Background: The Joslin farm is located on a tributary of the Mad River some 20-miles southwest of Montpelier, Vermont’s capital. Cyrus Joslin purchased the property in 1831 and lived there with his wife and ten children until his death in 1866. It was his generation that built a 2½- story vernacular/Greek revival farmhouse c. 1860. At Cyrus’ death an inventory valued the 93-acre homestead at $3,200 and 75-acres of adjoining mountain land at $250.
A member of the Joslin clan, David Clement “Clem” Joslyn (note the different spelling) purchased the land in 1901 and 1910 from Cyrus’ descendents. A 1911 inventory shows the farm owning a yoke of oxen, two yearling heifers, 13 milk cows, a bull, two 2-year old steers, three hogs and two horses.
It was Clem, a Waitsfield town selectman for 23-years and a one-term member of the state legislature, who built the duodecagonal (12-sided polygonal) barn in 1910. Reportedly, the barn was designed by a second cousin, James Julian Joslin, who also designed a similar barn for a Bert Joslin.
The 80’ diameter and 61.4’ high (top of cupola) barn was in continuous use for dairy cows from 1910 until 1969 when Marge Joslyn served husband Ralph the ultimatum, “Either the cows go or I go!” Jack and Doreen Simko’s purchase of the farm in March 1986 ended the 155-year, seven- generation Joslin/Joslyn family stewardship.