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                        Joseph S. Benfield (1807 - 1884)



                                               Joseph S. Benfield was born in Lincoln/Catawba County, NC Aug 20, 1807.   He died Jan 23, 1884 in Nebo, NC.  He married Eleanor "Nellie" Johnson in Mar 16, 1829.  Eleanor "Nellie" Johnson was born in Mitchel County, NC Feb 13, 1810 and died Apr 15, 1885.  Both graves are located at an old Benfield cemetary in a wooded area north of Goodman Lake near Oak Hill, NC area know as Quaker Meadows--off Hwy 18 between Lenoir and Morganton NC--which was land owned by Joseph S. Benfield during his lifetime.  More information at bottom of page!

                                                      Joseph S. Benfield and Eleanor Nelly Johnson Benfield 


Father>  John Benfield Jr.


Children>   William Harrison Benfield                        1841-1912
                    Joseph L. Benfield Jr.                            1831-1893   m. Mary Louise Teem
                    John J. Benfield                                    1830-1906 
                    Byard H. Benfield                                  1837-1909  m. Elizabeth Issacs
                    Starling A. Benfield                               1835-1850 
                    Lewis Benfield                                      1833-1855   m. S. J. Black
                    Doctor M. Benfield                                 1838-1861  never married-Civil War death
                    Sarah Elizabeth Benfield                       1840-1907  m. Martin Van Buren Macomson
                    Waightsill Avery Benfield                       1842-1921  m. Cynthia Elizabeth Jaynes
                    Ellen Louisa Benfield                             1844-1922  m. Ephraim Sylvester Whisnant
                    Mary J. Benfield                                     1846-1915  m. (1)John W. Beach
                                                                                                    (2)James Ellis Beach
                    James Newton Benfield                         1848-1912  m. Harriett Emma Hunter
                    Susan Adaline Benfield                          1849-1902  m. (1)Daniel Teems
                                                                                                     (2)Millard Filmore Teems
                    Jackson Vanburen Benfield                    1834-1906  m.(1) Mary Margaret Whisenat
                                                                                                     (2) Mary Ann Winters  
                    Unkown female

                                       Joseph S. Benfield Information
1829 -  Joseph and wife Eleanor "Nelly" Johnson names appear on a marriage bond
1840 - Joseph's name is indicated as head of household in NC census, living in Burke County, NC  with wife Nelly and eight children.
1843 - Land grant #5545 for 50 acres on the waters of Upper Creek issued to Joseph Benfield.
1845 To 1884 - leader in Smyrna Baptist Church.  Several times a delate to the Baptist Association.   Later involved in the founding of Zion Baptist Church--a missionary church of Smyrna Baptist--where he became a trustee of the church.
1855 - Joseph S. Benfield was appointed by the governor of NC to the lifetime position of Justice  of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.
1864 to 1865 - Civil War years--Joseph S. Benfield, with 3 sons serving with the Confederate Army, Joseph S. Benfield remained a strong and vocal supporter of The Union (along with others in the area).
1865 - Joseph S. Benfield files a claim under the Act of Congress for allowance of a horse taken by  Union troops during the last months of the Civil War.  The claim is filed with the National  Archives and is #1437.  It includes responses from Joseph and Nellie and some of their  children and neighbors.  The claim indicates he owned 300 acres near Morganton, NC.
1868 - Joseph S. Benfield appointed to serve as a member of the Republican County Committee for Burke County, NC.


     Joseph was a strong Union sympathizer.  He struggled with his feelings and had his loyalities tested. He conveyed some of his family's experiences in an April 1873 sworn deposition for his claim involving a mare stolen by Union Troops during Stoneman's raid. Both sides had stolen from the BENFIELD family, including another mare taken earlier by Confederate troops. Joseph told Stoneman's troops, "It seemed hard for both armies to take from me"  Joseph said he tried to keep his sons out of the "rebel army" as well as "all the men in my settlement." He fed Union men who were keeping out of the "rebel army," as well as some Union soldiers who had escaped from prison in Charlotte. "Colonel Walton ordered his militia to begin burning my house on account of my Union sentiments, but it was not done. Some of the militia refused to burn it."  Seven BENFIELD sons of Joseph S. served in the CSA:  John Jackson; Joseph L.; Jackson Van Buren; Byard Henry; Doctor M.; William Harrison; and Waightstill Avery.  Jackson Van Buren and Doctor M. Benfield died while serving in the Civil War.


   On 23 April 1839, at an auction, Joseph paid $211 for 250 acres belonging to the heirs of James Murphy. He added 50 acres with a land grant in 1843. On this farm in Quaker Meadows township in the  present day Goodman Lake area, Joseph and Eleanor raised their family. Prominent in his community, Joseph served as a leader in the Smyrna Baptist Church. Instrumental in the formation of Zion Baptist as an arm of Smyrna, Joseph later served as a trustee of Zion. In 1855, the governor appointed Joseph as a Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. In 1868, Joseph was appointed to serve on the Burke County Republican Committee




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