Joseph Part 1- The Second of Three Remarkable People
As I continued my research into my family I started with my grandfather, Joseph. I had learned that his side of the family all came from a small town in Western Pennsylvania. In fact his family has lived in or near this town since the early 1800s and his great-great-grandfather was one of the pioneers of the area. The other piece of good fortune that I have had is that this town is a newspaper town. By that I mean, they liked to have newspapers and there were as many as five different papers for the area. One of the many things Joseph’s grandfather did was edit one of the newspapers. Because of this love for newspapers I have been able to find lots of articles about my family. Also, back then the newspaper was the main way that the townsfolk kept track of the comings and going of its people. The story that I am going to tell you is about what I learned by reading all the newspapers.
Although I was always told that he was the 7th to carry his name this is not really accurate. There was a break in the line with Joseph’s great-grandfather, who was named Henry. So it is more correct to say that he is Joseph the 3rd.
Joseph’s father (I’ll call him Joseph the 2nd) and mother Emma were both teachers at the Normal School. Emma’s father Bela was one of two main photographers for the town. Three years after Joseph and Emma married, they gave birth to a boy and named him after his father. In the picture below is Joseph, Emma and Grandpa Bela although everyone just called him B.B. This is the only photo I have of my grandfather with his mother.
This photo is a picture of Emma, a few years before she got married, taken by her father B.B.
B.B. also took this picture of Joseph. We always laughed at his “sticking out” ears which he has had all of his life.
Some time close to the turn of the century, Joseph the 2nd started working for Standard Oil and the family moved to New York City where Joseph’s brother Bentley and sister Martha were both born. When Martha was about two years old she had been sick and wasn’t getting better so Emma decided to move back to Pennsylvania, hoping the climate would be better suited to Martha. Joseph the 2nd was continuing to work for Standard Oil but now was located in Western Pennsylvania. During the winter season Emma was struck with Influenza which was complicated by Diabetes and she became seriously ill. Word was rushed to Joseph the 2nd who raced back to town to be with his wife but she died shortly before he arrived.
One of the greatest concerns was who would take care of the children. Joseph’s work required him to travel a lot and he could not drag his children from place to place. B.B. was in his seventies and was having health problems. After much discussion it was determined that B.B.’s wife’s sister Mary Frances would take Martha right away. She couldn’t take them all but she would take Martha. Mary Frances was still struggling to keep the farm going after the death of her husband four years earlier and she already had five girls between five and fifteen years old. At this time both Joseph and Bentley would have to go to the boys orphanage.
Just a side note on Mary Frances. Thirty years earlier her parents were both killed, not certain of the cause of death. She was raised in Massachusetts but she and her brother came to live with B.B. and Josephine (her half-sister) when they both died. Mary Frances plays a large role in our family and is herself quite an amazing woman.
What I liked most is that the family is all working together to solve problems, even if some of them seem impossible. This story gets better…
To read Part 2 of this series click here.