We Were Here

Unknown Publication Date
by Konrad Stump, contributing writer to The Logan Daily News

John, Alfred, Catharine, and Sophia were four of thirteen children born to John and Elizabeth (Smith) Joy, only ten of who lived to adulthood.
The family started in Frederick Co., Maryland, then Harrison Co., Ohio, then Muskingham County. The parents stayed in Muskingham County, died and were buried there; the rest of the siblings continued west; but these four settled in Hocking County.
They worked, lived, and reared what would lead to hundreds of descendants on these hills. Sophia alone, at the time of her death, was survived by 59 grandchildren, 123 great-grandchildren, and 26 great-great grandchildren.
Of the four, Catharine was born first, on Feb. 10, 1808. John followed sometime in the next two years, being born about 1809. Sophia was born on Oct. 15, 1811. Alfred, the baby of the family, was born Jun. 12, 1817.
Shortly after Albert's birth, the family packed up and made the journey to Harrison County, Ohio. There is some contention to the family's next move. According to Alfred's obituary, they lived in Harrison Co. for only a few months before moving to Muskingham Co., and according to Sophia's obituary they moved there in 1818. However, Catharine's obituary states they lived there until she was an adult, and a separate biographical sketch of her life states they moved there in 1833.
The only record to suggest either scenario is that Sophia was married to John Selby Brian on Dec. 21, 1829, in Harrison Co. John was born Mar. 1, 1808, in Maryland, the son of William and Susannah (Selby) Brian. Like Sophia's parents, they had 13 children, five of which died in infancy.
Two of their sons, and three of their sons-in-law, along with John Selby, fought in the Civil War. John Selby died at Shiloh Battle Ground in Tennessee on May 9, 1862, and was buried in an unmarked grave. He had been wounded, but his pension records stated his actual cause of death was typhoid fever as a result of exposure. His son, James Crawford, was with him, and knew where his body was buried. Before James could get back to have his father's body brought home to Ohio, all of the graves were moved to Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1907, a five-generation picture appeared in the newspaper. Sophia appears with her daughter, Margaret Chilcote, granddaughter, Mary Woolever, great-grandson Noah Woolever, and great-great grandson, Clifford Woolever. The autumn before her death, Sophia had moved in with Margaret, being ill in health and unable to care for herself. In March, she moved back into her home in Gibisonville and resumed housework.
She passed away at home on Nov. 23, 1907, a Saturday evening. She was laid to rest in Pine Grove Cemetery on the 26th, so far away from her husband. She wasn't the first one in the family to suffer this sad fate; the remains of her sister, Catharine, lie far away from those of her husband as well.
Catharine, who went by her middle name Elizabeth, married Conrad Melcher on Feb. 27, 1834 in Muskingham Co. Conrad had been born in Darmstadt, Germany, the son of John and Katherine (Schultheis) Melcher. Together they had eleven children, ten sons and one daughter. Nine of the children died, most likely being stillbirths or the victims of early childhood disease.
They moved to Hocking Co. in 1843, possibly to leave behind the losses they'd endured, or thinking the new environment might foster healthier pregnancies and births. Here they raised their two sons and grew into old age, moving to Laurel Twp. in 1856, then to Gibisonville in 1888.
Apparently, they had moved to Gibisonville because they were defrauded out of most of their money. They were able to buy a small home where they could live out the rest of their days, purchasing this instead of trying to hold onto their farm, possibly risking disgrace. Catharine passed away on Dec. 23, 1897. Her funeral was held from the Gibisonville M. E. church, and her remains were laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
After Catharine's death, the personal effects of she and Conrad were sold at public sale, and he was taken by their son William to Canton. Conrad's health was so poor that it was assumed he would only live a few days after his wife. He lived another three weeks, but he was buried at West Lawn Cemetery in Canton.
Alfred married Grace Gordon on Mar. 25, 1837 in Muskingham Co., and they lived there till 1853. Shortly after their marriage, he united with the M.E. church. By all accounts Alfred was a man of quiet disposition, and was very respected as a citizen.
It appears Grace was sickly for a number of years. Alfred was sick for a lot of his late life, but the last two years contained intense suffering. In March of 1892, the newspaper reported that he had been suffering with grippe, and he was out and about town again.
Alfred passed away on Oct. 24, 1895, and was laid to rest in Ilesboro Cemetery. The service was conducted by Rev. Fisher, who read a sermon from First Corinthians 15:35.
Possibly due to Grace's health, she and Alfred only had one daughter, Eliza Leach. However, Eliza had six children, ensuring her father would be the forefather to many.
More needs to be found out about John, and an obituary has yet to be found. We know that John married Mary Ann Watts on Jan. 12, 1837, in Muskingham Co. They moved to Hocking C., and John made his living as a farmer.
Mary died first, on Nov. 11, 1875. John was in poor health for a number of years, the 1880 Federal Census reported that he was suffering from paralysis. He passed away on Jan. 14, 1886.
Though John is still somewhat of a mystery, he is perhaps the most important to the Joy family history, being the only one to carry on the family name in this county.
Reprinted here with the permission of the author, Konrad Stump.

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