This story begins in 1881 when Mr. Jacob Yuncker purchased farm land near Beal City, Michigan. It happened to be across the road from a then 23-year old pioneer farmer named Joseph Voisin. Mr. Yuncker had a daughter, Mary Ann. She lived with her extended family on her grandparent’s farm down in Westphalia, Michigan near St. Johns.
Mary probably visited her father in Beal City and at some point she met Joe Voisin. They probably met a few times more. Joe played music at Indian dances and at square-dances. Mary attended some of these social gatherings, but since Joe was playing, they couldn’t spend much time together. This probably went on for some months.
Then by March 1884, Mr. Yuncker was considering a move to Oregon. He was probably enticed by advertisements of good, cheap farmland.1 Not wanting to lose his sweetheart, it was time for Joe to make his move. He wrote a love letter to Mary in March 1884. He professed his love for her and said if her father did move to Oregon, he was prepared to sell his farm and follow her there. He had her father’s permission to marry and in less than a year they were married. My great-grandparents Joe and Mary Voisin raised a large family in the close-knit German community of Beal City, Michigan.
Mr. Yuncker never did move to Oregon. Instead he went on to become Nottawa Township supervisor, road commissioner, and school director, as well as the Beal City Postmaster. He ran the local shoemaker shop too. Joseph Voisin went on to be a successful farmer, a Nottawa Township constable, and the first organist at St. Philomena church (now St. Joseph the Worker). He also played the music at Jacob and Margaret Yuncker’s silver wedding anniversary in 1891.
Joseph’s letter to Mary:2
Nottawa March the 23th 1884
Dear friend Mary
I Will take the greatest Pleasure To Write you a few lines to let you know that i am Well yet At present and I Hope My few lines Will find you in The same state as it leaves Me. I promised you that I would Write you a letter.
But you Must excuse Me if I Make Mistakes. I am not used to Write Much and I Was up all Night and played to a indian Dance.
I played to three Dances since your gone.
I think that We Will Have a Big time again
After Easter John gebford He is Building a new Kitchen on his house. He says he is going to give us a good Dance he Will have lots of room. Dear Mary I Wish you would come up till that time.
I would like to have you here. I Can’t injoy my self unless I Can Be with you.
I didend injoy my self yet To Dances With you. I always got to play.
But the same time I think More of you then of anney other girl that I ever seen yet I think your farther he is going to Leave us. In about two weeks he is going to orogon.
But if he goes to Orogon and if He likes it there he Will Move out there and then i will Sell out here and go along. I told your farther that i was going to Marrey You till Next fall and if he goes away he wouldend Be to the wedding. He told me that we could Marrey anney time when we are redy if he is here or not he said that he will look for a place for Me two then i will Sell my place and then we will all go together. [I’m not] going to stay [here if] your folks Moves away. I Haven’t got anney friends Here except you.
I Know lots More yet But I Can tell it Better to you if you Come again. So I Will Close my writing for this time.
And i will send my love And Best respects to you.
Please Answer me this letter So that i know Wether you got it or not. I Wouldend like it if Somebody else would [gited].
My [pen] is poor
And My ink is frail
And my love to you
Shall never fail
This letter Comes from your Beloved friend Joseph Voisin to my Beloved friend Mary Ann Yuncker
- “Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal,” database, Central Michigan University Library, CMU Online Digital Object Repository (http://condor.cmich.edu/: downloaded 6 May 2015), Isabella County Enterprise, October 22, 1879, State of Oregon, Government Land, page 7, column 5. Representative advertisement of the day.
- Irene (Blasen) Smith, letter to Mike Voisin, February 2002. Photostatic copy of original letter by Joseph Voisin.