Friday, April 03, 2009

Joslin Family :: What Happened Next?

There are no more letters written between Irwin and Grandma in her files though I'm sure they stayed in contact with each other. I wonder, why didn't she keep all of his letters?

Grandma received a letter from Mrs. Edith Wessler dated November 7, 1970 that went on about several different Joslin families that she thought might be possibilities. But the letter is confusing. (For reference, Mrs. Wessler is the lady that published "The Jocelyn-Joslin-Joslyn-Josselyn Family" in 1961 and had written to Grandma in 1968, which is the letter that started this series, see bottom of post for links.) Grandma made a notation on the November 7th letter that she answered it in December but there is no copy of her letter in her files.

In another letter from Mrs. Wessler, dated December 23, 1970 she mentions that Grandma had sent her a copy of a letter from Mr. Joslin. Irwin's wife, Alice had passed away on May 17th, 1970. Mrs. Wessler goes on to say that "Mr. Joslin mentions seeing my book in the Fort Wayne library. On page 125 under 99-Joseph Joslin, is Jonas, 3rd child, born March 1, 1769. I have no record of whatever became of any of the children of this Joseph Joslin except the 4th child, Samuel. In the last few years, I have corresponded with two of the descendants of Samuel, who settled in Ringe, New Hampshire. He died there at the age of 49 years."

That is the last letter from Mrs. Wessler in Grandma's files. But Mrs. Wessler and Irwin continued to correspond with each other. In May 2000, I received copies of two letters from Richard Kutz that Mrs. Wessler wrote to Irwin in December 1980 and December 1982. Richard is a grandson of Phoebe Joslin, sister of Irwin's father Virgil.

In those two letters to Irwin, Mrs. Wessler provides information that she believes makes the connection between the Jonas Joslin in Delaware County, Ohio and 99-Joseph (mentioned above) in her book. Her information came from Mrs. Jean Oldham Heuman, a descendant of Jonas through his son Jonas Jr.

As I later found out, Mrs. Heuman is the researcher who originally located the 1794 marriage record of Jonas Joslin and Ruth Dyer in Franklin County, Vermont and the Alien Registration Card in Ottawa, Canada which I wrote about in the post Roadblock - Ruth Dyer and Jonas Joslin and which I wrongly attributed to Donald Joslin. The "credit" for finding those two documents should actually go to Mrs. Heuman.

The tradition in Mrs. Heuman's family has it that "In 1816 the oldest child, James Joslin, age 20, came with the younger son, Jonas Joslin, Jr., age 9, by canoe from Lake Champlain, Canada, to Liberty Twp., Delaware Co., Ohio. They brought the family's heirloom, Joseph Joslin's old Revolutionary War flintlock rifle (which is still in the family), and staked out a claim, put in crops and built a two-room log cabin for the family. Jonas Joslin, Sr., wife, Ruth Dyer and five daughters, age range 6 to 19, followed by canoe later in the season."

Mrs. Wessler's letter included this transcription of a record in "The Book of Aliens, 1794-1795" No. 43, Ottawa, Canada, which Mrs. Heuman says was in Jonas' own handwriting:
"I Jonas Joslin, do hereby declare that I am a native of the United States of America from the state of Massachusetts in the town of Leominster. My age is twenty-four years. My trade or occupation is that of a farmer, that for this six months last past, I have resided in the Seignory of St. Armand in Mississkuoi Bay, and came into this Province of Lower Canada, by land, on the East Side of Lake Champlain on the 18th day of March 1793, and now reside on the aforesaid Seignory of St. Armand as witness my hand at Mississquoi Bay this 9th day of January 1795. Signed: Jonas Joslin".
According to that record, signed in January 1795, Jonas was 24 years old. Jonas, the son of Joseph, was born March 1, 1769 so the age would be off by a year or so. Unless he was giving his age at the time he entered Lower Canada.

So, at this point, the "data" that connects James Joslin to Jonas and Jonas to Joseph comes from:
  1. Ohio Census records of 1820 and 1830 for Liberty Township, Delaware County, discussed in a previous post.
  2. A family tradition passed down through the Jonas Joslin Jr. family.
  3. The 1794 Franklin County, Vermont Marriage Record of Jonas Joslin and Ruth Dyer.
  4. Entry No. 43 in "The Book of Aliens, 1794-1795" of Ottawa, Canada.
  5. Page 125 of "The Jocelyn-Joslin-Joslyn-Josselyn Family" compiled by Edith S. Wessler.
Is that sufficient evidence to make those connections? A bit weak, I think.

Irwin obtained Mrs. Heuman's address from Mrs. Wessler and they corresponded but I have no record of it, except for some brief research notes compiled by Irwin in June 1983. I received those notes from my 1st cousin, David Phend in March 1991. I think David got them from Grandma's files.

A couple of weeks ago I did a search for Mrs. Heuman and found a message board posting from 2006. Taking a chance that the email address was current I wrote to her asking if she had found anything new on the Joslin family, particularly the connection between James and Jonas Sr., but she said she had no new information.

Grandma passed away on May 3, 1984 and all of her genealogy papers went to my Uncle Bill, cousin David's father. It was about 10 years ago that I was given those papers. I'm pretty sure that Irwin continued to correspond with Grandma until her death. Irwin passed away on January 16, 1990 (that's weird, January 16th was Grandma's birthday). Most of his research papers went to his brother George and his wife Lorene. When I visited George and Lorene last year I copied some of Irwin's papers, among which was a letter that my Aunt Phyllis wrote, at the request of Grandma, in November 1983 to Irwin correcting some family information as well as telling him about Grandma's cancer and how excited she was about her upcoming family Christmas dinner.

Shortly after Irwin died in 1990, Lorene wrote to Aunt Phyllis and she passed the letter on to me. By that time I had been interested in the family history for a few years and eagerly responded to Lorene's letter. We corresponded off and on for several years and lost contact with each other in the mid 1990s. Then came the "Internet Age" and we reconnected in 1999. Since then we've learned an awful lot about the descendants of Lysander and Lydia Joslin, but little more about his (presumed) parents, James and Abigail, or his (presumed) grandparents, Jonas and Ruth.

Other posts in this series:
Up Next: What evidence is there to connect Lysander Joslin to his presumed parents James and Abigail (Goodrich) Joslin? Shouldn't we really "prove" that Lysander is their son before going back to earlier generations? It would all be so much simpler if something like this actually happened...

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