He left that vocation and was employed by the Millersburg local newspaper in 1876 and afterward became editor and proprietor. He moved to Minnesota in 1882 and settled in Glencoe. In 1884 he moved to Northfield and published the Northfield News.
He was a delegate to the Republican State conventions in 1886 and 1888; elected secretary of the Republican State central committee in 1886 and 1888 and served as chairman in 1890; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1888. He was appointed a member of the Board of Regents of the State University in 1890. He was president of the State Editorial Association.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1892 to the 53rd Congress, but was elected mayor of Northfield in 1894. He was elected as a Republican to the 54th, 55th, 56th, and 57th Congresses, (March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1903). He served as chairman of the Committee on Ventilation and Acoustics (55th Congress).
He did not seek renomination in 1902. He resumed his former newspaper pursuits. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Minnesota in 1908 and died in Northfield, Minnesota, aged 53, and interred in Oaklawn Cemetery there.
The unincorporated community of Heatwole, Minnesota is named in his honor.
- United States Congress. "Joel Heatwole (id: H000434)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Joel Heatwole at Find a Grave
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Osee M. Hall
| U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 3rd congressional district
1895 – 1903
Charles Russell Davis