Joel Poinsett

Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851)

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Sec of War Joel Roberts Poinsett
Born in Charleston, South Carolinamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in At the residence of Col. Eustis, Fort Monroe, Norfolk Harbor, VAmap
[children unknown]
Died in Statesburg, Sumter Co., SCmap
Profile last modified | Created 10 Aug 2015
This page has been accessed 875 times.

Categories: US Representatives from South Carolina | US Ambassadors to Mexico | US Secretaries of War | Famous People of the 19th Century | Greenville, South Carolina | Charleston, South Carolina | Namesakes US Counties | American Notables.

Joel Poinsett is notable.
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Preceded by
14th Secretary of War
Lewis Cass

Preceded by
US Envoy to Mexico

James Wilkinson

Joel Roberts Poinsett
15th United States
Secretary of War
War Dept

United States
Minister to Mexico
Department of State
Succeeded by
16th Secretary of War
John Bell

Succeeded by
US Special Diplomatic Agent to Mexico

Anthony Butler


Joel Roberts Poinsett (March 2, 1779 – December 12, 1851) was an American physician and diplomat. He was the first U.S. agent in South America, a member of the South Carolina legislature and the United States House of Representatives, the first United States Minister to Mexico (the United States did not appoint ambassadors until 1896), a U.S. Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, and a co-founder of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts (a predecessor of the Smithsonian Institution.)

Born in 1779 in Charleston, South Carolina, to a wealthy physician, Dr. Elisha Poinsett, and his wife Katherine Ann Roberts, he was educated in Connecticut and Europe, gaining expertise in languages, the law, and military affairs.

He died of tuberculosis, hastened by an attack of pneumonia, in Stateburg, South Carolina, in 1851, and is buried at the Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal Cemetery. [1]

First Minister to Mexico.

He had a home in Greenville, SC, which is now a private club. The website for the club has beautiful photographs of the home: The Poinsett Club

His life and career are well documented on and won't be recounted here.[2]

Another wonderful read can be found here; [3]


  • Secretary Poinsett is the eponym of Poinsett County, Arkansas; Poinsett Highway, Poinsett Bridge, and Poinsett State Park in South Carolina; Lake Poinsett in South Dakota; and the poinsettia, a popular Christmas plant.


  • Edward A. Riedinger, "Joel Roberts Poinsett," in Encyclopedia of Mexico, vol. 2, p. 1095. Chicago: Fitzroy and Dearborn 1997.
  • Oren, M. Power, Faith, and Fantasy--America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, page 49, Norton, 2007.
  • Riedinger, "Joel Roberts Poinsett," p. 1095.
  • Joshua M. "Jacksonian Nationalist: Joel R. Poinsett's role in the Nullification Crisis." Georgia Southern University, 2008
  • Rathbun, Richard. The Columbian institute for the promotion of arts and sciences: A Washington Society of 1816-1838. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, October 18, 1917. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  • Thompson, Edward N., "Joel Robert Poinsett: The Man Behind the Flower", Short Talk Bulletin, Masonic Service Association of the United States, December 1984


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No known carriers of Joel's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Joel R Poinsett
Joel R Poinsett


Emperor of Mexico
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On 12 Aug 2015 at 15:33 GMT Mags Gaulden wrote:

Nice profile Kelly! Mags

Joel is 25 degrees from Robin Helstrom, 25 degrees from Katy Jurado and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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