Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Carville Dickinson Benson (1872-1929)
MSA SC 3520-1652


Born near Halethorpe, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 24, 1872.  Son of Oregon Randolph Benson and Carvilla (Brian) Benson.  Attended the public schools of Baltimore; preparatory schools; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, graduated 1890; L.L.B., University of Baltimore Law School, 1893.  Admitted to the Maryland bar, 1893.  Married Harriette C. Miller, October 18, 1893.  Children:  Carville D., Jr.; John Oregon; William Howard; Brian Miller; Harriette L; and Carvilla.  Resided in Halethorpe, Maryland.  Died of a heart attack at Mercy Hospital on February 8, 1929.  Interred in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Brooklyn Station, Baltimore, Maryland.

Carville D. Benson began his career as a lawyer in Baltimore after he passed the bar in 1893.  He served as a member of the State House of Delegates from 1904 to 1910 and again in 1918 (speaker, 1906).  Some of the issues on which he worked in the House of Delegates were the regulation of child labor; dealing with the effects of a dwindling oyster harvest in the Chesapeake Bay; and a proposal to impose fines for selling cigarettes in a state with many tobacco farmers dependent upon the crop.  Benson was named to head a committee to investigate the B & O Railroad, which was failing to pay dividends to its stockholders.  He also helped craft legislation to create better roads that was adopted in 1908.  He opposed Prohibition and women's suffrage.  In 1911 he was elected to the State senate and served from 1912 to 1914.  He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1916, 1924, and 1928.  On November 18, 1918 he took up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives left vacant by the death of Joshua F. C. Talbott.  He was elected to the sixty-sixth Congress in 1919 and served until March 3, 1921.  He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1920 and returned to his hometown of Halethorpe with the honorary title of "mayor," one that had been given to his father before him.  He resumed the practice of law in Baltimore and in 1924 was appointed insurance commissioner of Maryland.  He served in that position until his death in Baltimore on February 8, 1929.

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