History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


JOSEPH L. SMITH connected with the farming interests of Warminster township, was born in Lower Makefield township, Bucks county, June 8, 1860. The family is of German lineage and was established in America at an early epoch in the history of this part of the state. The paternal grandfather, Andrew Smith, was a native of Bucks County, following the occupation of the farming and was widely known and highly respected. He gave his political allegiance to the Democratic party. His sons and daughters were as follows: Elias A.; William; Andrew; James; Jessie H.; Alfred R.; Mary, the wife of J. B. Tumbleson; Elizabeth, the wife of George Slack; and Jane and Etta, who are still living. The parents were consistent and faithful members of the Episcopal church.

William Smith, father of Joseph L. Smith, was born in Makefield township, and was reared to the occupation of farming in Bucks county. He followed that pursuit throughout his entire life, remaining upon the old homestead farm up to the time of his marriage, when he settled upon a tract of rented land, which he continued to operate for a few years or until his industry and economy had brought him capital sufficient to enable him to make purchase of land. He then bought a farm, which he conducted for a number of years; he then sold that and purchased a larger tract of land whereon he spent his remaining days. He followed general farming and sold his produce in the Philadelphia market. In all of his business interests he was practical and energetic, and his well conducted affairs brought to him deserved success. He left to his family an untarnished name because of his integrity and honor in all life's relations. His political views were in harmony with Democratic principles, and he kept well informed on all the questions and issues of the day. He belonged to the Friends' Meeting, and died in that faith in April, 1904. In early manhood he wedded Sarah A. Linton, who died May 25, 1902. She was a daughter of Thomas and Hannah Linton, descendants of old families of Bucks county. Her father was a leading and influential farmer, whose political support was given to the Whig party and afterward to the Republican party, and who in his religious faith was a Friend. In his family were two sons and a daughter: William and Joseph, who follow farming; and Sarah, who became Mrs. Smith. To Mr. and Mrs. William Smith were born six children: Anna, who married Joseph R. Comly; Emma, the wife of S. D. Tomlinson; William A., who follows farming on the old homestead; Joseph L.; Sarah H., who married Joseph W. Ross; and Jennie E.

Joseph L. Smith remained in the home of his parents up to the time of his marriage, which occurred in 1888. He had been reared to the occupation of farming, and he chose that pursuit as a life work. At the time of his marriage he settled on the farm where he now resides, one mile east of Ivyland, and there he carries on general agricultural pursuits, attending the Philadelphia market, where he places his farm products on sale. He has many regular patrons, and his business has become profitable. His farm is productive and is kept in a high state of cultivation. There is a commodious residence, splendidly situated on a building site that commands an excellent view of the surrounding country. There are beautiful trees about the place and everything is neat and attractive in appearance. There is a large barn, commodious outbuildings and, in fact, the entire property is well improved. He uses the best farm implements in conducting the labor of field and meadow, and he raises some stock for the support of the farm. He is a fancier of fine horses and always has some splendid ones upon his place. He is now raising some colts, having two fine thoroughbreds which will undoubtedly develop into superior roadsters if not race horses. Mr. Smith is a stanch advocate of Democratic principles, and uses his influence to further the growth and success of his party. He is well qualified for public office, but the Democracy is in the minority in Bucks county, and Mr. Smith belongs to that class of men who would never surrender a principle for an office within the gift of the people. He has served as school director, however, for nine years and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend. He is a man of social nature, of pleasant address, public-spirited and highly respected.

Mr. Smith married Miss Martha H. Spencer, who was born in Northampton township, in 1864, a daughter of Cameron and Rachel B. (Hart) Spencer, both natives of Bucks county, their ancestors having located here in early days. In fact the name of Spencer is closely associated with the history of the material and moral development of this part of the state. The early representatives of the name here were of Irish birth and of Presbyterian faith. John Spencer was enrolled with the volunteers in the war of 1812, and afterward received a pension in recognition of his services. His son, Samuel Spencer, was a reliable farmer, successfully conducting his business affairs. He voted with the Whig party in early life, and upon its dissolution joined the ranks of the new Republican party. His religious faith was that of the Presbyterian church. He married Sarah A. Harmon, and died in March, 1889. Their only son, Cameron G. Spencer, was born in Bucks county and reared and educated there, remaining upon the old homestead as his father's assistant until 1859, when he married and brought his bride to the farm, of which he then took charge, making a home for his father during his remaining days. Cameron Spencer was born in November, 1836, and was but five years of age when he lost his mother in 1841. He was reared by his father and the latter's housekeeper, and his life developed into that of a man of remarkable strength of character and sterling purpose. He never used tobacco or liquor in any form, and he was popular and prominent in the community, receiving the unqualified trust and respect of those with whom he was associated. After his marriage he conducted the home farm for eleven years, and then sold that property, removing to Philadelphia, where he rented a hotel property in Spring Garden street. He made it a temperance house and to the astonishment of all his friends prospered in the undertaking, although those who knew him predicted that he could not win success unless he sold liquors there. However, he conducted a temperance house for ten years after which he purchased a farm near Jacksonville, Bucks county. He then resumed farming, in which line of activity he continued until his death. He was a Republican, and although he was never an aspirant for office he served for one term as assessor, while residing in Philadelphia, discharging the duties of the office with credit to himself and satisfaction to the general public. He was widely known and commanded the confidence and good will of the people of every community in which he lived. His death occurred in May, 1882. His wife still survives him and makes her home with her two children, Mrs. Smith, and a son who resides upon the homestead farm. She was born in Northampton township in 1837, and is a lady of culture and intelligence; she is a daughter of Joshua and Martha (Bonham) Hart, both connected with early colonial families. Her father was a son of John and Sarah (Dungan) Hart, also of Bucks county. John Hart followed farming and merchandising, making his home in Jacksonville, and he became widely known as a highly respected citizen. He was of Irish lineage, affiliated with the Baptist church, and his political allegiance was given to the Democracy. His children were: Joshua, William, Rachel, Joseph, John, Elizabeth, Sarah, Humphrey, and Rebecca.

Joshua Hart, who was born in 1802, was reared to farm pursuits, and after his marriage settled in Northampton township, while later he took up his abode upon the farm now occupied by Mrs. Smith. Throughout his entire life he carried on agricultural pursuits, and died in Buckingham township. In politics he was a Democrat, but had no political aspirations. In an early day he served as captain in a militia company. His wife was born in 1809, and was a daughter of Joseph and Letitia (Kinsey) Bonham, both of Bucks county, her father being a prominent and well known farmer. In politics he was a Whig. The members of the Bonham family were Jonathan, Isaiah, Charles, Kinsey, Samuel and Martha. The children of Joshua Hart were: Sarah, the wife of John Spencer; Letitia; Charles, who died in the civil war; Rachel B., who became the mother of Mrs. Smith; Elizabeth, the wife of Josiah Thompson, of Philadelphia; and John, also of Philadelphia. To Mr. and Mrs. Cameron Spencer were born three children: Horace G., who was reared upon the home farm, and was later employed by the Presbyterian board of publication; died in September, 1888, leaving a wife but no children; Martha H., who became Mrs. Smith; and A. Lincoln, who is now farming the old homestead; he is a stanch Republican in his political views; he has a son, Cameron, born January 23, 1895.

Text taken from 293

Davis, Willia

Transcribed November 2001 as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project,

Published December 2001 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb

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