JOSEPH P. HEBENSTREIT, Superintendent of the Consolidated Coal Company's Mines at Staunton and Mt. Olive, including shafts numbers 6, 7, 8 and 10, has occupied his present position since September 1, 1890, and makes his home in Staunton, where he has resided almost continuously since 1876. The story of his life is as follows: He was born at Christmulhousen, Prussia, June 29, 1849, and is a son of Philip J. Hebenstreit, who was also born in the same country and learned the miller's trade. In his native land he married Cathrina Dietrick, and unto them were born two children, Joseph and William. With his family, in March, 1852, the father sailed from Bremen and after a long and tedious voyage of seven weeks landed at New York City, whence he made his way to Belleville, Ill. He there engaged in coal mining, being one of the first miners of that place and carried on the business until 1878, when he removed to Staunton where he has since lived a retired life, being now seventy three years of age. His first wife died in Belleville, the same week of her arrival, her death being caused by cholera, which was then epidemic throughout the country. Mr. Hebenstreit again married, his wife who died some years later in Staunton, leaving five sons. He was a third time married in Staunton, his last union being with Mrs. Annie Ring, who is still living. The children of his first marriage are Joseph and William, the latter a mechanic in Staunton.
The subject of this sketch was only three years of age when his parents came to the United States and therefore almost his entire life has been spent in Illinois where he grew to mature years and was educated. He entered upon his business career as a miner at the age of fourteen years and his long experience has therefore ably fitted him for the responsible position which he now holds. He located in Staunton in 1876 but afterward spent four years as a professional miner of coal and minerals in Colorado. He is now Superintendent of some of the leading mines in this part of the State. Of one in particular, No. 6, he has been in charge of for many years, having been its manager when it was owned by Voge & Seivers; later when it was the property of the Ellsworth Mining Company from 1882 until 1887, and since it has come under the control of the Consolidated Mining Company of St. Louis. This mine is the most productive in this region and the output in 1889 was two hundred thirty-five thousand tons, and in 1890 - two hundred eighty five thousand three hundred and eight tons of coal the largest output in the State and Mt. Olive, No. 8, with an output of two hundred thirty thousand tons ranks the third.
In Belleville, Ill., Mr. Hebenstreit was united in marriage with Frances Kiefer, who was born and reared in Randolph County. She died in Staunton, January 5, 1881, at the birth of triplets, two sons and a daughter, who died in infancy. She left three sons to mourn her loss - Thomas Gotleib, an engineer for the Consolidated Coal Company; Albert J. and Henry E., who are yet at home. The mother was then twenty-six years of age, and many friends mourned her early death. Mr. Hebenstreit was again married in Staunton, his second union being with Mrs. Mary Carlton, a native of Missouri, who in that State became the wife of Joseph Carlton, a brakeman, who was killed in a railroad wreck on the Iron Mountain Road in Missouri, at the age of twenty-six years. By that union were born two sons, Fred and Joe, both yet living. Three children grace the second marriage - Carrie, Robert and William.
Mr. and Mrs. Hebenstreit are members of the Catholic Church, and in politics he is a Republican. A practical and skillful miner, he occupies a responsible position, but his duties have never been slighted in the least. He has the entire confidence of his employers whom he has served since 1881, and those with whom social relations have brought him in contact also hold him in high regard.