Joseph L. Bennett, military officer, moved to Texas in the spring of 1834 and settled in what is now Waller County. At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution he volunteered and served as a captain under the command of Stephen F. Austin during October–November 1835. As a participant in the siege of Bexar, he fought at the battle of Concepción. He received an honorable discharge on November 25, 1835, with the intention of returning to the army with another company. About March 1, 1836, he set out with his company for San Antonio, planning to march to the relief of the beleaguered garrison at the Alamo, but upon reaching the Colorado River, he learned of the fall of the fort. Thereupon Bennett joined Sam Houston's army at Beeson's Crossing and was commissioned captain on March 12. With the reorganization of the army on April 8 he was elected lieutenant colonel of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers. Bennett fought with distinction at the battle of San Jacinto. According to his account in a letter to Houston he actually led the regiment of which Sherman was the nominal commander, while Sherman skulked in "a small island of timber." On May 27, 1837, Bennett received Houston's commission as colonel and appointment as commander of a regiment of "mounted gunmen" for the protection of the frontier.
Bennett served in the House of Representatives of the Third and Fourth congresses of the Republic of Texas, November 5, 1838, through February 3, 1840. He represented Montgomery County as a stout supporter of the policies of Sam Houston. During this period he also held the government contract for the delivery of mail between Houston and Montgomery.
In 1842 Bennett raised a battalion for the Somervell expedition, but when most of his men returned to their homes soon after the expedition reached the Rio Grande, he joined the battalion commanded by Maj. Bartlett Sims. When Alexander Somervell ordered the command back into Central Texas, however, Bennett agreed to return and not take part in what became known as the Mier expedition.
In 1848 he moved from Montgomery to Navarro County and settled on his headright, located partly in Navarro County and partly in Freestone County. The present town of Streetman is within three miles of the old Bennett home, where Bennett died in the fall of 1848. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and five children.