Though his known life history is quite lurid, I have spent 40 years searching for the parents of my great-grandfather. He was born in 1859, first married in Salt Lake City in 1884, divorced while in prison, arrested repeatedly for minor crimes, imprisoned a second time in the early 1890's, married my great-grandmother in 1897 (after she had given birth to an incestuous child with her father), and then manages to divorce her on the same day she divorced another man (because she was caught in a bigamous situation). All of this is reported in various Utah and Western newspapers in 1908. The marriages and births of children from my great-grandparents are duly recorded (though with a good deal of fantasy information). Regretfully, none of the sources list his parents names. The only available census to solve this riddle about him is 1900, and that information is suspect on too many levels to list here. What am I missing as a place/way to search?
Some facts about his life:
- Joseph Edward Raymond was in the Utah Territorial Prison from 1885 to 1888 and again in the early 1890's. I have copies of those records.
- The 1860 and 1870 censuses have multiple options in New York for "Joseph Raymond", as indicated on the 1900 census as POB. Same in Pennsylvania, which is shown on the prison record, though not specifically named as POB.
- No Utah record exists to show Joseph ever owned real property.
- Joseph died a pauper in 1910 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Salt Lake City.
- His father-in-law (Joseph Winkle Sawyer) was fairly notorious because of an incest trial in 1896, after he had a child with daughter Eugenia Dorleski Sawyer. How JE Raymond met Eugenia is lost because Eugenia made a point of laying false trails all over the place to protect the incestuous son (Thomas Ray "Raymond").
- The marriage of JER and Eugenia in 1897 was likely more for Eugenia to gain respectability than for romance because they separated within a year or two, leaving Eugenia with a second son (Joseph Corwin Raymond).
- The only place the name of JER's 1st wife appears is in the divorce papers of 1887 where she is allowed to use her maiden name - Jessie Larsen. A news article at the time lists her as Julia Larson. No prior census in U.S. shows a Jessie Larsen who could have been his wife.
- Two of Eugenia's sisters married into polygamous marriages in Southern Utah.
- JW Sawyer was a key figure in Green River, Utah during the years of the "Wild Bunch" (which included Butch Cassidy). Sawyer even owned a tavern/brothel while he was sheriff.
- Lastly, recent DNA evidence seems to show that somehow JER is descended from Joseph Roger (born 1770) and Marie Magdeleine Babin (born 1780). Family lore includes claims JER is of "Basque descent". The surname "Raymond" derives from Toulouse, France, when hundreds of Raymonds of Toulouse made their way through Canada and into the U.S.. The recent DNA evidence supports an Acadian ancestry.
Family lore also has JE Raymond as a contortionist at the Salt Palace, and at some point a member of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. I started searching in 1975 and no record remains of minor employees at the Salt Palace, nor is there a record of low level acts or employees of the "Wild West Show" that actually did perform in Salt Lake City in the mid 1880's.