In History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Clarence Bagley writes that Benton, who was born in Iowa and came to Seattle in 1890 from Montana,
…spent many years with different railroad companies. For a time he was connected with the Great Northern and later he became general passenger and freight agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Seattle. The last few years of his life were spent in connection with the safe and lock trade. He was associated with the Norris Safe & Lock Company… Later Mr. Norris took over the safe and lock company and Mr. Benton the desk department of the business, after which he was joined by Edward Herald in a partnership that was continued under the name of the Benton-Herald Desk & Safe Company until [his death].
Born and raised in Seattle, Benjamin Donguk Lukoff had his interest in local history kindled at the age of six, when his father bought him settler granddaughter Sophie Frye Bass’s Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle at the gift shop of the Museum of History and Industry. He studied English, Russian, and linguistics at the University of Washington, and went on to earn his master’s in English linguistics from University College London. His book of rephotography, Seattle Then and Now, was published in 2010. An updated version came out in 2015.