Joseph was born, not in 1853 although he used that date later in life, but in 1847 or 1848 which is corroborated by the 1851 and 1871 census which lists him as a 22 year old college student. That would agree with a 24 Aug 1848 birthdate, the day itself never being in question.
Joseph was the only one of his family to attend college, and although it is never quite stated in any record it seems likely from the path he took that he was intended to be the family priest. He attended St. Michael's College in Toronto (now a part of the University of Toronto) and after graduation stayed an additional year as a tutor. He then taught at the public schools for two years.
About 1879 he emigrated to Michigan, settling in Ann Arbor where he attended the University of Michigan School of Law. Graduating in 1882 he joined the law firm Linchner & Porter, eventually becoming a partner in the firm.
He appears to have been aptly named, Joseph coming from the Hebrew Ioseph meaning to give in abundance. Known for his honesty and integrity, he gave of himself and did not let the pursuit of power or money take over his practice of the law.
While this earned him the respect of his colleagues, it did not always cushion him from the realities of the practice of law. He was quick to tell his sons not to follow him into the practice.
Mary was not as respectful of his decision to stay low key and not pursue power and riches. Perhaps the childhood of hearing stories of the mill that should have been in the family, or the poverty she had endured that caused her to always want more. Discontent did not lead to a happy life and it seems that there was a sad aura over the family.
Joseph was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. In the 1894 Bay City Directory he is listed as Vice President of the Bay City chapter
Joseph married Mary Murphy in Port Huron, MI 26 Jan 1888. They had five children, Joseph, Marie, Grace, Thomas and Isabel.
Joseph died on 8 Nov 1917 and is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Bay City.
A memorial in his honor was presented to the Circuit Court of Bay City on 30 Nov 1917 with the request that it be presented to the State Supreme Court.
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