The Town of Benson derives its name from Alfred Monroe “Mim” Benson, a farmer who purchased a 402-acre tract of land in 1874 along the Smithfield-Fayetteville Road.
Benson owes its existence to the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad which was surveyed to pass through the town’s present location in 1886. The town soon became an important commercial center for families farming in the areas around Elevation, Bentonville, Mingo Swamp, McGee’s Crossroads, Blackman’s Crossroads and Meadow.
On March 7, 1887 the North Carolina General Assembly voted on the petition for the incorporation of Benson. The charter detailed procedures for government, elections and boundaries and was filed in the county courthouse April 16, 1889. This area would no longer be referred to as “that little settlement east of Mingo” or “that community on Mim Benson’s land,” but would be called Benson.
Under the provisions of the charter, the railroad agent here was chosen to be mayor. The first mayor was Eli Cavenaugh, and his board of commissioners included Stephen H. O’Neal, David H. Wallace and Chris C. Ryals. During the 1880s, A. M. Benson sold off lots around the new railroad station, and local farmers and businessmen quickly sought out opportunities to do business in Benson. By 1895, the population of Benson was 200.