The House of David was a religious cult in the late 1800 to the mid 1900 in Benton Harbor Michigan. Benjamin Purnell was the leader and founder of this cult. He was known as King Ben by the cult, and the local people. He had a large following, and every member that joined, turned over all their money and land to King Ben. The church, as it was known to the followers, was at one time the largest land owner in Berrien County. It is known for sure, that one family handed over $100,000+ to King Ben when they joined the church. Over the span of 20 to 25 years that King Ben was in command of the church, it is believed that he took in over $11,000,000 . Over half of this money can not be accounted for.
King Ben Died in 1927 after a long battle with the local law enforcement over his belief that he must" purify” all the young women when they come of age. He did this by having them live with him for a month or so. It was at this time his wife moved out of the main mansion. She recalled that when she departed from the mansion, that there were bales of currency, milk pails of gold and silver coins and bags full gold and silver jewelry. When she moved back in the mansion, every thing was gone. He had hidden all of his treasure to keep it from the law, and to have it if he needed to run before they put him in jail.
I can remember as a kid going here for outings and train rides
South side of King Ben house
King Ben house