c 1700 - 1815
Lindesmith, originally Lindenschmidt and alternately spelled Lindenschmied and Lindenschmitt, is an unusual name with no known origin, however, breaking the name down into two separate names, “Linde” or “Linden” is a Dutch, German, and Scandinavian name with several possible meanings. One suggests it refers to someone who lived by a lime tree but there are also several locations in Northern Germany with the name and therefore it may be a habitational name for someone who lived in or near one of these locations. Forms of the word had also been used in several Old High German women’s names meaning a shield or spear made from the hard wood of a lime tree. Meanwhile, “Smith” is of course a common surname (the German spelling being Schmidt) for someone who worked with metal. How or why these two names were combined into Lindesmith is unknown. Perhaps a blacksmith or one of his own ancestors once lived near a lime tree or in one of the locations using the word Linde and so both were used to refer to him.
The origins of Johann Daniel Lindenschmidt are unknown but he married Anna Barbara Muschel and had at least four children in Haßloch (or Hassloch), a municipality in the Rhineland-Palatinate:
It was quite common for families from the Palatinate during this time period to have the same first names and go by their middle names instead. So although mother and all daughters are named “Anna”, they likely went by their distinct middle names. Equally, the same is true for the males since patriarch Johann Daniel was known as Daniel and son Johann Friederich was known as Friederich. As such, we will refer to all individuals in this chapter as either their middle name or their first and middle name. Given the seven year gap between Margretha and Barbara, it’s possible the couple had other children who were perhaps stillborn or miscarriages. In any case, they were not baptized in the Evangelical church there in Haßloch as the other, surviving children were.
Friederich married Anna Elisabetha Holtzwarths on July 19, 1747 and had nine children, also in Haßloch:
It appears that Anna Elisabetha and Maria Catharina were twins, baptized in the Evangelical church in Haßloch, as their other siblings were. It also seems that mother Elisabetha was already pregnant when she married given that her first son was baptized on September 13, only two months after the wedding.
Joseph was born on March 19, 1751 and there is a lot of conflicting information about his origins. Much of it comes from the misinformation provided by one of his grandsons, Eli W.J. Lindesmith, who claimed that Joseph was born in the Canton of Bern in Switzerland and that his parents were Daniel Lindesmith and Elizabeth Bernard. As we know now, Daniel was actually Joseph’s grandfather but Eli’s confusion is understandable. Grandfather Daniel had immigrated to Philadelphia in 1748 upon the ship Edinburgh with his second wife Maria Elisabetha Boll and several of their children and then made his way to Bucks County. Joseph then immigrated to Hagerstown, Maryland in 1769, at the age of only 18, where he became an apprentice to a carpenter and also learned the fanning mill trade. However, he soon moved north to Pennsylvania where he probably joined his grandfather. Joseph’s father Friederich never joined the family in the colonies but instead moved to Serbia. So it’s understandable that Daniel was remembered as Joseph’s father instead of his grandfather in the absence of Joseph’s actual father in America. At some point after immigrating, Lindenschmidt was anglicized to Lindesmith.
By 1772, Joseph was in Guilford Township, Franklin County, Pennsylvania where he met and married Nancy Bauman (b. February 21, 1752) in the same year. A year later their first son, Daniel, was born. Another year later, they again moved, this time to Brothersvalley Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania which was not far from the town of Berlin. Here, they had another son, Joseph Jr, born that same year of 1774. At the time, the area was actually known as “The Glades” in Bedford County (which became Somerset County in 1795) and was about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. It was a popular Amish location in 1774 when the Lindesmiths arrived but three years later, a Reformed Church was established, which suited the Protestant Lindesmiths, and a Lutheran Church in 1789. Around this time, Methodist missionaries also began to arrive but were met with much opposition.
Joseph enlisted at the beginning of the Revolutionary War when he would have been about 24 or 25 years old and served the entire length of the war, bearing arms but also playing role of bugler and fifer. He also served with George Washington, often acting as his barber and was present at General Cornwallis’ surrender in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781.
While Joseph was away at war, wife Nancy tended to the farming at home. Before he’d left, they’d had a third child in 1775, Elizabeth, who was known as “Betsy”. Their fourth child, John, was born in August of 1781, which means Joseph must have returned home sometime in late 1780 for an off-duty visit, possibly for Christmas, before returning to duty and beginning present for Cornwallis’ surrender in October 1781. Joseph and Nancy’s last child, Peter, was then born in 1785, after the conclusion of the war in 1783. So they had five children in total:
By 1805, Joseph had moved his family for the last time to the Ohio River Base, southwest of Lisbon right on the border of Hanover Township and Franklin Township, Columbiana County and this is where he died in 1815 at the age of 64. He is buried in Trinity Reformed Church Cemetery. Nancy survived another 21 years before dying in October of 1836.
While still living in Pennsylvania, Joseph and Nancy’s only daughter Betsy had married shoemaker William Knepper sometime before 1793 when their first child was born, which would have made Betsy about 18 years old. William was born in 1764, making him 11 years older than his wife. To read more about their life together, see the Knepper Family Chapter.
© Robin Bauer 2010-2013
Lindesmith Photos and Documents
1805 map of Columbiana County, Ohio showing location of Joseph Lindesmith’s property (red dot), as indicated by the Early Land Ownership map showing his name in the second block of T14 R4.
Google maps showing the approximate area where Joseph Lindesmith owned property in Columbiana County, Ohio