Joseph Jerome Cleveland—1820–1918

In 2002, after many years of collecting various snippets of family history, my mother came to visit me in Oregon. With her, she brought a smallish manila envelop of family photos. Since I was really the only one to take an interest in family history, she thought I might like to have them.

I had been stymied first by raising kids and working which left little time for such a time-intensive pursuit. I was also halted by an almost complete lack of information. I had a membership to Ancestry, so I had collected a few names but really hadn't been able to go very far. My mother didn't really know much about her family, so was unable to answer many questions.

Five generations

In the envelope, there was one black and white photo post card made in 1912. It shows my Uncle Frank Ferrill as a baby sitting on my grandmother's lap; her mother, Alice Almira Wolcott Storrs; grandmother, Helen Cleveland Wolcott; and a very, very old man.

You have to love the person who thoughtfully labeled each person. The very old man was labeled Grandfather Cleveland. This is a special photo because it is so old and shows five generations together. If taken in the summer of 1912 (given that Frank was born in November 1911 and appears to be about 18 months old), Joseph Jerome Cleveland would have been 91 years old. His daughter, Helen Cleveland Wolcott, sitting next to him was 67. Alice Wolcott Storrs was 49 and Helen Storrs Ferrill, a tender 24.

It was special for another reason: this is the photo that got me hooked on genealogy.

With access to the US censuses and a name, I was able to put together a few facts about his life.

Life and times of Joseph Jerome Cleveland

He was born in Leicester, Livingston, New York on March 16, 1821. His parents, Burrell Cleveland and Lydia Yale, were both born in Norwich, Connecticut, but had moved from Connecticut to NY in 1818. Burrell was a millwright in Geneseo.

Joseph was the youngest son and sixth of seven children. His siblings included

In the early 1840s, Jerome met and married Almira Warren, the daughter of Ira Warren and Eliza Sharpsteen. Over the succeeding 22 years they had the following known children:

Joseph and Almira lived in Leicester until about 1855-57, when the family moved to Scipio, Hillsdale county, Michigan. They remained in Hillsdale county probably until the end of the Civil War. Helen married there in 1862.

The Cleveland stay in Hillsdale country was relatively brief. In about 1866 or so the family, minus Helen, moved west to Muskegon County. The oldest daughter, Lydia, died in Blue Lake in 1868 and they remained there for a few more years eventually moving to Muskegon where they evidently remained. The younger children married in Muskegon during the 1880s.

Almira died there in 1896. Joseph lived for a number of years near or with Burrell. In 1919, after almost a century of life, Joseph died in Muskegon, Michigan and was buried next to Almira in Oakwood Cemetery.

Updated June 12, 2008


on this page

on this site