WNC History Timeline

Please send corrections.
www.childers-shepherd.org, 13 Jul 2009
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

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.