Joseph H. Defrees

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Joseph DeFrees
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867
Preceded byJoseph K. Edgerton
Succeeded byWilliam Williams
Indiana State Representative
In office
In office
Elkhart County Sheriff
In office
Personal details
Born(1812-05-13)May 13, 1812
Sparta, Tennessee, US
DiedDecember 21, 1885(1885-12-21) (aged 73)
Goshen, Indiana, US
Political partyRepublican

Joseph Hutton DeFrees (May 13, 1812 – December 21, 1885) was an American businessman and politician who served one term as a U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1865 to 1867.

His brother, John D. Defrees, was a major figure in Indiana Republican party politics.


Born in Sparta, Tennessee, DeFrees moved to Ohio with his parents, who settled in Piqua in 1819. He attended the common schools. Defrees was an apprentice to the blacksmith trade from 1826 to 1829, and learned the art of printing. He moved to Indiana and settled in South Bend in 1831, where he established the Northwestern Pioneer. He moved to Goshen, Indiana, in 1833 and engaged in mercantile pursuits and later in banking.

Defrees served as sheriff of Elkhart County between 1835 and 1840. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1849, then served in the Indiana Senate between 1850 and 1854. He returned to the state house in 1872.


DeFrees was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1866.

Later career and death

He resumed his former business pursuits. He was also interested in milling, the manufacture of linseed oil, and the construction of the Goshen Hydraulic Works. He served as director of the Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railroad and served as its first president.

He died at Goshen, Indiana, December 21, 1885. He was interred in Oak Ridge Cemetery.


  • United States Congress. "Joseph H. Defrees (id: D000192)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 10th congressional district

1865 – 1867
Succeeded by

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress