Joseph Isger was born in Frome, Somerset, England in 1824.His first known job was as a servant in the household of the local vicar in the Nunney parish, Frome.
Joseph moved to London with his elder brother, John and became a draper in the city. He married Sarah in 1848 and two children, Susan and Albert were born in London.
Three years later Joseph left London and his family and arrived in New York on the 19th July 1851 on board the Sir John Peel. Along with many other migrants he made his way to Pennsylvania which, with the discovery of anthracite coal and the rapid development of railroads, had a growing demand for labour. Two years later in August 1953, his wife, Sarah and the two children, Susan and Albert, arrived in New York on the SS Northumberland. William Isger, brother to Joseph was also on board the ship.
In the following years, two more children, Elizabeth and Henry, were born to the couple in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.Like many other immigrants, Joseph worked on the railroad and became an engineer.In September 1862, he enlisted in the 13th Regiment Militia Infantry of the Union Army but served only a few weeks as the company was disbanded before the end of the month.
An 1865 tax assessment showed that he had earned $111 in the year and paid $5.55 in tax. In today's terms, his taxable earnings would have been about $12500 -
Joseph and family were still living in Carbondale, PA and he had risen to become a stable boss. Sarah had died and he had married Jeanette Stafford, adding a further three children to the four borne by Sarah.
In the next census, he was employed as an engineer on the railroad. His sons were also employed on various railroad jobs. The census lists the value of his estate at $2500 which was no mean figure then and probably worth in excess of $50000 now. Jeanette died in 1885 with typhoid and he married for a 3rd time in 1886 to Elvira, a single lady, some 17 years his junior.
Joseph became a trustee of the Maplewood Cemetery in Carbondale where he was laid to rest in 1900. So, from his humble beginnings in Frome, Somerset, England where he started work as a servant to the local rector, he became a draper in London before seeking fortune across the Atlantic Ocean. Once in Pennsylvania, he seems to have worked hard, improving his skills and becoming a responsible citizen. His American descendants should be proud of him.
Carbondale locals may well remember Isger's Dairy owned by Robert and Edward Isger, great grandsons of Joseph.
Bob and Janet Isger
|Roll of Honour|
|Charles Arnold Australia|
|William Isger Mystery|
|John Levett - convict|