Benjamin R. East was a Methodist minister in Itawamba County having pastored several county churches. He was born March 28, 1848 in Talledega County, Alabama, the son of Benjamin (born 1805 in South Carolina, the son of Stephen and Theresa Ray East) and Margaret Griggs East (born 1807 in Georgia). Benjamin R. married Eliza Jane Cockrell during 1868 in Alabama. She was the daughter of Elum (born May 16, 1822 in Johnston County, North Carolina) and Caroline Devaughn Cockrell (born 1824 in Georgia).
Benjamin and wife, Eliza Jane with their three year old daughter, came to Itawamba County during 1872 with the Elum Cockrell family where they first settled the New Home Church community east of Fulton. Shortly thereafter, Benjamin moved to Mantachie where he pastored the Methodist Church there. Later he owned and operated a general store near Centerville, north of Mantachie. Benjamin and his wife Eliza Jane also owned and operated the Mantachie Boarding House (bottom photo) and was elected and served as a member of the board of aldermen of the newly incorporated town of Mantachie during 1902.
Benjamin R. East died in Mantachie on June 4, 1928 and Eliza Jane died on November 14, 1933. Both are buried in the old Center Star Cemetery in Mantachie. They were the parents of one child, Sarah Ann Valula (born November 1, 1869 in Alabama, married John Isaac Beene, son of Wiley Hopkins and Julia Gantt Beene, on December 16, 1885 in Itawamba County and died June 7, 1958).