Valentine, Joel
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VALENTINE, JOEL, was born in Jackson, Washington county, N. Y., January 22, 1791. He was brought up a farmer, and had the usual limited opportunities for education afforded in those days by the district school, which opportunities he seemed to have improved. He was for a short time a soldier in the War of 1812 and 1814. His father served in the Revolutionary War. In early manhood he worked his full time as an apprentice in learning the clothier's trade. He was married in 1821 to Miss Judith Wells, also of Jackson, N. Y. He moved to Bennington in 1822, and hired what was known as the Waibridge Fulling Mill, situated at Bennington Falls, and there did a small business in manufacturing woolen cloths. In the year 1824 he purchased lands and a water privilege in Bennington village, then called in derision "Algiers." His business was taking wool of the farmers and making it into cloth, and fulling, coloring and finishing their home-woven flannels. He also carded wool into what were called rolls, for the spinning.wheels of the thrifty dames of those days. He was doing a thriving business, when in 1836 his factory, which was insured for only a few hundred dollars, was destroyed by fire. He improvised a small man ufactory in one of his outbuildings, where he worked for nine years. At the end of that time he was able to build a substantial brick structure, which became in later years a part of his son's knitting mill, and was destroyed by fire in 1884.

Mr. Valentine was economical in his habits, and as a business man careful and prudent, and for those days successful. He was honest to a fault, his word being as good as his note, and there was never cause to question either. His stern, unyielding integrity was proverbial, and no persuasion could induce him to give or spend one cent beyond the warrant of his means and business prospects.

Few, if any, did more to shape the course of Bennington village in its early history than did Joel Valentine. With a judgment unsually clear, and possessing decided opinions, he was active in promoting what he considered the best good of the village. He was one of the promoters of the educational institu-. tion so long and widely known as Union Academy. His private life was above reproach.

In early years he was a strong Jackson Democrat, later oi a Free Soiler, then an Abolitionist, and at the breaking out of the rebellion he became an ardent Republican He was town selectman for a number of years and held many positions of public trust. He took an active and liberal part in the support of the Baptist Church, of which he was a member. He was a strong ternperance man, and believed in the prohibitory law and its enforcemcnt. Such a man would naturally make some enemies, and many friends. Four children were born to him, two of whom died in infancy. A son, Samuel Wells, lived to the age of nineteen, and his son, Alonzo B. Valentine, was his only surviving child at the time of his death, July 17, 1866.

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