Joseph Smith

JOSEPH SMITH. John Smith, great-grandfather of Joseph Smith, of Smithton, was a business man of Philadelphia, and in 1798 purchased twenty-two or twenty-three hundred acres of land in Huntingdon township. His wife was Brandina Updegroft. Mr. Smith died in Philadelphia.

Joseph Smith, son of John and Barndina (sic) (Updegroft) Smith, was sent by his father to Huntingdon township to look after the property there. He was accompanied by his father-in-law, Henry Rhodes, and his family. On the land was an old log house which had been built by Colonel Hays, of the colonial legislature, and is probably one of the oldest houses in the county, being still in a fair state of preservation. In 1801 or 1802 Mr. Smith built a grist-mill, which was a landmark for many years, being constructed of stone. In 1833 he was appointed by Governor George Wolf, justice of the peace, to serve during life or good behavior, and while never a seeker for political preferment was prominent in local politics. He married Mary, daughter of Henry Rhodes. The death of Mr. Smith occurred in 1852, when he attained the advanced age of eighty-four.

Samuel Smith, son of Joseph and Mary (Rhodes) Smith, was born in 1802, and on reaching manhood took charge of the milling business established by his father and made it his life-long occupation. He married Jane Hanna, and of the seven children born to them four survive: Julia Ann, widow of J. D. Hough, of Smithton; George, of Smithton; Joseph, mentioned hereafter; and Margaret J., widow of Michael Silsley, of West Newton. Mr. Smith died in 1870.

Joseph Smith, son of Samuel and Jane (Hanna) Smith, was born January 26, 1837, at Smith's Mills, now Smithton, where he attended the common schools, afterward taking a business course at Duff's College, Pittsburg. From boyhood on he worked in the mill with his father, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the business, and when his father retired, several years prior to his death, Mr. Smith assumed the whole management. Later he gave up the milling business, and for some years was employed in his brother's store (the first established in Smithton), subsequently taking charge of the grain warehouse of William Welch & Company, a Pittsburg grain firm having a branch at Smithton. When Mr. Welch sold out to D. H. Williams, Mr. Smith retained his position, his connection with the two firms covering a period of ten or twelve years. In 1882 he was elected to the legislature, serving in the memorable session of 1883, which lasted during an entire year. After the expiration of his term he returned home, and for some years was variously employed. In 1892 he was elected Justice of the peace, and has since served continuously in this office. He is a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Universalist church. Mr. Smith married in 1868. Debbie A. Francis, of Bethany, and eight children were born, six of whom are living: Robert F., proprietor of the Smithton mills; Leonora, wife of Albert G. Lynn; Jessie, at home; William W., at home; Margaret, at home; and John C., at home.

Source: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906, Page 282.
Transcribed by Carol C. Eddleman for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

Westmoreland County Genealogy Project Notice:

These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.



Return to Westmoreland County Home Page

(c) Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project