Sunday, January 18, 2015


In today’s post I would like you to meet my 2nd Great Grandparents William Wilson Joseph and Eliza Jane Spitler.

William Wilson Joseph and wife Eliza Jane Spitler, Augusta Co., VA
William Wilson was born 1822 in Virginia to John Joseph and Elizabeth Piper. Eliza Jane was the daughter of Jacob Spitler and Margaret Dunlap. She was born 1828 in Augusta County, Virginia.

My grandfather’s cousin, Rachel Jane Joseph, shared her family stories with him. We knew her as “Cousin Ray”. She was a granddaughter of William Wilson Joseph and Eliza Jane Spitler. Ray was born in 1896 well after her grandfather’s death but heard her father, Henry Milton Joseph, speak of his parents.

William Wilson and Eliza Jane were married October 26, 1848 by a minister associated with the United Brethren Church named J. Markwood.[1] Jacob Markwood was an Elder in the church and would later become a Bishop.

Their first born children were twin boys who died at birth.[2]

When the 1850 federal census was taken, William Wilson and Eliza were living next door to his parents, John and Elizabeth Joseph. [3] William and his father both worked as carpenters.

By September 26, 1860 William and Eliza’s family grew to include six children--Margaret Jane born 1850, Elizabeth born about 1852, Anna Belle Virginia born 1854, John W. born 1855, Jacob M. born 1857 and Henry Milton Joseph born in 1860. William continued to work as a carpenter. [4]

My Great Grandfather, Daniel Franklin Joseph, was born near the end of the Civil War in February 1865. Wilson Otterbein was the last born in 1868.

I haven’t found any documented record to know if Wm. Wilson served with the Confederacy or the Union during the War Between the States.

I suspect life would have been difficult for his family if Wm. Wilson strongly supported or joined the Union Army. As a matter of fact, Rev. Jacob Markwood was a Union supporter. You’ll recall he had married Wm. Wilson and Eliza years earlier. Rev. Markwood was reported to the Southern Confederacy and wasn’t allowed to be in Virginia during the war.[5]

In the following excerpt Cousin Ray tells about a Yankee raid when her father, Henry Milton Joseph, was a small boy.[6]

   “My father remembered when the “Yankees” invaded the Valley. He was five years old and they lived near Swoope. The men had taken the cows and horses to the mountain but left the big stallion as they didn’t think the army would want a stallion but said one of the officers threw a saddle on Barney and rode off. He said he could remember just how Barney looked going down the road.

   They burned the Swoope mill and said his mother stood in the doorway and wept.”

The raid probably took place about 1864/1865 when the Confederacy was losing more often to the Union Army. I can’t help but feel sorrow when I think of Eliza Jane weeping in that doorway.

Ray writes of life after war:

   “After the war ended everyone was very poor and it was very hard to get clothing or any of the essentials of life.

   Grandfather moved to Churchville from Swoope. He was a carpenter and helped to build most of the churches on the Churchville charge, which was the United Brethren. Grandfather was very religious and would walk miles to church to help any way he could. He would go to teach the Negroes in their churches and meetings.”

In June 1879, William Wilson Joseph passed at the age of age of 58 years. His death was recorded in the 1880 federal mortality schedules. His cause of death is difficult to decipher. It looks like it could be ‘pancretic colic’ or ‘paralis colic’.[7]

Eliza Jane died eighteen years later on March 21, 1897 at her son’s home in Staunton (that was my Great Grandfather Daniel Franklin Joseph). She’s buried in the Bethlehem United Church (formerly known as the Bethlehem United Brethren) cemetery.

My Line
2nd Great Grandfather William Wilson Joseph and wife Eliza Jane Spitler
Great Grandfather Daniel Franklin Joseph and wife Flora Belle McFall
Grandfather James McFall Joseph and wife Lucy Leora Clemmer
My Father

[1] Augusta County Marriages 1748-1850 by John Vogt & T. William Kethley Jr.
[2] Rachel Jane Joseph Family Notes Sent to her Cousin, James McFall Joseph
[3] 1850 Federal Census, Virginia, Augusta County, District No. 2, Page 274
[4] 1860 Federal Census, Virginia, Augusta County, District No. 1, Page No. 227
[5] OUR BISHIPS, A Sketch of the Origin and Growth of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ by H. A. Thompson, D. D., L. L. D., page 441
[6] Rachel Jane Joseph Family Notes Sent to her Cousin, James McFall Joseph
[7] U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1880, Pastures, Augusta, Virginia; Page 127

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