Joseph Fletcher Putnam
My paternal great grandfather was born in Cambridge Massachusetts 18 May 1852 to Joseph and Mary Ann (Fletcher) Putnam. Between the birth of young Joseph and his older sister Nellie, Joseph senior had traveled to the Goldfields in California, where he and a friend Edwin Whipple had a claim on the Mokolome River, and back again to Cambridge. The “Family Story” is that the family left Boston by ship and landed on the Gulf of Mexico at Panama where they had to trek through the jungle walking across the isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean. There they caught a steamer for San Francisco. Since the family is in the 1860 US Census in California Joseph would have been less then 7 years old and his older sister would have been younger then 12 years of age when the family made this trek. The 1860 US census shows that Joseph’s sister Lucy was just 4 months old in July when the census was taken and that she was born in California. Exactly when they arrived I have not completely documented.
1860 US Census
Elliott Township San Joaquin County
California (Click on image to enlarge)
Joseph Fletcher Putnam grew up on his father’s orchard ranch in Clements California, which is about 23 miles northeast of Stockton California. At the age of 22 he met and married Fanny Stewart 18 years of age on 23 Febuary 1875 in Stockton California. The witnesses to the marriage were William Whipple and Lucy Fellows Putnam. William and Lucy later marry and raise a large family of their own.
Recorded Marriage Licence
Joseph Fletcher Putnam and Fanny Stewart
Fanny was from Kansas, and I often wondered what she was doing out in California in 1875. Fanny and Joseph had Grace Ellen in Feb. 1875 and Alice was born 30 September 1876. In October of 1878 Fanny travels to Kansas to visit her family. Fanny took the 17 month old Alice with her and left 3 1/2 year old Grace at home with her father. Fanny and Alice never came back. In April of 1880 Joseph F. Putnam filed in Stockton California for a Divorce due to desertion, which was granted 20 April 1880 by A.V.D. Peterson, Judge of the Superior Court.
Divorce papers Joseph & Fanny Putnam
In the 1880 US Census Joseph Fletcher is alone in Hopeton Merced County California while his daughter Grace is with his parents in Clements (San Joaquin County) California.
On Dec. 30 1880 Joseph F. Putnam (age: 27) marries Ida May (Clough) Bryant (age: 25) in Stockton California. Ida May has three children from an earlier marriage to C.E. Bryant, C.E. ‘Ed’ 8 years old, Allace 5 years of age, and Maude about 3 years old.
Marriage Lisence Record
Joseph F. Putnam & Ida May Bryant
Joseph and Ida May go on to have four more children together. Arthur dies in infancy, Ira B. is born in 1883, Lena A. is born in 1885 and Blanche A. is born in 1888. Joseph’s second wife leaves him also and he is left with the children while his wife (Ida May) appears in the 1900 census with a Charles Peters, a younger man.
1900 US Census Alameda County
Lena, Ira, Blanche
Grace, and Joseph F. Putnam
Photo courtesy of Frances Steggs
In the 1900 US census we find Joseph Fletcher living and working in Alameda County California with his three children from his marriage to Ida May, Ira, Lena and Blanche.
Grace, his daughter from his first marriage, has married and is living in the same area with her husband (George Bryant) and their two children (William and May). I have not discovered if there is a connection to Grace’s step mother (Ida May) and Grace’s husband George. It was very confusing to me for her married name to be the same as her 1/2 brother and sisters. It took several years and the story of Joseph Fletchers first marriage to be revealed by the decendants of Alice Putnam (Grace’s full sister) from Colorado and New Mexico who made contact with my sister and I back in the early 1990’s. We then learned where Grace fit into the family and who her mother was and why there were two Alices and one was spelled differently by Aunt Blanche. Dear Aunt Blanche if she explained it to Madeleine and I, we did not understand, maybe because we were just teenager and not yet into genealogy. Anyway Madeleine’s notes were hard to follow, at least for me .
Information from Aunt Blanche
Back to Joseph Fletcher. In the 1910 US census we find Joseph F. Putnam married to an Elizabeth.
1910 US Census
Visalia Tulare County
From this census we see that they have been married 4 years. All of Joseph’s children are either married or off on their own.
Joe & Elizabeth (Potter) Putnam
Here is the last photo I have of Joseph Fletcher Putnam and his wife Elizabeth.
In 2000 I found a Land Record on Roots Web for Joseph F. Putnam dated 08 October 1891 . It was a cash sale for a Parcel listed as Township 018S, Range 029E, Section 6.
Tulare County, California
From Rootsweb.com 2000
My brother wrote me requarding my question to him about where the Elliott Ranch was. I am now wondering if this is the section that he was speaking of:
The Elliot ranch was next to Grandpa Ikes , property to the Northeast, it was 160 acres that was sold off of the original 640 that was willed to one of the relatives, do not remember who. Aunt Lena, aunt Blanche and Grandpa Ike inherited the other quarter sections, possibly you know who the other sibling was. Seems like there was another brother or sister who I do not remember.
At the time I found this record I also found a parcel that William P. Punam (Joseph F.’s brother) puchased in 1908. This was listed in Tulare county as, Township 021S, Range 028E, Section 28. Here is an opportunity for us to do a little investigation about these two pieces of property. I know from newspaper articles that the property immediately north of Aunt Lena’s place was given for an airport by Joseph Putnam and that the Visalia Airport has expanded to take more of what was Aunt Lena’s place.
1920 US Census
Visalia Tulare County
1930 US Census
Visalia Tulare county
The next 20 years find joseph and Elizabeth in and around Visalia.
18 August 1931 Elizabeth dies.
On 13 December 1932 Joseph F. Putnam dies.
Elizabeth and Joseph are buried in Visalia.