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JOEL B. BENEFIEL. In Madison County where he has spent his entire life, and where his ability as a farmer and business man and citizen is highly appreciated, Joel B. Benefiel is now serving as incumbent of the important County office of auditor. His residence is in Pendleton, and his name has been known in the southwestern section of the County since 1889.
Of all the old and respected families of Madison County, it is doubtful if any has played a more important part than the Benefiels, in the settlement, development and the business and civic activities of this section. The present Madison County auditor is the only s0n of W. H. H. Benefiel and Jennie H. (Epperly) Benefiel, both of whom still reside at Pendleton. The career of the elder Benefiel in Madison County has been an interesting one, and among the old-timers none can relate with keener memory and with better appreciation of relative values in a story reminiscences of old-timers in Madison County than W. H. H, Benefiel. He tells not only the experiences of his own life, but the life and experiences of many pioneers in this section of Indiana, and a younger generation may better understand what pioneer life meant when they hear the elder Benefiel describe the corn-huskings. the log-rollings, the apple cuttings, and similar incidents and activities in which the first settlers in Madison County engaged. Among the old-timers still living probably W. H. H. Benefiel knows and can recall that early life better than any other of his contemporaries. From him one may gain a graphic word picture of the old school house with its puncheon flo0rs, with its windows admitting light through greased paper, and with its various other primitive facilities and furnishings. In these schools were taught the three R’s-reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. His memory even goes back to the pioneer and green forests, the wild deer and other game, which haunted this country before the advent of the white man and railroads and other facilities of civilization had exterminated them. Mr. Benefiel and his good wife now reside in a beautiful and comfortable home at Pendleton, and are honored by all their old and young friends, among whom there is none to begrudge them the enjoyment of the fruits of their early industry and savings.
Joel B. Benefiel was born on the old home farm in Jackson Township December 20, 1867, and all his early career was spent in the rural district. When he arrived at the proper age he entered the local schools, and proved himself an eager student, and when his services were needed at home he gave the benefit of his labors in morning and evening and in vacation time to the multifarious details which always require attention on a farm. When he was about fifteen years old, in order to secure a better education, he entered the high school at Frankton, and there studied and obtained much useful knowledge which has been of benefit to him in all his life and in the business world. When his school days were finished, he took up farming as his regular vocation, and followed that in connection with stock raising and the manufacturing of cheese for many years.
Mr. Benefiel’s career as a farmer brought him more than ordinary success, and it was his standing as a responsible business man and efficient agriculturist that finally brought him into public affairs. In 1911 he was chosen auditor of Madison. County, and took charge of that office on January 1, 1912. In 1911 after his election to office he moved from the farm to Pendleton. Mr. Benefiel is accommodating and efficient as auditor, and his administration of the 0ffice has brought credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituency.
In October, 1890, Mr. Benefiel was united in marriage with Hannah. J. Gusinger. Their marriage has been blessed with the following children: Leon G., born February 22, 1892, a graduate of the Pendleton high scho0l and now deputy auditor under his father; Horace I., born April 23, 1894, a graduate of the Pendleton high school; William E., born September 10, 1896; Mary A., born September 30, 1898; Nora J., born October 29, 1900; and Martha A., born April 30, 1905; and Joel T., born September 25, 1907. The family are communicants of the Catholic church and Mr. Benefiel is affiliated with the Knights of Columbus at Anderson.
Since taking up his duties as County auditor, Mr. Benefiel has disposed of his farming interests in Madison County. He is a man who is well and favorably regarded throughout this County, has made a record for honesty and honorable dealings, and has won many of the finest fruits of life, c0nsisting not only of material prosperity, but the fine esteem of a community, which takes occasion to shows complete confidence in his integrity.