Origin Story: Joseph Dwinells

First published on October 19, 2015.

I thought that this post would be easy to write up, but as i looked a little closer into my family tree I found some problems. When I first started using ancestry.com I was amazed to find that there were a multitude of other trees that had my ancestors on them, so with a very quick check, I added that information to my tree. However, a lot of the information was not correct and I found that inconsistencies were carried over from others pasting to their trees. I don’t do this anymore, but there is a lot of mess in my tree which was evident as I went to look for information about Joseph Dwinells. I even found some fishy information in a book that I had. Before I start with Joseph’s story I have a disclaimer, in the rest of my posts I will only use the surname Dwinells although it may appear different in documents. This is just to keep things less confusing for everyone, especially me. Without further ado, the story of Joseph Dwinells.

Joseph Dwinells was born in 1763, to James Dwinells and Abigail Bailey Platts in East Bradford, Massachusetts. His father was a butcher, but I don’t know much of anything about Joseph’s life until his marriage to Ruth Lufkin Whittier (she will be the next origin story post). By that time, he had moved to Haverhill, Massachusetts, which is nearby East Bradford. James was married to Ruth on June 10th, 1791 at the age of 28, Ruth was 21. I don’t know what Joseph’s trade was but he and Ruth did have a lot of children, nine to be exact:

  • Moses, born December 17, 1791
  • Susannah, born March 7, 1793
  • William (my direct ancestor), born December 7, 1795
  • James, born June 8, 1799
  • Harriet, born October 11, 1801
  • Eliza, born January 8, 1804
  • Phillip Hackett, born July 7, 1806
  • Leonard Carlton, born March 6, 1810
  • Sarah Ann, born November 1, 1812

At least 3 of his children married and had families, with a large number of grandchildren. The only other information I know about Joseph Dwinells was that he died in January 1813, at the age of 50, in the army at Greenbush, New York. in 1813, Greenbush was a camp for the army during the War of 1812. (A map of the camp and it’s history can be found here) I didn’t know this but the War of 1812 didn’t only occur in 1812 but lasted until 1815. I assumed that since Joseph died at an army camp used during the War of 1812, that he was in the army for the War of 1812. However, I could not find any record of him. Seeing as he passed away a few months after his last child was born, I looked at the widow war pensions, figuring that Ruth would need assistance raising her children. I couldn’t find any record of this as well.

I have a few theories as to why I can’t find any information, perhaps Joseph wasn’t fully mustered in the army. His information as well as Ruth’s could have been lost. Another theory is that he passed away in a less than honorable way, but I still feel like there would be information somewhere. There might well be information somewhere and perhaps I can take a trip to the National Archives, or Greenbush to further research documents that aren’t online. I will definitely look into finding more information.

The information in this post came from the Massachusetts Town and Vital Records and The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England.

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