Monday, April 1, 2013

Joshua Tanner and the Elusive Reed's Corner

See additional information on this topic at Genealogy's Star. (Surname books and the Reed's Corner Mystery.)

Year: 1790; Census Place: Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island; Roll: M637_10; Page: 44; Image: 0076.

Joshua Tanner (b. 27 July 1757, d. 12 September 1807) is the father of the relatively well-known John Tanner (b. 15 August 1778, d. 13 April 1850). Joshua Tanner married Thankful Tefft (b. 11 March 1757, d. 18 November 1822). Both Joshua and Thankful were born in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island. Joshua is reported to have died in Reeds Corner, Washington, New York. However, this is not substantiated. The John Tanner Family book[1] (known as the green book) gives Joshua’s death location as “Joshua Tanner removed to Washington Co., N. Y., and died near Reed’s Corners Sept. 12, 1807. The following epitaph is from his tombstone:
“When in this yard my grave you see,

My dear wife, weep not for me,
My time was come, and blessed is he
That called my to eternity.”
John Tanner is listed as his second child.

There are four locations listed as Reed’s Corners in New York state by the Geographic Names Information System of the United States Geological Survey.[2] None of these is currently in Washington County, New York.

In 1807 at the time of Joshua’s death, Washington County comprised the area now split between Washington County and Warren County, so none of the listed locations for Reed’s Corner were even in that county at that time. There is a FindAGrave memorial for Joshua Tanner but no grave information and it appears that the information was merely copied from the John Tanner Family book.[3]

The 1790 U.S. Census record shown above, indicates that he was still living in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island in 1790. See citation in caption. He also shows up in the 1800 U.S. Census in Argyle, Washington, New York.

Year: 1800; Census Place: Argyle, Washington, New York; Roll: 26; Page: 253; Image: 249; Family History Library Film: 193714.

 Transcription of the image.

Joshua Tanner
Home in 1800 (City, County, State):
Argyle, Washington, New York
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over:
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15:
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over:
Number of Household Members Under 16:
Number of Household Members Over 25:
Number of Household Members:

Argyle is definitely a town in Washington County, New York. The town was formed from the Argyll Patent of 1764 while still in Albany County, Province of New York and became a town in Charlotte County when it was created March 24, 1772. In 1784, following the American Revolution, the State of New York renamed Charlotte County as Washington County. Since many of the original settlers were from Argyll, Scotland, they adopted the name of their native land to the town. Although population growth was slow, the town was the most populous in the county by 1790.

In 1803, part of the town was used to establish the new Town of Greenwich. See Wikipedia: Argyle, New York

It is significant that part of Argyle became the town of Greenwich, because his daughter, Thankful Tefft Tanner (b. 20 December 1780, d. 30 May 1832, md. Alpheus Barber b. 10 January 1775, d. ) was buried in June of 1832 on the Alpheus Barber Farm, near Greenwich, Washington, New York. 

Although it is clear that Joshua Tanner lived in Argyle, Washington, New York, it is still unclear as to where he died and is buried. There is or was a grave marker but the location of Reed's Corner in Washington County is still a mystery.

[1] Tanner, Maurice, and George C. Tanner. Descendants of John Tanner Born August 15, 1778 at Hopkintown, R.I., Died April 15, 1850 at South Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah. [S.l.]: Tanner Family Association, 1942. <>.

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