After all of the research that has been done concerning the Jernigans of Smith County, Mississippi, I have never heard anyone mention the name Joseph Jernigan. Stephen, yes. Harris, yes. Francis M., yes. Never Joseph.
It isn’t surprising that no one has heard of him. He does not appear on either the 1840 census, nor does he appear there in 1850 or any year after. Until now, it seems that no one knew of his existence.
I never would have known about him either if I hadn’t gone digging through the records for Smith County, MS available on http://www.familysearch.com. It was there, while looking through the tax records for 1849, that I first came across Joseph. He is listed among the property owners, right above Harris Jernigan (Journagin). Harris is a name I recognized. He was the oldest son of my 4th great grandparents, Stephen and Keziah Jernigan.
It is assumed that Stephen died sometime between 1848 – 49. I have found a land record for Stephen dating 1848, yet he is not listed in the 1850 census with his wife and family. Harris, the oldest son and probably the oldest child (ages were a bit flexible back then, and his sister, Eliza, was right around the same age), likely inherited some land from his father, which is why he would be listed as a landowner. Did Joseph inherit some of Stephen’s land as well?
Where did Joseph Jernigan come from? In what part of the Jernigan family does he originate? Since he is not listed in the census, we don’t have a place of birth or an approximate birth year. He seems to have come quickly, then left. He did stay long enough to purchase – or inherit – land, yet only a year later, he is not listed in the census. Where did he go?
Yes, it is a big mystery. If anyone has any idea who this Joseph Jernigan may be, I would love to know.