Biography of Joseph J. Volin

Joseph J. Volin, a pioneer in South Dakota, played a crucial role in the development of Yankton County. Born in Canada in 1838, he moved to Iowa with his family before settling in South Dakota. Overcoming hardships, including crop destruction and floods, Volin became a prosperous farmer, eventually owning a 400-acre cultivated farm. He actively participated in community affairs, helping to establish the first school in his district and serving as a school trustee for two decades. Volin, a Democrat who prioritized merit over party, was also a respected member of the Congregational Church.

JOSEPH J. VOLIN.— With the pioneer conditions of South Dakota, Joseph J. Volin is entirely familiar, and he has been an important factor in the upbuilding and development of Yankton County. He was born near Montreal, Canada, on the 17th of December, 1838, and is a son of Charles and Mary (Bornier) Volin, who were also natives of the Dominion, where the father was engaged in farming in early life. In 1848, he removed with his family to Dubuque County, Iowa, and bought forty acres of land near the city of Dubuque, making his home there until called to his final rest at the age of fifty-two years. Throughout his active business life, he continued to engage in general farming. Politically, he affiliated with the Democratic Party, and religiously, he was a communicant of the Catholic Church. In his family were thirteen children, seven of whom are still living.

During his boyhood, Joseph J. Volin accompanied his parents on their removal to Dubuque County, Iowa, and there grew to manhood. In 1866, he married Miss Amanda Taylor, a daughter of Lamb and Margaret (Cornell) Taylor, whose early home was in North Carolina. Leaving there in 1853, when Mrs. Volin was quite young, Mr. Taylor and his family came north and settled in Decatur County, Iowa, where he resided until 1865, which year witnessed his arrival in Vermillion, Clay County, South Dakota. He, too, was a farmer by occupation. His death occurred in 1873, and his wife died in 1880. They had twelve children, and six of the number are still living. Both he and his wife were earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics, he was a Democrat. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Volin, eight children have been born, as follows: Mary, now the wife of Charles Devoe, a farmer; Gertrude, deceased; Hattie, the wife of Samuel Good, a farmer; Estella, the wife of George Hanney, also a farmer; Nellie, the wife of James Devine, a farmer; and Edward, Lyda, and Ray, all at home. The children have been provided with good educational privileges, all attending the common schools, and Ray is now a student at Yankton College.

Mr. Volin is now the owner of a fine farm of four hundred acres, all under cultivation, though his early life here was fraught with many hardships. For twelve years, he lived in a dirt house, his present comfortable frame residence being erected in 1880. For four years, the grasshoppers destroyed nearly all his crops, and in 1881 and 1882, he lost over one thousand dollars in the damage caused by the floods. However, he has steadily overcome all obstacles in the path to success and is now a prosperous and substantial farmer. In 1873, he helped to organize the first school in his district, which was conducted in a log house for five years, and for twenty years, he most efficiently and satisfactorily served as a school trustee. He generally supports the men and measures of the Democratic Party, but at local elections votes for the candidates whom he believes are best qualified for office, regardless of party ties. Religiously, he is an active member of the Congregational Church and is held in high regard by all who know him.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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