So few old photos are annotated. When I found an obituary taped to the back of this one, it gave a face to the facts I had collected.
Joseph A. Colman was born in July 1893 to Charles G. Colman and Margaret Moore. He was the fourth generation of Colmans born in Otsego County, NY. His great-great-grandfather, Samuel Colman had settled in Stewart's Patent (Springfield) about 100 years earlier. His mother was an Irish immigrant.
When he was 6, the family included older brother Albert and younger sister Gertrude. They lived in a rented home and his father was a Head Sawyer, according to the 1900 U.S. census. His grandfather, Dewitt Colman, had operated the sawmill on the Susquehanna with Joseph's uncles. In 1910, Joseph's father and older brother Albert were both working in the sawmill. Joseph was still in school at 16. He had an additional brother, Charles, 12 years younger.
Joseph married Alice Depaul about 1914 and had three children: Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, and Lewis. He was a skilled pianist with local orchestras in the Cooperstown area.
At 24 he enlisted in the Army in December 1917, trained at Camp Dix, and in April of 1918 he came home on a 10 day leave. He served in Battery D of the 309th Heavy Artillery. His battalion served at the Argonne Forest in France. He died January 3, 1921 in France of a respiratory ailment, either influenza or pneumonia caused by gassing. His funeral was held in Cooperstown a few days later.
His cousin Bessie Coleman served on a committee to establish a war memorial in Cooperstown, on which his name was inscribed.