Hart, Jr. (Tennessee, Sept. 5, 1816--St. Louis, MO, Apr. 10, 1879). Iowa Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1848 through 1854. In 1838 Benton came to Dubuque and established a classical school. Elected to the Iowa senate in 1846, he served as chairperson of the educational committee and took an active role in the creation of the third Iowa general school law in 1847.

In 1849, at a meeting of the Mining Regions Teachers Association in Dubuque, Benton was among the signers of a call for a national convention of friends of education to meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a result of this meeting, the American Association for the Advancement of Education was formed in 1850. Benton was chosen to become a member of its Executive Committee.

After his tenure as superintendent of public instruction, Benton served from 1858 to 1864 as secretary of the Iowa State Board of Education and the executive head of the Iowa state system of schools.