Conrad Smith, Bedford County, Pennsylvania

Introduction: Conrad Smith is counted as a Bedford County gunsmith based on collector publications that put him at William Defibaugh's in 1852 as an apprentice. I have not seen the 1852 record that puts Conrad Smith at Defibaugh's. I don't know if that record actually states he was an apprentice, or if the authors of the collector publications simply inferred that he was an apprentice. If he was indeed an apprentice, the Conrad Smith that I know of would have been a relatively old married apprentice and father. Until I see an 1852 record that says he was an apprentice, I am going to wonder if he was a farm or smithy-related laborer instead.

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

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.

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

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 Rachel, 5-year-old Ellen, 4-year-old John, and 3-year-old Hester. I did not find a Conrad Smith in the 1850 agricultural census of Monroe Township.

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.

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.

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 Sherriff'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.

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.

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 (39.8868217, -78.3493195), 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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