Joseph Alderson Bobbitt was born on December 31, 1858 in the home of Rufus Bobbitt on McMillians Creek in what is today Nicholas County, West Virginia. Joseph was the first son and child of James Toliver and Malinda Catherine (Alderson) Bobbitt. The Aldersons were a fine family of Greenbrier and Nicholas Counties. They were strong on ambition and character in their own family and very critical of anyone who married into their family. Whatever the merits the criticism may have had, there is not doubt that Joseph Bobbitt had all the best qualities of both families.
Joseph was born into a controversial and uncertain time in the history of the area and his father was frequently outspoken and in the center of every controversy. The family lived for a short time in Cabel County, but after the war between the states was over they were forced to migrate to Kentucky and eventually to Missouri.
In 1864 Joseph and his family, along with the family of his grandfather, Tilman Bobbitt left West Virginia and joined James T. Bobbitt in Springfield, Illinois. Joseph was only six years of age and must have realized the fast changing pace of his life. In 1867 the family was in Pike County, Missouri. By 1870 the family was living in North Platte, Nebraska. The family moved to Limestone County, Texas in 1877 and about 1880 moved to Hill County, Texas.
Joseph Bobbitt in the early years of his life was just a little uncertain of himself, which is understandable considering the numerous moves his family had made and the various deaths that the family had been subjected to. An interesting story is told in several different ways about a day on January 5, 1883 when Joseph Bobbitt went to the home of Robert Moore Duff where his daughter Laura Abigail Duff was to be married. Joseph Bobbitt had been in love with Laura Duff for some time and knew now that his last chance had arrived. He sent word to the bride that he wanted to marry her and that if she agreed he would be waiting with a ladder outside of her bedroom window. Laura agreed and the couple left the home just a short time before the wedding was to begin. On January 6, 1883 the couple were married, in Hill County, Texas by an uncle of Joseph Bobbitt, the Reverend Stephen E. Whipkey. Laura Abigail Duff was the daughter of Robert Moore Duff and Mary Jane (Farnsworth) Duff. She was a woman of great intelligence, positive in action and an inspiration to the lives she touched. She more than any other person had a strong influence on the form- ation of the character of Joseph Alderson Bobbitt. Laura Duff was born in Hill County, Texas on January 10, 1862. The Duffs and the Farnsworths had originated in McNairy, Tennessee. It is said that the Bobbitts and Duffs originally met in Pike County, Missouri, and that the two families migrated together to Texas.