A Sad Story

I’m in the mood to tell a sad story.  It’s probably because I’ve been hearing so many this week with the Great Flood of 2016 happening all around me.  Like those stories, it is a true story.  And, alas, it is sad.

I’ve wanted to tell it for a while now.  As I looked through the information about the Bucklin family, little pieces of the story would show up from time to time.  My cousin Joseph Connors posted a prequel to this story a few weeks ago. (Jennie Has Been Very Sick)  He told a part of this tragic tale, but I thought that I’d tell a little more.

Joe Bucklin in 1909 in Jennings, Louisiana. (photo edited by Van Landry)

His name was Joseph Bucklin.  He was born around 1859 in Massachusetts to James Austin Bucklin of Palmer, Massachusetts, and Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin originally of Ireland.  The family must have moved to Iowa shortly after his birth, because his younger brother Edward was born there in 1864.  Then his youngest brother Louis Charles Bucklin (my great grandfather) was born in Iowa in 1873.  They lived in Coffins Grove, Iowa.  (Cue the ominous music here.)

In 1884 the family moved to southern Louisiana where he, his father, his brother Ed, and his sister Jennie set up homesteads in the Raymond area. (Louis was not old enough to set up his own at that time.)  I’m sure it was a busy time for the family working on developing the land, roads, and bridges in that area.  But still, as things will happen, Joseph got married to Agnes “Aggie” Ausman in 1892.  She was from Canada, had spent time in Iowa at some point, but I’m not sure how they got together.  Let’s hope it was a happy courtship and marriage, because tragedies soon followed.

In 1893, Joseph wrote to Louis in Ohio to tell him about their sister Jennie being sick.  Jennie died sometime after June of 1893.  Around the same time, Joe and Aggie had a little daughter named Leola.  Things were calm for a few years with the birth of Gladys in 1896 and Harold in July 1899.  Shortly after that came more tragedies.  A month after Harold was born, Aggie died.  Then in December Leola died.  Joe must have been having a hard time, because his mother Mary Ann came to stay with him in Jennings.  But to make matters worse, she caught a severe case of the flu and died on April 10, 1900.

I told you it was a sad story.  I feel a reluctance in telling you his story and letting you get to know him a bit, because his story is so sad.  But I wanted to tell it, and that’s what I’m doing.   I’m sorry to tell you this, but there are more tragedies to come for poor Joe.  But not just yet.  As luck would have it (I’m not so sure about that Irish luck at this point!), Aggie had a younger sister of marrying age and Joe did just that.  He married Ida Ausman in November of 1900.  He certainly didn’t waste any time!

1903 - Little Flower GoneHe and Ida had a daughter named Ida May in 1903.  I’m not sure of the details here, but Joe’s wife Ida died on Sept. 5, 1903.  It could have been from disease or complications from childbirth, but it was a tragedy nonetheless.  Following that, little Ida May died a few months later.  As an article in the Jennings Daily Times states, she had never been strong and died as a result of a severe cold.  The person writing the article must have known the situation, because they talk about “the grief stricken father whose cup of sorrow seems filled to over flowing.”  I agree with that evaluation.

Joe did marry again in 1913, but he didn’t have any more children.  His daughter Gladys died in 1917 in Iowa at the age of 21 while living with her Ausman grandparents.  (There could also be a sad story written about the Ausman family, but I’ll leave that up to someone else.)  Gladys did not have any children.  Then Joe himself died a year later of the flu in the great 1918 flu pandemic while living in Florida.

There are no descendants today of Joe.  His son Harold did get married, but he died at the age of 27 without any children in 1926. He was the last of that family.  I descend from his brother Louis and I have never even attempted to count the number of descendants that he has.  He and Addie had 11 children (including my grandfather Fred) and 19 grandchildren (including my mom Betty Lou).  There were several more great grandchildren (Fred himself added 20 to that count.) and countless great great grandchildren.  The difference is drastic.

And so ends the sad story of Joe.


June 11, 2017 Update

For more information about the connections between the Ausmans and Bucklins, read the later post The Bucklin/Keys/Ausman/MacVey Connections.


Nov. 14, 2019 Update

For newly discovered details about the life of the Ausmans and Joe Bucklin, read this post The Sad History Surrounding Joe Bucklin.

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