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James M. D. Joslin, M.D.
Born June 1, 1848


Dr. James M. D. Joslin is one of the oldest among the native sons of Anamosa and Jones county and is a representative of one of the most honored pioneer families. His birth occurred June 1, 1848, in the old family home which still stands near his present place of residence. His parents were Dr. Clark and Elizabeth (Hale) Joslin, natives of Ohio and New York, respectively. The paternal grandfather, John G. Joslin, was a soldier of the War of 1812 and aided in building forts under the direction of General William Henry Harrison. He lived to be seventy-four years of age, while his wife, Mrs. Candace (Wolcott) Joslin, reached the advanced age of eighty-eight years.
During the gold expedition to the Pacific coast John G. Joslin with two of his sons made the trip to California with ox-teams over the old Fremont trail. While en route he decided to make a little side trip, telling his sons he would meet them at Webber river. But he became lost and for three days and nights wandered over the mountains. The sons started out in search of him and just as they were about to give up the hunt they found him. He had wandered thirty miles back over the mountains and had been without water or food save a sage hen which he had killed. He was almost exhausted when they reached him, being so weak that it was necessary for the sons to carry him on their backs a distance of thirty miles. It was just an accident that they found him. At another time he left his sons and started off up the mountain. He soon succeeded in killing a deer but after he had fired his shot was surprised to see something bob up in the grass and discovered that Indians were trying to cut him off from camp which he succeeded in reaching, however, by creeping through the deep grass so that he could not be seen by the redmen. On reaching California the party located on the American river where they engaged in placer mining with good success for the year, one day washing out twenty-eight dollars in free gold. But the father became ill with scurvy and was obliged to return home, the trip being made by way of the Isthmus of Panama and up the Mississippi river to Davenport. Two of his sons were soldiers of the Civil war—Harrison and Daniel Joslin, both of whom died while in the service, while another uncle of our subject, Phineas Baker, also passed away while defending the interests of the Union.
The maternal grandfather, Philip Hale, was of German descent and died when about seventy years of age, while his wife, Mrs. Polly Hale, was also about the same age at the time of her demise. It will thus be seen that Dr. Joslin comes from a long-lived ancestry in both the paternal and maternal lines.
Dr. Clark Joslin, the father of our subject, was born at Bricksville, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, about thirty miles south of Cleveland, and when a boy assisted in clearing two farms on the river bottoms in Ohio, these being covered with heavy chestnut timber. He afterward assisted in clearing two farms in Michigan before coming to Iowa. His father plowed around four sections of land in this state, which he thus secured as a claim, but afterward gave away some of it. Dr. Joslin, at one time, owned twenty-eight hundred acres of land in this state, of which ten hundred and fifty acres were in one tract. During the war he sold off much of the land for taxes were very high, it requiring about eighty acres to pay the taxes each year. He arrived in Fairview township, Jones county, Iowa, in 1837. He had been married in Michigan some years before and his wife died in that state while Dr. Joslin was in Iowa. They had one child, Mary L., who became the wife of C. H. Bingham, a resident of Clinton, Iowa. Their children are: Alfred, Fred, Charles, Frank and Bertha. For his second wife Dr. Joslin chose Miss Elizabeth Hale, whom he wedded in January, 1842. William Cullen Joslin, the eldest child of that marriage, wedded Mary Caffrey, who died in 1881. Their children were James C., Mamie and Edna, who died in infancy For his second wife William Cullen Joslin chose Emma Chismann, of Cedar county, Iowa, and they have one child, William. The residence of William C. Joslin was in Cass township, Jones county, and he died in 1906. Mary Ann, the second of the family, is the deceased wife of David Ellis, who resided for a time in Jackson county, Iowa, while later he lived in Bismarck, North Dakota, and afterward in Sioux City, Iowa. Their children were: Charles Ed. E., Emma E., and Curtis. The mother, Mrs. Mary A. Ellis, passed away about 1902. Dr. James M. D. Joslin was the next of the family. Two of the children died in infancy.
Dr. Clark Joslin was the first physician of Jones county and his practice extended over a radius of fifty miles He made professional calls within seven miles of Davenport, treating five cases of typhoid within a short distance of that city. He made all of his trips on horseback and was a very familiar figure in this part of the, state in pioneer times. He had a remarkable record as a hunter, killing many deer and other large game. On one occasion he killed a deer within eighty rods of the present site of the depot at Anamosa. On first coming to the county, he located in the little town of Fairview but later established his home in the county seat. In pioneer times he suffered from exposure and hardships incident to the long rides across the wild prairies but he was a skillful physician and never hesitated to respond to a call for his professional service when needed. At one time nearly the entire population of the district were ill with bilious fever. He made his way to Dubuque and Muscatine for needed medicines and on one occasion led a cow to Dubuque, selling her for six dollars. He invested this money in quinine, which then sold for nine dollars per ounce, so that it took the price of a cow and a half to buy a single ounce of the medicine. Dr. Joslin, however, was a botanist with much knowledge of plants and therefore in his practice used many herbs in the treatment of the sick. As the country gradually settled up, however, he found he could secure drugs and other remedial agencies with which to minister to his patients and thus modern practice took the place of the old methods of bleeding and purging. He had commenced the study of medicine in Michigan, where he practiced for about three years before coming to Iowa and in this state was in continuous practice from 1837 until 1899 or for nearly sixty-two years. He had followed the Thomsonian method but later took up the methods of practice known to the regular or allopathic school. He assisted in treating cases of cholera as early as 1832 and thus his entire life was given to a work which proved of the greatest benefit to his fellowman.
Dr. James M. D. Joslin, whose name introduces this review, was reared on the old family homestead amid the environment of pioneer life in one's county. One of the incidents of his youth which he well remembers is that in the early ‘50s, when his father and grandfather went into the bottom lands toward Independence on a hunting trip. They were gone three days and killed twenty-two deer, so that they were enabled to enjoy smoked venison for sometime. His youthful days were spent under the parental roof and his early education was acquired in the public schools. He afterward took up the study of medicine and is a graduate of the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Keokuk. In the spring of 1875 he commenced practice in association with his father. He has now been a representative of the medical fraternity here for thirty-four years and throughout the entire period his conscientious performance of duty, his capability and the steady progress which he has made along professional lines by reason of his research and investigation have made him one of the most successful physicians of the county, giving to him an extensive patronage.
In 1877 Dr. Joslin was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Sweeny, a daughter of Patrick and Elizabeth (Young) Sweeny, natives of Ireland and New York, respectively. At an early date they became residents of Elgin, Illinois, and subsequently removed to Lansing, Iowa, in 1855, there continuing to make their home until called to their final rest. Dr. and Mrs., Joslin have one son, Clark Eccless an electrical engineer, who is new manager of the Jones county Telephone Company. He wedded Estelle Irene Plourde, a daughter of Fred Plourde and a native of Wisconsin. They have one child, Irene Lenore. They were married in Plattville, Wisconsin, where Mr. Joslin was employed by an electrical company. He was born on the 4th of March, 1879, and acquired his literary education in the public schools and afterward pursued his course in electrical engineering at Ames, Iowa.
As the years have gone by Dr. Joslin has prospered and is not only enjoying a large practice at the present time but also has an excellent income from valuable farming property. He owns one hundred and forty acres of land on section 32, Cass township, and one hundred and fifty acres on section 4, Fairview township. He also owns a stone quarry, which is operated by James Lawrence, and some town property including two houses and lots. Dr. Joslin is well known as a representative member of the Odd Fellows society. He belongs to the lodge in which he has held all the different offices and he has also taken the military degrees of the order. His political allegiance is given to the democracy and he served as pension examining surgeon under President Cleveland. For fourteen years he was city alderman and was elected county coroner but resigned that office. His life has ever been a busy and useful one, crowned with honor and respect, and he is a most worthy representative of one of the leading pioneer families of this part of the state.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 210.

Another Biography
Thepublishers of this RECORD would fail in their purpose of presenting to their readers an outline of the best citizens of the county were they to omit that of Dr. Joslin, who is located in Anamosa, in and about which city hea has an excellent practice. He was born in the Valley of Anamosa, January 1, 1848, and is the son of Dr. Clark Joslin, one of the most prominent physicians of this city and county, where he located in 1837. He was well educated and his extensive information was not confined to his vocation, but included all topics of general interest. He had a large practice extending over a radius of many miles.
The father of our subject was born in Ricksville, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, April 2, 1816, and was the son of John G. Joslin, a native of New York, who served as a patriot in the War of 1812 under the command of Gen. William Henry Harrison. For the service rendered at that time the grandfather received a land warrant for one hundred and sixty acres of land. After peace was declared he went to Ohio, locating at Bricksville, just sixteen miles south of Cleveland. In the fall of 1827 John G. Joslin moved to Michigan, remaining in that state until the summer of 1837, when he sold his farm and came to Jones County, this state, where he purchased a large tract of prairie and timber land. He arrived in this locality with his family September 22, 1838, having been one month on the way. His estate was situated in Fairview Township, four miles southwest of Anamosa. He was one of the first to settle in that township and soon thereafter, with the aid of his son, erected the only sawmill in the locality. He sat on the first grand jury ever summoned in the county. The grandfather departed this life in 1868, greatly mourned by all who knew him.
Dr. Clark Joslin, the father of our subject, was educated in his native state, and after the removal of the family to Michigan, began the study of medicine with Drs. H. Wright and Moses Rider. After completing his education in that line, he commenced practice in that state, whence he came with his father to htis county in 1837, still following his profession at Fairview. He had the honor and distinction of being the first regular medical practitioner in the county, and when the city of Anamosa was laid out he moved to the place and continued to practice there for over forty years.
The father of our subject was the first Recorder of Jones County and in social affairs was a member of the Jones County Medical Society. He was married April 25, 1837, to Miss M.C. Wolcot, a native of Michigan and the daughter of Almon Wolcot. She died in 1841, leaving a daughter, Mary L., who is now the wife of C.H. Bingham. January 20, 1842, Dr. Clark Joslin chose for his second wife Elizabeth Hale. She was born in Delaware County, N.Y., and became the mother of five children by her union with Dr. Clark, three of whom survive, namely: William C., our subject and Maryann I., the wife of David Ellis. The father departed this life February 25, 1890, and was survived by his good wife, who died December 30, 1893.
The subject of this sketch was educated in the common schools of Anamosa, after which he studied medicine under the tutelage of his father for three years. He then entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, from which he was graduated with the Class of '75. Returning to Anamosa he engaged in general practice and very soon became well established.
May 6, 1877, Dr. Joslin was united in marriage with Miss Mary E., daughter of Patrick Sweeny, a native of Ireland. Mrs. Joslin was born in Allamakee County, this state. To them has been born a son, Clark Eccles. Socially the Doctor is a member of Anamosa Lodge No. 40, I.O.O.F., and the encampment. He has passed all the chairs of the encampment, in which body he takes an active interest, and has been a member of the City Council for the past eight years, and is serving his second yera as Examining Surgeon for pensioners.
Dr. Joslin is the proprietor of a good farm in this county, constituting one hundred and fifty acres of improved land, which he rents to good advantage, and has one of the best stone quarries in the state, situated one and one-half miles west of Anamosa on Buffalo Creek, which is successfully operated by James Lawrence under lease, and is known as the Gem quarry.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 194-195
Submitted by: Sharyl Ferrall

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