Conrad Smith, Bedford County, Pennsylvania

Introduction: Conrad Smith is included as a Bedford County gunsmith based on collector publications that put him at the residence of the gunsmith William Defibaugh (in Monroe Township, near Robinsonville) in 1852 as an apprentice. I have not seen the 1852 record and don't know if it specifically states Conrad Smith was an apprentice, or if the apprentice status was inferred.

So far, the only Conrad Smith who I have found in Monroe Township would have been about 37-years-old in 1852. I have listed what I have found about him as part of an ongoing research effort, without claiming that he is the right Conrad Smith.

There were many families with the surname Smith in Bedford County and adjoining counties, and perhaps one of them had a son named Conrad that I just haven't found yet. If some other younger individual named Conrad Smith was the 1852 apprentice, then all of the information I have collected below about the Bedford County Conrad Smith who was born in 1815 would pertain to the wrong individual. There were two individuals named Conrad Smith in the 1850 census of Somerset County. What is needed is a comprehensive search of the 1850 census of Bedford, Huntingdon, and Fulton counties to see if any other individuals named Conrad Smith can be identified.

1815: The tombstone of a Conrad Smith who is buried at Robinsonville indicates that he was born in 1815.

Circa 1837-1838: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Conrad Smith had a son named Andrew who was born circa 1837-1838.

Circa 1840: The 1850 census suggests that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Rachel who was born circa 1840.

1840: A Conrad Smith household appears in a transcript the 1840 census of Southampton Township, Bedford County with one male and one female in the 20 to 30 age bracket, and one male and one female in the up to age five bracket. This is the only Conrad Smith household in the transcript of the 1840 census.

1840: The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" states, "Monroe township was organized in 1840".

Circa 1841-1843: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Rebecca who was born circa 1841-1843.

Circa 1845: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Ellen who was born circa 1845.

Circa 1846-1848: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Conrad Smith had a son named John who was born circa 1846-1848.

Circa 1847: The 1850 census suggests that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Hester who was born circa 1847.

1850: In a transcript of the 1850 Federal Census of Monroe Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, a Conrod Smith is enumerated as a 35-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer. In his household are 30-year-old Pennsylvania-born Margaret, 12-year-old Andrew, 10-year-old Rachel, 9-year-old Rebecca, 5-year-old Ellen, 4-year-old John, and 3-year-old Hester. I was not able to check all of the 1850 federal census of Bedford County for individuals named Conrad Smith. I did not find a Conrad Smith in the 1850 agricultural census of Monroe Township.

1850: In a complete transcript of the 1850 census of Somerset County, there are two Conrad Smith households. One is a 22-year-old married farmer living in Allegheny Township, and the other is a 50-year-old laborer living in the borough of Berlin. In the complete transcripts of Cambria and Blair counties, no individuals named Conrad Smith were listed. I have not been able to search the 1850 censuses of Huntingdon or Fulton Counties for individuals named Conrad Smith.

1852: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that Conrad Smith was an apprentice of William Defibaugh in Monroe Township in 1852, and was recorded as a single free man. The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker and Yantz and the 2017 Whisker book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" identify Conrad Smith as an apprentice in the gunsmithing trade in Robinsonville, apprenticing with William Defibaugh. The place known as Robinsonville is located within the bounds of present-day Monroe Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. William Defibaugh was probably living close enough to Robinsonville to have a Robinsonville post office address. Neither the 2001 book nor the 2017 book repeat the single free man status -- a status that cannot be reconciled with the Conrod Smith who was enumerated in the 1850 census with six children, who would have been about 37-years-old in 1852. Was there another younger Conrad Smith in Monroe Township? Not that I know of.

Circa 1852: The 1860 census suggests that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Esther Ann who was born circa 1852.

Circa 1853: The 1860 census suggests that Conrad Smith had a daughter named Cinderella who was born circa 1853. The obituary of Cinderella McGee was published in the February 26, 1937 issue of the "Everett Press" newspaper. It indicates that her parents were Conrad and Margaret Smith, and she was born in Monroe Township of Bedford County on February 3, 1853.

1860: The following excerpt is from the 1860 census of Southampton Township, Bedford County:

1861: The following notice concerning the property of a Conrad Smith in Southampton Township is from the August 9, 1861 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" newspaper:

1861: A C. Smith residence is shown in Southampton Township near Hoop Pole Ridge and the Monroe Township line on the 1861 Walker map of Bedford County. The C. Smith residence is near a John Robison residence and near an A. Fletcher residence (as described in the Sheriff's sale notice above). The C. Smith residence is also relatively near Robinsonville and relatively near William Defibaugh's residence. The C. Smith residence is illustrated so close to the township line that it may be in both Monroe and Southampton townships. This may help to explain why Conrad Smith appears in the censuses of both townships in different years.

1870: The following excerpt is from the 1870 census of Southampton Township, Bedford County:

1876: The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" states, "Mann township is small both in population and territory. Up to the 8th of December, 1876, it was included in Southampton.".

1876: A C. Smith residence is shown in Mann Township near Hoop Pole Ridge and the Monroe Township line on the following excerpt from the Southampton & Mann Township portion of the 1876 atlas of Bedford County. Also shown is the nearby James Jay residence; James Jay was the son-in-law of Conrad Smith. The James Jay residence is easy to locate because of the kink in Clingeman Road, and is or was located approximately at 39.81034421913086, -78.38131837594194. The C. Smith farm is not so easy to locate relative to the kink in Clingeman road, but may be the farm at 39.807808384791116, -78.37435747445035. A determination of which farm in that area belonged to C. Smith would probably require a deed search.

1880: The following excerpt is from the 1880 census of Mann Township, Bedford County:

1894: A Conrad D. Smith, who according to his tombstone was born January 11, 1815 and died May 23, 1894, is buried in the Robinsonville Cemetery (39.88681117, -78.34932195), Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1899: The April 28, 1899 issue of the "Cumberland Times" newspaper states, "Mrs. Margaret Smith, widow of Conrad Smith, died at her home in Purcell Bedford County PA on April 17, aged 86 years, 6 months, and 21 days." Purcell is in Mann Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. She is also buried in the Robinsonville Cemetery. Here is another obituary of Conrad Smith's wife that she died at the residence of her son-in-law James Jay:

1912: James Jay married Conrad and Margaret Smith's daughter Hester. James Jay's obituary in the November 22, 1912 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper includes the statement, "James Jay died at his home near Piney Creek Thursday evening. November 7, of paralysis, aged 64 years, four months and six days. He is survived by his wife, who was Miss Hester Smith..." His death certificate indicates that he died in Mann Township. He is buried in the Pinegrove Christian Church Cemetery, and shares a tombstone with "...his wife Hester Smith...".

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