Samuel Benner (1832-1913) - Author

Samuel Benner

Samuel Benner Book

Samuel Benner was born at Bloom Furnace, Lawrence County, August 17 1832, by his parents who were natives of Alsace, Loraine, Germany, coming to Ohio in 1803.

He was a prosperous farmer, wiped out financially by the 1873 panic and a hog cholera epidemic. In retirement, he set about to establish the causes and timing of fluctuations in the economy. In 1875, he published business and commodity price forecasts for the period 1876 to 1904 (see Diagram 1). In his book, charts were produced giving;

*           an 11 year cycle in corn and pig prices with peaks alternating every 5 and 6 years.

*           cotton prices which moved in a cycle with peaks every 11 years.

*           a 27 year cycle in pig iron prices with lows every 11, 9, 7 years and peaks in the order 8, 9, 10 years.

Samuel Benner's book is available at Open Library.


The following is a posting on RootsWeb by Randy Sue McKeever" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

SOURCE: Republican Tribune Jan 7 , 1913 Vinton County Newspaper

"For Years Prominent in the Iron Business and Author of Benner's Prophecies Dies at His Home in Dundas"

Samuel Benner, aged 80 years died at his home at Dundas Thursday of last
week of Brights Disease. Funeral services were held at the home Saturday at
2 pm conducted by REv. D. B. Dye, burial in the Hixon Cemetery.
He was born at Bloom Furnace, Lawrence County, August 17, 1832, by his
parents who were natives of Alsace, Loraine, Germany, coming to Ohio in
1803. He was the first Postmaster at Latrobe Furnace in Jackson county in
1855 and was afterward bookkeeper at Keystone Furnace and later manager at
Eagle Furnace in this county, where he lived at the beginning of the Civil
War. He enlisted in Co. L 12th Ohio Cavalry on February 26, 1864 and was
promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 1865 at Lexington Kentucky. After the close
of the war, he returned to Eagle Furnace and in 1868 was married to Ellen
Salts, moving to Bainbridge, Ohio in 1880, where he resided a few years,
later moving to Dundas, where he lived continuously until his death.
Mr. Benner for a number of years made a study and issued forecasts of
financial conditions of th
e country, the trend of the iron business in which he was engaged for many
years being the basis for his forecasts, which appeared in his book of
prophecies in the 80's and with supplements from time to time up to 19087
forecasting events and conditions of the Country and predicting the advance
or falling off of prices of iron, farm products, etc and the effect produced
on business.
His book had wide circulation and bankers and business men in the money
centers of the country had a copy on their desks or in their libraries,
frequent comments of the Metropolitan newspapers of a complimentary nature
appearing from time to time as his forecasts were issued. ( final page of
copied obit is missing)


SOURCE: McArthur Deemocrat Enquirer Newspaper Vinton County, Ohio Jan 8,

Was Known in the Financial World As An Accurate Prophet.

Samuel T. Benner, one of Vinton county's oldest and best known residents
died at his home near Dundas last Thursday after a long illness. The funeral
was conducted from the home on Saturday Elder D. B. Dye of Hamden
officiating, followed by interment in the Hickson ( Hixon) Cemetery.

Mr. Benner was born in Pike County ( differs from the Republican Tribune
article above) and at the time of his death was little past 80 years of

His father was one of the founders of the Eagle Furnace, at what is now
known as Oreton, and the son first came to this county when he was employed
at this concern in the capacity of bookkeeper. Later he became
superintendent of the plant.

Mr. Benner was a veteran of the Civil War, having been a member of Company L
of 12th Ohio Cavalry.

Some years ago, Mr. Benner published a series of books, known as Benner's
Prophesies, which treated future ups and downs in prices and market
conditions generally but dealing particularly to the iron and steel
industry. So accurate were his deductions that his prophesies were in much
demand and were closely regarded in Wall Street and other sections where
large financial operations were carried on.

When the steel trust was formed, Mr. Benner declared that this great
organization would so control the markets that it would prevent the natural
trend of affairs and he therefore declined to make any more forecasts. His
last prophesies were made in 1908 and extended over the period of 1913.


SOURCE: Republican Tribune Feb 21, 1945 and also the Democrat Enquirer May

"Vinton Countian First to Work Out Theory of Business Cycles."

Caption under the chart- "Just how accurately Samuel Benner was able to
forecast economic trends is shown on this chart, which was made from data in
one of his books "Benner's Prophecy". The line A represent good times
and the Line X represents hard times and the line Z represents years of

Writings of Samuel Benner, of Dundas, Back in
1875, Amaze Experts Today Because of Uncanny Accuracy of his charts of
Depression and Prosperity.


Back in 1875, a Vinton County farmer, Samel Benner of Dundas, was a good
observer. He noted how the ups and downs of business, even in the day when
depressions were called "panics" seemed to run in ordinary cycles.

Resolving to set this down in writing, he published his forecasts in book
form, calling them " Benner's Prophecies". So popular did the books become,
that it was printed in sixteen editions up to 1907, and Samuel Benner became
known as the first man to work out the theory of business cycles, which is
accepted by all economists and government experts today.
Today "Benner Prophecies" are charts in existence published in not only
interesting as historical works but his uncanny accuracy in predicting the
good and bad times in the nation has caused his charts to become widely
circulated by insurance companies and financial experts.
A drop to a depression in 1911 is borne out by facts, The the line ascends
to the exceeding prosperity. Sam Benner did not know there was to be a World
War, but there is the World War in black and white.
Then a decline is "hard times" in 1924 is shown by a boom which reached
its peak in 1926 during the "Coolidge prosperity period".
The big depression he shows at its height in 1931. Then he predicted an
upturn until 1931. Then he predicted an upturn until 1936, and a downward
swing, which is evidenced around us today.
However, most persons hope that Mr. Benner's prophecy that the present
recession will not until 1942 does not come about.
The book " Benner's Prophecies" was printed in sixteen editions, the first
in 1875 and the last in 1907. About 6,000 copies were sold through the
publisher, the Robert Clark company of Cincinnati.
Much publicity was given the book by the financial firm of Henry Clews and
Company, New York City, by Ainsworth Financial Service and by the Lincoln
Mutual Company. About ten years ago, as a matter of general interest the
Department of Commerce published the chart.
Mr. Benner based his predictions on commodity prices, particularly pig
iron, hogs, corn, cotton and provisions prior to 1875.
He indicated by charts the years of panics of good and bad times and from
the beginning of the 19th century showing the relationship between these
events in the business cycle.
Based upon the events of the past, he was able to chart and predict the ups
and downs of the the prices of commodities and the years of panic in the
immediate future.
Quoting from Ainsworth Financial Service, of November 25, 1935. " According
to Benner's chart, (which I believe is the oldest cycle chart in existence
published in book form) the lapse of time from low prices to high prices
runs in cycles of nine, seven and eleven years."
From 1884 to 1907 thirteen forecasts were made. Due to failing health, Mr
Benner made no predictions after 1907.
Samuel Turner Benner was born in Bainbridge, Ross County Ohio in August 17,
1832. In early life he was associated with his father operating charcoal
furnaces in the iron ore section of Southern Ohio and was well known as a
Later he returned to Bainbridge and operated a woolen mill. In 1879 he
returned to a farm near Dundas, remaining there until his death January 1,
1913. This farm is familiar to all residents of Jackson and Vinton Counties,
being the site of Benner's Lake. The farm was owned and operated by his son
Stephen Benner, whose wife was Lucy Cobb, daughter of the late John C.H.
Cobb, one of the founders of Wellston.
Mr. Benner was a great reader, keeping posted on the both national and
foreign affairs. He is also said to have charted the probability of floods
from general observation.
After the publication of Benner's prophecies, he received many letters from
businessmen. The letters continued to come in at intervals long after his
death. It has been 31 years since his last prediction. A war has occurred,
involving at least commercially every nation in the world.
Captain Ralph Benner, of Washington D.C. is intensely interested in his
grandfather's predictions and in a letter written in this connection, said
recently, " In a business cycle, wars, weather, politics and government, for
a short time will influence the trend in the ups and downs of price. It can
be taken as a fundamental principle, in the words of Patrick Henry, "Judge
the future by the past". We are in a normal natural decline that will end
prior to 1942, probably before 1940. Business must build on a better
foundation. This will be done despite war, weather and politics, and will be
reflected in an upturn in the Stock Market."