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Donald Casad Bennett family papers

Identifier: Ms-0456

Scope and Content

The Donald Casad Bennett family papers contain the personal and professional papers of Donald Casad Bennett and the Casad and Bennett families, as well as materials pertaining to Donald's wives' families. The collection is divided into ten series: Personal papers, Family history, Jari Bennett, Mildred Clough Bennett, Ruth Kaechele Bennett, Ellen Light Bennett, and Sigal family, Images, Collected material and Maps.

The papers were amassed by Donald Casad Bennett and include family genealogical information he collected on his family extending back two generations. Correspondence, oral history interviews, photographs, albums, scrapbooks, sheet music, stamps and papers all document the various family histories. His childhood on the Bennett family farm and memories of his Casad and Bennett relatives are contained within the papers. Also included is information regarding Donald's professional life as a flight instructor during World War II, as a salesman and as a farmer in Dell City, Texas. A particularly strong portion of the collection is the correspondence between the Donald Casad Bennett family and the Sigal family. Donald???s oldest sister Marguerite married Albert Sigal in 1917.

The family history includes material from both the Bennett and Casad families, though it is stronger in Bennett family history, reaching back to early 19th century family members. Information regarding the first Joseph Francis Bennett and his service during the Civil War is contained within the collection. Donald himself conducted oral history interviews in the late 1950s of his family and other Dona Ana County. Information regarding his siblings Marguerite Sigal, known as Peggy or Rite, Joseph Francis III, Delmer and Dorothy Warner is also contained within the collection.

The material relating to Donald's fourth wife Ellen Light include papers relating to her father, Claude V. Light and her mother, Florence MacPherson Light. These papers cover the time the family spent in Mexico and the mining interests and work Claude had there. Included are mining certificates, family scrapbooks, correspondence and photographs.


  • 1873-2004

Language of Materials


Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

Copyrights associated with this collection have not been transferred and assigned to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

Donald Casad Bennett was born March 30, 1910 in El Paso, TX to Gertrude Casad, daughter of Thomas Casad and Sarah van Winkle, and Joseph Francis Bennett II, son of Colonel Joseph F. Bennett and Dolores "Lola" Patton. Donald was the youngest of the 5 Bennett siblings, Marguerite, Joseph Francis III, Delmer and Dorothy. Donald spent his early years on the family farm outside of Canutillo, Texas. The Bennett family moved to Mexico City, Mexico and Donald and his siblings attended the school administered by Florence MacPherson Light. The family soon returned to El Paso where Donald attended high school, graduating in 1927. Donald spent 1927-1929 at Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso), followed by 1929-1930 at the Michigan College of Mining Technology (now Michigan Technological University) in Houghton, Michigan. He then attended the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, 1930-1931. After college, he returned to help run the family farm in Canutillo.

In 1934 he worked as an advertising warehouse manager for the Pabst Blue Ribbon Corporation in San Francisco, and then to the General Brewing Corporation. This same year he married Mildred Clough, daughter of Mary Rex Clough and Frank M. Clough, with whom he would have one daughter, Jari Carol Bennett. Jari was born in Panama City, Florida in 1943. The family then moved to El Paso where Donald worked for Standard Brands, though soon after he returned to farming on a 120 acre farm he purchased in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Around this time, Donald obtained his pilot's licenses. During World War II he was employed by the W. C. Fawcett Flying Service to train Navy cadets in Kerrville, Texas. He was then inducted into the Army at Fort Bliss, Texas and consigned to Scott Field in Illinois and then to South Dakota. After his discharge, Donald returned to Las Cruces and in 1945 he built the Mission Motel in Las Cruces.

After the death of Mildred in 1949, Jari went to live with her Aunt Marguerite Bennett Sigal and Uncle Albert Sigal in California. Donald farmed in Dell City, Texas until 1966. During this time he also sold farming equipment for International Harvester. He was briefly married to Frances Kyle from 1952 to 1953. In 1954, he married Ruth Kaechele. She was born February 14, 1925 in Moline, Michigan. She and Donald had two sons, Donald Jr. born December 12, 1954 and Joseph born January 23, 1956. Ruth and Donald divorced in 1966. The farm would be lost to two seasons of hail in 1966. Ruth died September 30, 1984 in El Paso, Texas.

On April 1, 1975, Donald married Ellen Light whom he had known as a child in Mexico, and growing up in El Paso. They remained in El Paso, Texas. Donald died in 1984 in El Paso and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruces, NM. Ellen died in El Paso in 1987.


61.00 linear feet


The collection contains the family papers of Donald Casad Bennett. Includes family histories of pioneering Mesilla Valley families.


The collection is divide into ten series, with subseries.
  1. Casad and Bennett families, 1880-1985
  2. Bennett Grimm, 1950-1995
  3. Mildred Clough, 1910-1988
  4. Ellen Light, 1880-1989
  5. Sigal family, 1897-1985

Related Material

Casad-Lane family papers. Ms 0440. Archives and Special Collections Department. New Mexico State University Library.

Corn Exchange Hotel Register. Ms 0080. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Image of Stephenson-Bennett mine, Ms 00040167. Amador family papers. Ms 0004. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Images of Stephenson-Bennett mine, Ms 00140011-00140018, 00140020-00140027. Louis B. Bentley papers. Ms 0014. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Foster and Smith families papers (unprocessed collection). RG2003-083. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Items separated to Special Collections

Items belonging to Donald Casad Bennett Sexton, Lydia. Autobiography of Lydia Sexton From 1799-1872.

Items belonging to Joseph F. Bennett Carpenter, Donald A. Hunting Big Game In The Sierras of Chihuahua. Copp, Henry N. United States Mineral Lands; Laws Governing Their Occupancy and Disposal. Washington, D.C. 1882. Rogers, Allen. Manual of Industrial Chemistry. 4th ed. vol. II. NY: D. Van Norstrand Company, 1926.


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections Department
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (575) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (575) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Guide to the Donald Casad Bennett family papers, 1874-2003
Processed by Maura Kenny, Cecelia Carrasco, Leslie Bergloff and Maribel Tellez
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA