Joseph McNitt (1815-1879) and His Wives Marietta Whitney (1816-1855) and Achsah Sloat (1837-1901)

Joseph McNitt, the oldest of Daniel and Jane's children, was born October 15, 1815, at Brutus, Cayuga County, New York. He was 19 when the family moved to Seneca County, Ohio in 1835. Only two years later, Joseph married Marietta Whitney, daughter of neighbors Nathan and Esther Whitney.

Joseph and Marietta rented land for a few years, but on February 14, 1844 they bought two parcels totaling 82 acres from her parents for $10. They sold one of these two farms for $1020 on February 18, 1845, thereby reaping a huge profit. Three weeks later, on March 10, Joseph and Marietta purchased 80 acres on Section 13, just south of what is now the town of Flat Rock, for $1500. Joseph lived on this farm for the rest of his life.

Joseph and Marietta apparently considered moving to Michigan in the 1850's. In fact, one source says they actually moved to Michigan, but that Joseph eventually returned to Ohio. They neither sold their farm in Ohio nor bought land in Michigan, however. During the trip to western Michigan, Marietta fell ill and died. Joseph soon took their son and returned to Ohio. Less than a year after Marietta's death, Joseph married Achsah Sloat of Melmore in Seneca County on March 20, 1856. Joseph was 40 years old, his son was 12, and his new wife was 18.

By 1860, Joseph was successful enough to list his occupation as "gentleman" and he estimated the value of his farm $5,000. He began construction of the brick home which still stands on the farm in 1862. By the end of that decade, Joseph had 90 acres improved and 30 acres of woodland on a farm valued at $7,000. His livestock included three horses, four milch cows, six other cattle, 15 sheep, and 23 swine and farm products were wheat, corn, barley, wool, potatoes, butter, hay, molasses, and orchard products.

Joseph and Achsah had seven children, two of whom died young. The last child was born in 1878, when Joseph was 63 years old. A little over a year later, on December 23, 1879, Joseph died of the asthma which had troubled him for years. Achsah could not run the farm alone, as her step-son already had left home and her oldest son was only 9 years old. On January 28, 1882, she sold it for $8,400 and soon thereafter moved her family to Hillsdale County in southern Michigan. Achsah lived there until her death on June 27, 1901.

Joseph's son by his first marriage, Nathan McNitt, remained in Ohio until the 1890's and then moved to Chicago, Illinois. With his departure, no members of the family remained in Seneca County.

Sources used in writing this chapter

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