Dr. Joseph Davis Bennett


The subject of this sketch was born in New Bloomfield, Callaway Co., Missouri, May 25, 1840 and was graduated at Westminster College, Baltimore, Md. At the beginning of the war he left school and entered the Confederate army under the command of Gen. Sterling Price, was surrendered at Shreveport, LA, then returned home, studied medicine, graduated at St. Louis Medical College and practiced medicine in Assumption, Ill. He came to Florida in 1883 on account of failing health and raised a large beautiful orange grove, which was swept from the earth by the freeze of 1896, along with almost all the groves in Florida. This was the first year the trees bore fruit. He then left the farm and came to Crystal River and practiced medicine until the present time, which he has found much more profitable than cultivating orange trees.

The doctor was married to Miss Luella Huron of Avon, Indiana in 1873. He and his wife have done much to advance education in Citrus County. He was president of the Board of Education for fourteen years. When he came into office there was scarcely a decent school house in the county. He remained on the Board to see the comfortable and elegant buildings in every district in the county and the term lengthened from three to six, eight and ten months Seeing the necessity of trained teachers and the very few home boys and girls who were able to teach or had the means to go away to obtain an education, Mrs. Bennett opened a Normal School in their house and gave instruction in the advance branches. Many were unable to pay for board and were taken in expecting to pay when they could teach; and be it said to this noble band of boys and girls, almost everyone paid up the last dollar when they began teaching.

The doctor is also a staunch elder in the Presbyterian Church. When he came here there was no church organization of any kind. Mrs. Bennett commenced a Sunday school the first Sunday after their arrival on their homestead and taught under a pine tree. This school enlarged and developed into a Presbyterian Church, which still flourishes and has built a large comfortable church edifice with preaching every Sunday and the members are erecting a very large, beautiful parsonage. The doctor is still hale and hearty and does a large practice and bids fair to continue for several years practicing his noble profession of medicine. 

Source: Crystal River News: 1905  
Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers

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