Joseph Cleveland Edmonds was born about 1823, probably in New York state. However, there is one census enumeration which gives his birthplace as Pennsylvania. Significant? Maybe.
His parents appear to have been Joseph Edmonds and wife Sally, who show up in Erie County, NY in the 1840 census. There is no proof that they were dropped off by an alien spacecraft. Unfortunately, there is almost no proof of any more reasonable explanation, either.
Looking at their son’s possible Pennsylvania birth, one finds that there was a Joseph Edmonds family enumerated in Susquehanna County, PA in 1830, but Edmonds is a common surname and men named Joseph were innumerable.
Cleveland, however, was not a frequent middle name, so one is tempted to consider it a clue. Perusal of the mammoth Cleveland genealogy and the more recent one on descendants of Robert Reynolds indicates that there was a Sally Reynolds, daughter of Andrew Reynolds and his wife Sarah Cleveland of Delaware County, New York, who married a Joseph Edmonds. It looks promising, but there is not one single piece of paper that ties them to the couple later in Erie Co. The only piece of coincidental data that might have meaning is the fact that this Sally Reynolds Edmonds had a sibling who moved to Susquehanna Co. Any hope of finding a deed where Joseph “and Sally his wife” might have sold property in Susquehanna Co. fizzled in grand style when the single grantor deed involving land owned by Joseph proved to be a sale . . . by the sheriff.
Did they pack up and leave Susquehanna for New York? Having lost one piece of property, was the elder Joseph loathe to (or financially unable to) invest in another and thus left no footprint in Erie Co.? Who knows?
Their presumed son Joseph Cleveland Edmonds married Sarah Hutchinson in 1847 and they are enumerated in Collins, Erie Co., NY next door to Joseph and Sally in 1850. Joseph, then 64, and Sally, 58, had a 14-year-old girl named Sarah Edmonds in their household at that time. If she was their daughter, as it would appear, I suspect Sally had probably been somewhat less than thrilled to find herself pregnant again at the age of 44.
Sometime in the following years, Joseph Cleveland Edmonds moved his family to Adams Co., Wisconsin. In the 1860 census, the widowed Sally is living with them. No record of her husband’s death has been located. No probate. No land records. No Findagrave entry. Nothing, nada, zilch.
And there the brick wall sits, covered with moss and mold. Assuming there was no spaceship involved, where did the first Joseph come from? Who were his parents? Did he die in Collins, NY? Was his wife Sally the daughter of Andrew Reynolds? What became of the age-14-in-1850 Sarah Edmonds? Were there other children and, if so, where did they go? All together now: Who knows?
Just for the record, since there is some erroneous information floating around on the internet, the children of Joseph Cleveland Edmonds (1823-1863) and his wife Sarah Hutchinson (1829-1904) were:
- William Henry Edmonds, born 13 July 1849. Note: He did not marry or have children. He was mentally incapacitated and remained in the care of his family throughout his life.
- Joseph Clark Edmonds, born 24 Mar 1853. Generally known as Clark Edmonds, he married Arlette Tyler.
- Robert Perce Edmonds, born 16 Jun 1857.
The two younger children are shown in this photo: