Born in Eden, New York, Bennett's family moved in Wisconsin and he attended the University of Michigan. Bennett began publishing his poems and prose in newspapers in the 1850s. After serving as a superintendent of a school district as well as associate editor of a newpaper, The Independent in Wisconsin, Benentt volunteered to serve in the Civil War.
After the war, Bennett was the proprietor of a drugstore and then graduated from medical school in 1874. While working as a doctor, he wrote approximately 100 texts for hymns, which were published in The Signet Ring, a collection of hymns which was compiled by Joseph P. Webster and published in 1868. The only hymn text still in use today is "The Sweet By and By."
Source: New York Times and 101 More Hymn Stories (Osbeck)