Joseph Octave Morin 4 January 1879 - 17 November 1965 Quebec, Canada Madison County, NC
Joseph Morin immigrated from Canada to Tampa, Florida, in 1924. According to the 1930 census, he was fifty years old, worked as a carpenter, and lived as a "roomer" in the household of Albert and Christine Grahn. His place of birth, as well as that of his parents, was listed as "French" Canada (i.e. the province of Quebec), and the language spoken at home before coming to the US was French.
In the mid- to late 1930's, he accompanied Stanley and Bergie (Shepherd) Hobson when they returned to Hobson Branch in north Buncombe County from their winter home in Tampa. As they spent their Florida winters buying, fixing up, and reselling modest homes in Tampa, one can speculate that they had met him in the course of using his carpentry services in renovating property there.
Phena Shepherd Howie, who grew up nearby on Hobson Branch, remembers stopping by to see her Aunt Bergie, when he was present. Aunt Bergie introduced him as "Frenchy" to Phena, who remembers that he was painting a landscape picture on an easel in the living room.
Next door, at the old Hobson family home, Stanley Hobson's unmarried sister Sadie lived alone. As she was an invalid due to tuberculosis, neighbors and relatives routinely stopped in to assist her. Young Phena had the job of stopping by every day after school to check on Miss Sadie and help her as needed.
In 1938, Sadie Hobson and Joseph Morin were married. Sadie died in 1943 from "reactivated . . . tuberculosis following influenza". Later, Joseph Morin married Lessie Ammons of Mars Hill, nearby in Madison County.
The story of "Frenchy" was well known in the Shepherd family because he had completed unusual decorations in the living room of the Shepherd family home. On the inside of the front door and door frame, he had highlighted the wood grain with delicate painted lines. Also, he had plastered and painted the brick fireplace and mantle to resemble stone. He seems to have been a welcome guest as well, apparently for his charm and the rare opportunity he afforded for stories from far away.