Biography of Gordon Rollin Joslyn

No name is more prominently and actively associated with the automobile mercantile industry in Western Massachusetts than that of Mr. Joslyn, who is the executive head of the Franklin County Dealers’ Exchange, and who within a very few years has expanded the garage and agency interests of which he has charge throughout a territory that is not bounded by the county.

Mr. Joslyn performs the business in which he has made himself a leader thoroughly and well, and centralizing his forces as president of the Joslyn Motor Company at Greenfield, he has found therein the rewards of a lifelong career in which he has mastered the one vocation to which he has always devoted himself. Veteran of the World War, Mr. Joslyn received therein due honors for expert ordnance service; and deeply interested in the progress of Greenfield in all civic, business and social matters, he possesses the soldier’s and the loyal civilian’s zeal in all movement towards the community’s prosperity. He is of an old race of valiant and renowned ancestors of the name Joslyn, of the following of William of Normandy, in England, and of those who came overseas as American colonists, and all bearing the stamp of aggressive and accomplished leaders in every stage.

The known history of the Josselyn (Joslin, Josslyn) family antedates the time of Charlemagne, whose daughter married Count Joceline. One of the descendants of this union was Sir Gilbert Jocelyne, who accompanied William, Duke of Normandy, in his conquest of England in 1066, and became the founder of the Joslin family in England. He received from William extensive territorial grants in the county of Lincoln, including the lordships of Sempringham and Tyrington. His son Gilbert devoted himself to a religious life, and founded the order of Gilbertines, and was canonized by Pope Innocent III, in 1202. The younger son, Thomas, married Maude, daughter and co-heiress of John Hyde, of Hyde Hall, and grand-daughter of Baron Sudeley, by which marriage the family obtained the estate which has ever since remained in its possession. One of the descendants married Anne, the heiress of the Percys, and became Duke of Northumberland. Another was a signer of the Magna Charta; another is the present Earl of Roden.

(I) Nathaniel Josselyne was born in 1452, and was a brother of Sir Ralph, the Lord Mayor of London, and Sir Thomas, of Hyde Hall, from whom descended Lord Newport, Viscount Josselyn and Earl of Roden.

(II) James Joslin, seventh son of Nathaniel Josselyne, was born in England in 1497, and he was the first to spell the name Joslin; previously the spelling varied according to the whim of the writer.

(III) Robert Joslin, sixth son and youngest child of James Joslin, was born in England, probably about 1560. He married Martha Cleveland, and they were the parents of Thomas Joslin, immigrant ancestor of the Joslin (Josselyn) family in America.

(IV) Thomas Joslin, son of Robert and Martha (Cleveland) Joslin, was born in England about 1591, and came to America in the ship “Increase” in April, 1635, landing at Hingham, Massachusetts, with his wife Rebecca, son Nathaniel four daughters, Rebecca, Eliza, Dorothy and Mary, and Elizabeth Ward, a servant. Later, an elder son, Abraham, who had been left at school in England, joined the family. Thomas Joslin was a proprietor of the town, 1637, was elected to various town offices, and was a selectman in 1645. He and Nathaniel Joslin sold their land at Hingham, March ii, 1653, to George Land and Moses Collier, and removed to Sudbury, now Wayland, later, with others, settling in Lancaster, Massachusetts. In 1654 he and his son Nathaniel had lands located on the west side of what is now Main Street, a little north of the center.

At the time he settled in Lancaster, the town was on the western outpost of civilization. Thomas Joslin died before the attack by the Indians in 1675; and his son Nathaniel and his family managed to escape to Marlborough. The grandson Abraham was married, and had an infant child; they took refuge in the Rowlandson Garrison, which he helped to defend until they could no longer hold it, and he with others perished in the conflict. His wife and child were taken captives and carried into the wilderness, where they were both subsequently put to death. Thomas Joslin died in 1660, his will was dated May 9, 1660, and proved March 20, 1661. He bequeathed to his wife Rebecca, sons Abraham and Nathaniel, daughters Rebecca Nichols and Elizabeth Emmons, son-inlaw Roger Sumner, grandson Abraham Joslin. His own signature fixed the spelling of the name as Joslin, though variously spelled in records. Thomas Joslin married, in 1614, in London, Rebecca Marlowe. She married, second, William Kerly, of Lancaster. Children of Thomas and Rebecca (Marlowe) Joslin: 1. Rebecca, born in 1617, married Thomas Nichols, died in Hingham September 22, 1675. 2. Abraham 3. Joseph, born 1621, married, and had children 4. Dorothy, born 1624. 5. Nathaniel, of whom further. 6. Elizabeth, born 1629, married, June 21, 1652, in Boston, Edward Yeomans (Emmons). 7. Mary, born 1634, married Roger Sumner, great-great-great-grandfather of Senator Charles Sumner.

(V) Nathaniel Joslyn, son of Thomas and Rebecca (Marlowe) Joslyn (Joslin), born in 1627, in England, died 1694, was an early settler in Lancaster, Massachusetts; he married Sarah King, of Marlborough, Massachusetts. Their children: Nathaniel; Sarah; Dorothy; Peter, of whom further; Elizabeth; Rebecca; Martha; Nathaniel.

(VI) Peter Joslyn, son of Nathaniel and Sarah (King) Joslyn, was born at Lancaster February 22, 1665, died April 8, 1759. He was a man of prominence in civil, military and religious life, in Lancaster; he was a captain of militia, and a deacon in the church. He married (first) Sarah Howe, by whom he had two children, who were massacred by the Indians; he married (second) Joanna Whitcomb; (third) Hannah Farwell. His children: Peter, of whom further; Joanna; Sarah, Rebecca ; Deborah ; John ; Abigail ; Dorothy.

(VII) Peter Joslyn, son of Peter Joslyn, born at Lancaster in 1700, died 1771, married Alice Woods. Their children: Peter; Alice; Nathaniel, of whom further; Hester; Joseph; Samuel.

(VIII) Nathaniel Joslyn, son of Peter and Alice (Woods) Joslyn, born in Lancaster, November 11, 1729, died May 26, 1806. He married (first) Martha Fairbanks; (second) Sarah Bennett; (third) Mary

(IX) Joseph Joslyn, son of Nathaniel Joslyn, born March 18, 1753, at Lancaster; died March 7, 1819. He removed to Weathersfield, Vermont, in 1781, and to Waitsfield, Vermont, in 1806. He married Dorothy Osgood. Their children: Joseph; James; Luke, of whom further; William; Ezra; Nathaniel; Dorothy; Betsy; Hooker; Minerva; Cyrus; Emily.

(X) Luke Joslyn, son of Joseph and Dorothy (Osgood) Joslyn, was born December 10, 1778, at Lancaster, went to Waitsfield, Vermont, in 1805, and died in May, 1834. He married, in December, 1805, Lydia Graves. Their children: Samuel Anderson, of whom further; Almira; Aurilla; Louise; Calvin Jewett; Fanny Spofford; Luke.

(XI) Samuel Anderson Joslyn, son of Luke and Lydia (Graves) Joslyn, was born January 17, 1808, at Waitsfield, Vermont, and died March 7, 1883. His vocation was that of farmer. He went to Missouri in 1866, in company with a colony from Vermont. He was one of the pioneers of the West, owning some two hundred and sixty acres of land twenty miles from the railroad, where he built a log cabin and raised corn and wheat. He married Almira Dale, of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, who died in 1897, aged eighty-two years. Their children: 1. Almira Fidelia, who married George Weeks, deceased. 2 Rollin Orlando, deceased. 3. Ferora Celestia, deceased 4. Evelyn Marietta, married (first) Henry Hazelton, (second) Samuel Parker. 5. Fannie Louise, married Wilburt Joslyn. 6. Wilder Josiah, of whom further.

(XII) Wilder Josiah Joslyn, son of Samuel and Almira (Dale) Joslyn, was born March 21, 1858, at Brownington, Vermont, and he resides at Orleans, Vermont; there he attended school, and also in Missouri, where he went with his parents at eight years of age to live in a log cabin. He left school at fifteen years of age. At nineteen years he returned to Orleans, there to make his home to the present. He first learned the trade of wheelwright, and for four years afterwards was in the farming line. Then, learning the carpenter’s trade, he has continued therein thirty-three years, and as a contractor the past twenty-six years. He has been a member of the special police force for twenty years, and has served as town grand juror. His fraternal affiliations are those of the Modern Woodmen of America; and he has served as treasurer of the Congregational Church since 1902. He married, January 1, 1887, Ella M. Todd, of Westfield, Vermont, born May 28, 1868, a daughter of Edward M. and Lucy M. (Ward) Todd. They had one son, Gordon Rollin, of whom further.

(XIII) Gordon Rollin Joslyn, son of Wilder Josiah and Ella M. (Todd) Joslyn, was born July 28, 1895, at Orleans, Vermont, where he attended the public and the high schools. He began selling automobiles at the age of sixteen years, and has since been identified with the automobile industry. From 1912 to 1920 he resided in Boston, where he was engaged in selling Ford and Buick cars, wholesale and retail. In the fall of 1916 he went to Greenfield, Massachusetts, in association with the Greenfield Buick Company, and remained with that concern until 1920, when he organized the Joslyn Motor Car Company, and was agent for the Jordon and Chevrolet cars. On January 1, 1921 he incorporated the Joslyn Motor Company, of which he is the president, and Morgan J. Sherman treasurer. They are proprietors of the Mansion House Garage, and Franklin County agents for the Packard and Jordan automobiles. Mr. Joslyn is also president of the Franklin County Automobile Dealers’ Exchange, Incorporated.

Mr. Joslyn enlisted for the United States Government in the World War, in December, 1917, and was assigned to Fort Slocum, New Rochelle, New York; then to Camps Upton, New York, and Raritan, New Jersey, three months each, when he went to the Erie Proving Grounds, in Ohio. The cost of the construction of Camp Erie was $25,000,000, a camp equipped with twenty-five miles of its own railroad and twenty-five blast furnaces. Mr. Joslyn had the testing of guns, and was motor expert. He was mustered out at Plattsburg, in February, 1918, as second lieutenant in the Ordnance Department. He is a member of Republican Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; the Kiwanis Club; Chamber of Commerce; Greenfield Club. His religious fellowship is with the Congregational Church.

Mr. Joslyn married, January 1, 1917, Gladys Mildred Winget, of Orleans, Vermont, a daughter of John and Catherine Alberta (Beslite) Winget. Their children: Gordon Rollin, Jr., born December 19, 1921, at Greenfield; Shirley Ray, born March 8, 1924, at Greenfield.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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