Joel Converse

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Joel Converse

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Killingly, Windham, Connecticut
Death: June 29, 1822 (71)
Lyme Grafton, New Hampshire
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Converse, Sr. and Abigail Converse
Husband of Demaris Wilson and Elizabeth Converse
Father of Lyman Converse; Otis Converse; Demaris Taintor; Otis Converse; Joel Converse, Jr. and 6 others
Brother of Col. Thomas Converse; Samuel Converse; Abigail Converse; Tabitha Converse and David Converse
Half brother of Ebenezer Convers and Martha Johnson

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About Joel Converse

DAR A 025178, CT

Miss Larned's History of Windham County, Conn. (Vol. II, p. 82), says that in the church in Thompson Parish, Killingly, Conn., Jacob and Benjamin Converse and Ebenezer Gay were appointed choristers, in 1771, and Joel Converse and Thaddeus Larned requested to assist them in "tuning the psalm." The same history gives a list of the names of the signers of the freeman's oath at the first town meeting in Thompson, 21 June 1785, among which are the names of Joel Converse, Pain Converse, Lieut. Jacob Converse, Elijah Converse, Alpheus Converse, and Samuel Fay. Joel Converse married, first, 10 September 1778, Demaris Wilson, the date of whose birth is given as 2 May 1746 in the Killingly town records, and as 5 August 1752 in the old family Bible above referred to. She was the daughter of Thomas and Abigail Wilson. Thomas Wilson was born 5 March 1709-10, and was the son of James and Margaret Wilson. To Joel and Demaris, three children were born: Lyman, Otis and Demaris. She died 6 April 1784, and Joel Converse married, second, 20 January 1785, Elizabeth Bixby, whose first name is given as Eliza in the Killingly town record of births. She was born 2 September 1762, and was the daughter of Jonathan and Eliza Bixby of Killingly. Her line of descent is shown on a subsequent page of this book. Joel Converse was one of the first settlers of Lyme, Grafton Co., N. H., where, in 1788, he selected a piece of wild land on a high hill now indicated on maps of the town as "Davidson's Hill," made a clearing, and erected a frame house. At that time but fifteen families had settled there, "under great hardships and discouragements." His wife's brother, Samuel Bixby, and William Davidson had made a settlement there in 1786. In March 1789, he moved his wife and five children to the farm at Lyme, where the remainder of his life was spent, and where he died, 29 June 1822. The location of his farm on Davidson's Hill was three miles east of the main road which leads from Lyme to Orford, and on the hill road which leaves the main road near Lyme Pond. Its outlook toward the southwest and towards the west was a grand one from twelve to forty miles in extent. The intervening hills were lower than that on which the farm was situated, and shut out the view of the Connecticut Valley only, leaving the distant outlook unobstructed. The farm was good wheat land, and it is recalled by one of the descendants of Joel Converse that in those days wheat in that locality "was food, and money too." Joel Converse was said by his son, Amasa, to have served in the American army during the Revolutionary War for a few months only, as he had to provide for a widowed mother.

Miss Ellen D. Lamed, historian of Windsor Co., Conn., says: "The Revolutionary war service of Joel is not reported in Connecticut's official record, but I have no doubt but that he went out, probably with the militia. All the men of sound body went out some time; but in many cases no report was made."

A son of Joseph Elliott Converse' recalls hearing his father (son of Joel's brother David) tell about Joel having been spoken of as "an educated man" by David, while deploring his own lack of educational opportunities. Joel Converse was of medium height, of strong athletic build, with light complexion and blue eyes. He was a stem disciplinarian in his family. His second wife, Elizabeth Bixby, was of very large stature, and all of her sons and daughters were of commanding size. Her brothers, Samuel Bixby, Jacob Bixby and Jonathan Bixby, were soldiers in the American army during the Revolutionary War, Samuel from New Hampshire, and Jacob and Jonathan from Connecticut.

The Bixby family were also among the first settlers of Lyme. Samuel, brother of Elizabeth (Bixby) Converse, first came to Lyme about 1776. He was a young man, unmarried. He entered the War for Independence, and afterwards married and brought his bride to Lyme. With his brother Jonathan he settled there in 1786, his farm adjoining that of Joel Converse'.

Mrs. Elizabeth Bixby Converse died in Lyme, 12 November 1850.

The following recollections of her are contributed by her granddaughter, Mrs. Miriam Elizabeth (Converse) Smith of Ypsilanti, Mich.: Grandmother's home in Lyme, N. H., was the old hill farm, joining the farm of her brother Samuel Bixby. This also was my early home. I was fifteen years old when she died, and, as she died at the age of 90 years, I only remember her as an old lady, sitting in her easy chair knitting or sewing, for she was very industrious. She also helped about the lighter housework, as far as her strength allowed. She was very intelligent, -a great reader,-tho' in those days books and newspapers were not very plentiful in the country homes of New England. Perhaps the Bible was studied all the more for this reason. I know that grandmother read and studied hers regularly and had her daily seasons of secret prayer. She was a deeply religious woman. Christian duties always had the first place in her heart and life, and it seemed to me that there was no end to the hymns she could repeat, and which she seemed to enjoy repeating so much, especially on the Sabbath, really making it a day of worship at home when unable to attend church, which was many times the case on account of the distance and the weakness of age.

No one ever came to our home even for a short stay, when she did not inquire of them tenderly and earnestly in regard to their relations to God. With a child's curiosity I used to watch and listen for these confidences. I remember of a tramp' coming once, a man well known in the town as a tramp, and addicted to the habit of drinking, liquor whenever he could get it. I saw and heard her put the usual question to him. To my surprise he took from his pocket a part of a Testament, and assured her of his interest and the comfort he had in reading it.

I think that in her younger days she must have been energetic, courageous and high spirited. I often heard her tell of her first coming to Lyme, She came on horseback from Connecticut to visit her brothers, riding a spirited horse that had been used in the army during the Revolutionary War. She never failed to say that when riding through a town or village she would spur up her horse that she might make a fine appearance.

She was always happy and cheerful when well. Sometimes when ill she would be somewhat depressed and anxious, but in her last illness, which lasted only a few days, she had no anxiety, no wish to recover. She was satisfied with life, ready to go, and so was the promise verified: At evening time it shall be light.'

"From the children of Joel Converse large families have sprung; and, whether residents of Lyme or other places, they have been reckoned among the substan tial and respected citizens. Many of them have become teachers of much ability and extensive learning."

The original farm, since its first settlement, continued in the family in direct descent, from Joel,5 to Theron,6 to Benjamin Porter,7 to Sidney Alpheus,8. In 1889 the homestead was sold to George W. Kibbe. The original house forms a part of the present dwelling (1900).

Children of Joel and Demaris (Wilson) Converse:

LYMAN CONVERSE,6 born in Thompson Parish, Killingly, Conn.,3 July 1779 ; died in Lyme N. H., 16 Sept. 1864; married, 1st, Mary Kent; married, 2nd, Mrs. Electa (White) Converse, a widow. (66)

OTIS CONVERSE,6 born 24 Sept. 1781; died in Parishvile, N. Y., in 1826; married Clarissa Porter. (67)

DEMARIS CONVERSE,6 born, in Thompson Parish, 6 Aug. 1783; married Asa Taintor. (68)

Children of Joel and Elizabeth (Bixby) Converse:

JOHN CONVERSE,6 JR., born, in Thompson, 5 Nov. 1785; died in Lyme, N. H., 22 May 1874; married, 1st, Hope Tinkham; married, 2nd, Abigail Coult. (69)

THERON CONVERSE,6 born, in Thompson, 19 May 1787; died in Lyme, N. H., 7 April 1861 married, let, Mary Porter; married, 2nd, Miriam Carpenter. (70)

MARQUIS CONVERSE,6 born in Lyme, N. H., 12 July 1789; died there 21 Nov. 1840; married Electa white. (71)

ELIZABETH CONVERSE,6 born in Lyme, N. H., 20 May 1791; died in Orfordville, N. H., 16 April 1863; married, 1st, Asa Taintor; married, 2nd, Ira Morey. (72)

SARAH CONVERSE,6 born, in Lyme, 2 July 1793; died there 11 Feb. 1864; married Joshua Thornton. (73)

AMASA CONVERSE,6 D.D., born, in Lyme, 21 Aug. 1795; died in Louisville, Ky., 9 Dec. 1872; married Flavia Booth. (74)

JOHN KENDRICK CONVERSE,6 REVEREND, born, in Lyme, 15 June 1801; died in Burlington, Vt., 3 Oct. 1880; married Sarah Allen. (75)


  1. Title: Pvt.
  2. Birth: 02 SEP 1750 in Thompson, Windham Co., CT
  3. Residence: ABT 1788 Lyme, Grafton Co., NH
  4. Military Service: Private and Militiaman
view all 15

Joel Converse's Timeline

September 11, 1750
Killingly, Windham, Connecticut
July 3, 1779
Age 28
Thompson Parish, Killingly, Windham Co., CT
September 24, 1781
Age 31
August 6, 1783
Age 32
Thompson Parish, Killingly, Connecticut, United States
November 5, 1785
Age 35
Thompson Parish, Killingly, Connecticut, United States
May 19, 1787
Age 36
Thompson, Windham, Connecticut
July 12, 1789
Age 38
Lyme, New Hampshire, United States
May 20, 1791
Age 40
Lyme, New Hampshire, United States