Joseph Balestier was born about 1788 in France.
The earliest definite knowledge about Joseph is derived from a petition filed by Joseph asking to be appointed consul, probably dated May 15, 1827, now in the United States National Archives in Washington. He says that in 1822 he was temporarily residing in the Island of St. Thomas Danish West Indies, and was left In charge of the United States Consulate while the Consul was on leave. Later he was a merchant in New York, perhaps part of the time as Balestier Bros., with tanneries in York, Pennsylavania.
The petition says further that his business failed in 1833, and with the petition are various letters from prominent men in New York, Massachusetts and Maine, recommending him for a consular post. On Oct. 11, 1833, he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as United States Consul at Rhio, Island of Bintang (now Bintan, Netherlands East Indies), was confirmed by the Senate Jan. 10, 1834, and arrived at his post May 13, 1834. He made Singapore (now British Malaya) his place of residence, and on July , 1836, he was appointed United States consul at Singapore. While he was in Singapore American ships were given equal trading rights with the East India Company. He had a large house on a 1,000 acre sugar-cane and cotton plantation, with a plant to manufacture sugar and rum.
His wife Maria died in Singapore on Aug. 22, 1847, and on account of ill health he left Singapore May 8, 1848, and reached the United State in August, 1848. On Aug. 16, 1849, he was appointed by President Zachary Taylor as Special Agent of the United States State Department and instructed to proceed to Cochin China and other parts of Southeastern Asia to negotiate treaties with several countries. Mr. Ireland provides additional detail on the trip to Asia. 
joseph returned to the United States and made several efforts to be appoinetd to other positions but was not successful.
Joseph died 12 Nov. 1858, his obituary in the York Gazette of 16 Nov. says that he had been in bad health for some time and took his residence in York "a few months ago". He was buried at Saint Johns Episcopal Churchyard, York, Pennsylvania. His memorial has a photo of his gravestone.
Joseph Balestier at Singapore Infopedia.
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