Wednesday, December 02, 2020

A missing piece in the Julien family puzzle

The following brief reference to the 1865 death of Isaac Julien (sometimes spelled Julian) turned up the other day in the Weekly Ottumwa Courier of Feb. 2, 1865, as I was searching for Lucas County-related news items published during years for which no files for Chariton newspapers exist.

It's one of those missing pieces of Isaac's history, but a somewhat enigmatic one. What was he doing in bed at the Chariton House when he lived nearby --- four miles out near the top of what now we call the U.S. 34 Whitebreast Hill just east of Lucas. Was he ill? Had the weather turned, stranding him in town? I doubt we'll ever know. 

Whatever the case, here's the item: "Isaac Julian, says the Chariton Patriot, was found dead in bed at the Chariton House on Saturday night a week ago. Verdict of the jury, 'died of appoplexy.' Mr. J. resided four miles west of Chariton." The death had occurred on Jan. 21.

Isaac is a familiar character, to me at least, because he figures largely in a brief 1923 memoir written by his sister-in-law, Ellen Berry Badger, that includes an excellent account of the trek by ox-drawn wagon that Isaac and his wife, Lucretia (Berry) Julien, her sister, Ellen, and others made to Lucas County from Indiana during the fall of 1853. You'll find that memoir here, "From Indiana to Iowa in 1853."

The Julien family tombstone in the Chariton Cemetery is intact, but battered. It also marks the grave of Lucretia, who died on Sept. 20, 1890.

Isaac's father, Rene Julien, along for the 1853 journey west from Indiana, also is buried on this lot. He died March 16, 1861, but his remains were moved here during 1936 from the Watson Cemetery in Whitebreast Township, near the Julien settlement, when it was destroyed by railroad construction. Rene shares a tombstone, also moved with their remains from one cemetery to the other, with his granddaughter, Mary Ellen, a daughter of Isaac and Lucretia, who died at age 2 on March 31, 1862.

Here's a link, "A Tale of Two Tombstones," to more information about Watkins Cemetery and the removal of the remains it contained to Chariton during 1936.

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