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January 4, 2012


The Family
of John Smith and Mary Ann Lee
of Easton, Pennsylvania

            John Smith and Mary Ann Lee Smith lived in Easton, Pennsylvania, in the 1880s.  John died in 1890, and Mary Ann continued living there until her death in 1931.  They were the parents of nine children, including Mary Catherine Smith, who married William Thomas Buss (1888-1970), of Easton, on November 29, 1908.  

            John Smith, who was known as “John Schmidt” before the Civil War, had been born in 1835 or 1838 in Germany.  Mary Ann Lee had been born in 1850 or 1851, possibly in Chicago, but perhaps elsewhere.  

            Much of the research on this family  has been done by Lee family descendants Mildred Buss Bauder, James K. Smith, Mildred Boyer HarrisTerry J. Lee and Lynn Plummer Murphy

            This section includes: 



Buss Family of Northampton County
Royer Family of Cherryville
Boyer Family of Easton
Family of S. David Boyer of Easton

Neil Boyer’s Family History Page


The Family of John Schmidt / Smith

            Not much is known about this family except for a few details on John Schmidt himself.  There is no information about his parents or any siblings.  

            There is some doubt about when John was born.  According to U.S. military records, he enlisted in the army in Kansas, in 1864 during the Civil War.  He gave his age as 26 and thus was born about 1838.  In conflict with this is the census of 1880, which said that John was 38 years old, indicating he was born about 1842.  His tombstone said he was 55 when he died in 1890, which would indicate birth about 1835.  The military record is more likely the accurate one, and thus the consensus is that John was born in 1838. 

            There is no record of when John traveled to America, but one family researcher said it was in 1840, when he would have been only 2.  A record of the 16th Regiment, Kansas Cavalry, showed that John Schmidt enlisted in the U. S. Volunteers on May 12, 1864, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.   It said that John was a barber, 26 years old (therefore born in 1838), and reported that he had been born in “Elsace, Bavaria, Germany.”  This probably meant that John had been born in the Alsace part of Germany, which is not part of Bavaria, although Alsace did go back and forth between German and French control.   Interestingly, John’s children seemed confused about where he had been born, because some of them told census takers he had been born in France and spoke French, and some said he had been born in Germany and spoke German. Some of them simply said he had been born in “Alsace.”  John Schmidt was described in the Fort Leavenworth enlistment document as having grey eyes, light hair, and a fair complexion.  He was five feet, seven inches tall.  He had been paid a bounty of $25 and was owed another $75.  

            Many years later, James Smith, a descendant of John, went to Kansas to do research into Company K,16th Regiment, Kansas Cavalry.  What he found was that the company was organized on May 4, 1864, with 42 enlisted men under First Lieutenant M. C. Clary at Fort Leavenworth.  The company marched to Wyandotte, Kansas, about May 15, 1864, and then left on October 14 with a detachment from another company and took an active part in a campaign against "Rebel General Price" until November 27, when they returned to Wyandotte.  

            They then marched back to Fort Leavenworth, where they remained until February 14, 1865, when they marched westward "on duty against the Indians."  They reached Fort Cottonwood on April 8, 1865, and then went to camp at Alkai Station on the South Platte River, where they stayed until June 8.  They moved on to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and stayed until August 5, when they marched in the Indian campaign, as  part of the Center Column Powder River Indian Expedition.  Company K reached Powder River, Missouri, on August 29, and fought the Battle of Powder River on  September 8.  The company returned through Fort Corner on the same river, and Fort Laramie, reaching Fort Leavenworth on November 16, 1865, for the purpose of mustering out. The entire distance marched by Company K in this time of service was 2,850 miles. 

            John was discharged from the Army on December 6, 1865, after service of 19 months.  This is shown in Mary Ann’s application for a widow’s pension filed after John’s death in 1890, and in a certificate issued by the War Department on June 15, 1891, stating that “The rolls show that John Schmidt, mentioned in the preceding [widow’s pension claim], was enrolled May 12, 1864, and M.O. [mustered out] with Co. Dec. 6, 1865.”  

            John used the last name “Smith” for the rest of his life.  His wife in 1890, in order to get a widow’s pension, had to claim in court documents that the entire family used the name Schmidt, but evidence shows they all called themselves “Smith.” 

            After leaving the Army, John Smith married Mary Ann Lee in Polk County, Iowa, on May 9, 1868.  He was 30 (if born in 1838) or 33 (if born in 1835), and she was 16 or 17.  It is not known why John and Mary Ann were in Iowa or how they met.  However, Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, is located in Polk County, and this probably is where they were married.  It is only about 320 miles due west of Chicago, and thus travel to Polk County should not have been a great hardship.  (It is also only 215 miles from Fort Leavenworth.) But that does not explain how they happened to go to Iowa to be married.  Records suggest they lived in a variety of places, possibly including Chicago, New York City, and even Canada, but not Iowa.  At some point, they moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, but the reason for that is not known.  

            At the time of the 1880 census, John and Mary Ann Smith were living at 648 Church Street in Easton, one block north of Northampton Street.  There is an indication (baptism of a child) that they lived briefly in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Easton in 1878.  John was described in the 1880 census as a day laborer who had been unemployed seven months over the past year.  The census report said that John and both his parents had been born in Alsace and that neither John nor Mary Ann could read or write.  The census, conducted on June 8, 1880, said that in the household were: 

John Smith, 38 (thus born about 1842 – the age is probably an error)
Mary Ann Smith, 29 (she would have been 30 in August if born in 1850)
William H. Smith, 10, son, born in Canada
Elizabeth Smith, 8, daughter, born in Pennsylvania
Sarah Smith, 6, daughter, born in Pennsylvania
John Smith, 4, son, born in Pennsylvania
Frank Smith, 1, son, born in Pennsylvania 

            John Smith, Mary Ann’s husband, has not been found in any other census record.  John died on March 21, 1890.  The tombstone said he was 55.  The date and age on the tombstone are the same in the records of St. John’s Lutheran Church.  Mary Ann was only 38 or 39 and was left with nine very young children.  John died just eleven months after the birth of his last child, Mary Catherine Smith, who would grow up to become Mrs. William T. Buss. Mildred Buss Bauder (1910-1998), a daughter of Mary Catherine Smith Buss, wrote that when John Smith died, "Grammy Smith [Mary Ann] went for the priest" since the family was Catholic, but "he wouldn't come because [John Smith] was not a contributing member. And Grammy Smith then went over to St. John's for help. All her children were baptized then at St. John's and Grammy was a faithful member there until her death. We were all brought up at St. John's and it is my home church." John was buried in Easton Cemetery.  His tombstone, which lies flat, reads:
Our Father
Private Co. K.
U.S. Regt. Kansas Cav.
Died March 21, 1890
Aged 55 Years
Gone But Not Forgotten


The Lee Family

            There are many details about the Lee family history that are unknown or unclear, and there are varying interpretations of what may have occurred.  This section attempts to present what is known, with options for the unknown left for future researchers. 

            Mary Ann Lee, the wife of John Smith, was the daughter of Bridget McNiff and William Lee.  William, born in 1825, arrived in Boston on April 28, 1847, at age 22 from Cobh (also called Queenstown), Ireland, on the ship Globe.  Bridget had been born on March 17, 1825, and arrived in Boston on the ship Bombay from Liverpool, England, on July 22, 1845, at the age of 20.  Later census reports made clear that both had been born in Ireland.  According to her burial record in Easton, Bridget McNiff was the daughter of Dennis McNiff. (The name on occasion seems also to have been spelled McAliff, McNeff and Mcallif.)

            Curiously, Mary Ann’s death certificate said that her father’s name was Frank Lee, not William Lee.  However, it was understood by one family member that Frank was a nickname and that the names Frank and William were used interchangeably.  The death certificate of Mary Ann’s brother, who was also named William Lee, said his father’s name was William.  All other available records suggest that William is the correct name of Bridget's husband. 

            William Lee and Bridget McNiff publicly declared their intention to be married, as shown in a record filed on July 8, 1849. Where they were living at the time of filing the intention is not clear, but the "intention" ("int" in the document) is recorded in the Vital Records of Brockton, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, on page 241. A record of the marriage of Bridget and William, shown on the site of Family, says that the wedding took place on August 3, 1849, in Boston, one month after the filing of the intention to marry. This document said that Bridget was the daughter of Denis and Bridget Mcniff and that William was the son of Francis and Mary Lee. The 1850 census, one year after the marriage, showed William Lee, 22, a laborer, and Bridget Lee, 22, his wife, both born in Ireland, living in East Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. East Bridgewater is about eight miles southeast of Brockton, and so it may well be that Bridgett and William traveled the short distance from their home in East Bridgewater to Brockton in July 1849  to record their intention to marry in August, as the Vital Records site implies (see the "Brockton Marriages" title at the top of page 241).  It appears that the Bridgett and William Lee in the 1850 census record were the parents of Mary Ann Lee, although they would have been 25 and not 22 in that year. (Census records were often confusing, contradictory and misleading, either because the census takers were not careful in writing up the results or because the information givers didn’t really know the ages or places and dates of birth of the people concerned, including themselves.) 

            At some time in the next decade, it appears that William Lee died, probably before he was 35.  There is no record of his life after the 1850 census, no death report, and no grave.  His daughter, Mary Ann Lee, was born in 1850 or 1851, and a son William Lee was born about 1855, possibly 1853.  Between the birth of young William and the 1860 census, information about the elder William ceased to appear.  It may be safe to assume that William died and that the couple did not divorce.  William and Bridget were Irish immigrants and probably Roman Catholics.  Their daughter, Mary Ann Lee Smith and her husband John Smith were reported within the family to be Catholic, and they had several of their children baptized in Catholic churches.  There is no evidence that William Lee ever lived in the Easton area, where both his daughter Mary Ann and his son William later lived.  Bridget also lived near Easton, close to her children, but without William.   

            The 1860 census showed what appeared to be William’s family, but minus William.  Living in Ward 3 of Providence, Rhode Island, on August 4, 1860, was Bridget Lee, 30 (thus born about 1830), Mary Ann Lee, 10 (thus born about 1850), and William Lee, 7 (thus born about 1853).  The ages were not quite in accord with other information available on the family of William Lee.  By known birthdates, Bridget would have been 35 at the time of the 1860 census, and Mary Ann would not have been 10 for 12 more days.  But the ages were close and the names matched.  Giving latitude for census error, this appears to be the family of William and Bridget Lee.  Bridget was described as a washerwoman and pauper who could not read or write.  A notation on the census form said that Bridget had been “married within the year,” which suggested that William had died within 12 months of the 1860 census.

   There is one other possibility:  The 1860 census for the 6th Ward of Chicago showed the household of a William Lee, a laborer, 40 (thus born in 1820); Margaret Lee, his wife, also 40 (thus born in 1820), both born in Ireland; Mary Ann Lee, 8 (born in 1852); Francis Lee, 8 (born in 1852), both born in New York; and William Lee, 6 (born in 1854), born in Illinois.  The ages of these people are close to the known ages in the family that went to Easton. The inclusion of a "Francis Lee" fuels speculation about the existence of a third child of William and Bridget Lee who was named Francis (see below).  But the wife's name in this census report is Margaret, not Bridget. Again, this may be a census error or just a coincidence of names. 

                     A variety of census reports claimed that Mary Ann and her brother William Lee were born in Illinois, not in Boston or Providence or New York.  If those reports are correct, then it would have been necessary that Bridget herself be in Illinois at that time, as well as her husband William.  This explanation, if correct, would mean that shortly after their marriage in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1849, and their recorded presence in East Bridgewater in the 1850 census, William and Bridget moved to Illinois, prior to the birth of Mary Ann in August 1850 or August 1851.  While Bridget and the two children could have moved back to Providence before 1860, it is also possible that the family of Bridget Lee and two children found in Providence in 1860 was another family entirely, despite the closeness of the names and ages.  The correct scenario has not yet been established. 


            Bridget Lee’s Marriage to James McGuire.  After William Lee died, Bridget married a man named James McGuire, but it is not known where or when that happened.  The 1880 and 1890 censuses showed them married and living near Easton.  In 1880, James said he had been born in New York.  Records showed that he was a soldier in the Civil War.  When he joined on September 1, 1861; the record said he was 25 and married.  He reenlisted on January 1, 1864, saying he was 27. Both ages are consistent with a birthdate of August 1836.  His obituary said he had served with the 9th regiment, Illinois cavalry, for four years during the Civil War, and that he moved to Easton from Chicago about 1875.  This seems to clarify that he was at some point in or from Illinois.  

            But where did James meet Bridget?  The answer generates only speculation, for facts are not easily found.  Was it Bridget who was his wife when in 1861 James told the army he was married?  Did they meet around 1860, when it appears she was in Providence?  Is it possible that when Bridget told the 1860 census taker in Providence that she had been “married within this year,” she meant that her husband William had died during that year and that she had married James McGuire (although she used the name Bridget Lee)?  Did Bridget and first husband William Lee move to Chicago around 1850, so that Bridget met James there before or after William died?  Did Bridget and James meet in New York?  Or did Bridget and her children move to Chicago after 1860, and did she meet James there?  No answer seems to satisfy the questions.  

            Curiously, James said in a court affidavit issued in 1891 that he had personally known Mary Ann Lee when she was a child, around the age of seven, which would have been about 1857 or 1858.  He also said he knew the man who married Mary Ann Lee, John Smith, before John went into the Army, which would have been before 1864.  Although no city was named, this suggests that Bridget and William Lee, their daughter Mary Ann, John Smith, and James McGuire were all in Chicago in the 1850s and 1860s and knew each other.

            Potential evidence that the McGuires, Lees and Smiths knew each other comes from the 1870 census for the 18th Ward of Chicago. As uncovered by family member Terry Lee, the 1870 census for the 18th Ward of Chicago included this family: Bridget McGuire, 60, keeping house; James McGuire, 33, day laborer; and Francis Lee, 20. It said all three were born in Ireland; this is contrary to other reports that the James McGuire who married Bridget McNiff Lee was born in New York, not Ireland, and the speculation that Francis, if part of this family, would also have been born in the United States, not Ireland. James' age in this report (33) is close to the age (37) of the James McGuire known to have married Bridget McNiff Lee, and the age of Francis (20) would fit with  a possible brother of Mary Ann Lee, who would have been 19 or 20 in 1870. William, who was age 15 in 1870, could have been working and living with another family, which might explain his absence from this census report. A problem is that Bridget's age, 60 in 1870, according to the census, doesn't match what is known about Bridget McNiff Lee, whose tombstone said she was born in 1825 and thus would  have been 45 in 1870, not 60 as in the census report. Perhaps her age was an error of the census taker. Or perhaps this Bridget was not the wife of James McGuire but his mother. Or is this just a misleading coincidence, unrelated to the McGuires of Easton? Nevertheless, it is intriguing that a "Francis Lee" was living with a James McGuire in Chicago, suggesting that this person might have been the third child of William and Bridget Lee. See the section below.
            There was a significant age difference between Bridget and James.  The 1900 census said James McGuire was born in August 1836 in New York.  This conforms to the age given when he joined the military.  If Bridget was born on May 17, 1825, as the record indicates, she would have been 11 years older than James, and it appears she was the mother of two or three children when they met.  

            Regardless of when and where they met, at some point Bridget and James McGuire found their way to the area around Easton, Pennsylvania.  Bridget’s daughter, Mary Ann, was living in Easton by 1880, married to John Smith, and at that time she had five children.  Bridget’s son, William Lee, was in Pennsylvania at least from 1877 and certainly in Northampton County at the time of the 1880 census.  Bridget may have wanted to move to Pennsylvania simply to be near her children.  James McGuire’s 1905 obituary said he had moved to Easton from Chicago 30 years earlier, which would have been about 1875.  Possibly Bridget and James were then married moved to Easton together about that time. 

            The 1880 census showed that Bridget and James McGuire, a day laborer, were living in Bethlehem Township, Eastern District, in Northampton County.  Bridget’s son, William Lee, 23, his wife Catherine, 22, and two daughters, Mary, 3, and Margaret, 1, lived on the adjoining property.  And Mary Ann and her family were living in downtown Easton, only a few miles away.  

            Bridget and James McGuire were in the same place in Bethlehem Township in the 1890 census, when she was reported as 65 and he 53.  The exact location of their property is unknown, but Mildred Buss Bauder (a granddaughter of Bridget and a daughter of Mary Catherine Smith Buss) reported that “Grammy Bridget McGuire” lived on a Boyer farm (relationship unknown) near Hope's Lock, Bethlehem Township, between Easton and Bethlehem. She said they lived on Hope Road, which ran from Freemansburg Road to the Lehigh River. Mary Ann Lee Smith's daughter Mae Bridget Smith (Ward) told family members that, when she was young, she would take the train from Fourth Street in Easton to visit her grandmother Bridget. When the train reached Hope Road, the trainman would let her get off and "Grammy Lee would be watching for her and would wave her big apron for her to come." But the McGuires must have moved again after that.  When Bridget died three years after the 1890 census, the 1893 obituary said she died at her home on Canal Street in South Easton, near Keubler’s brewery. 

            Bridget McNiff Lee Maguire was 68 when she died, on December 11, 1893, and her death was recorded at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Easton.  That record included her birthdate and said she was the daughter of Dennis McNiff.  Bridget was buried in “Baby Grounds C,” the single grave section, of Easton Cemetery. One of Bridget's great-granddaughters, Mildred Buss Bauder, wrote in 1990 that "I have a beautiful memorial of Bridget McGuire's death which has been passed down to me. It is of black cardboard [the card was four by six and a half inches] and all of the printing is of gold. It tells of Bridget's death printed on the Holy Bible and there's a lovely poem printed underneath." Bridget's tombstone reads:
Wife of
James McGuire
March 17, 1825
Dec 11, 1893
She is Gone But Not Forgotten

            After Bridget died, it appears that James McGuire moved in with Mary Ann’s daughter, Lizzie Smith Simons.  He was living with Lizzie at the time of the 1900 census, at 334 Hulls Court, in the same building where his stepdaughter Mary Ann Smith was living with four of her children.  That census, conducted on June 9, 1900, said that James, a widower, was 63, having been born in August 1836 in New York.  Apparently, Lizzie and her husband George Simons, as well as James, later moved half a block away, to 341 Lehigh Street, and that is where James McGuire died, on August 25, 1905, twelve years after the death of Bridget.  His obituary in the Easton Express of the same day said he died at 4:30 a.m. “of inflammation of the bowels.”  It said he had been an invalid for the past two months since breaking his right thigh in a fall on South Third Street, and that he died at the home of his “grandstepdaughter,” Lizzie Simons.   The tombstone in Easton Cemetery reads as follows:

August 2, 1833
August 25, 1905

            The obituary said that James McGuire was 71, but if born in August 1836, as he told the census taker five years earlier, he would have been 69.  The tombstone introduced an entirely new date for the birth of James.  If he had been born in 1833, he would have been 72 and he would have been only eight years younger than Bridget.  However, James did not provide the information for his obituary and tombstone, and it seems more likely that his correct birthdate was August 1836, given what he told the military and the 1900 census taker.  Since James lived with Lizzie Smith Simons for at least the last five years of his life, presumably she is the one who handled the obituary and tombstone.  The funeral notice said that the pallbearers were six grandsons of James.  He had not had children of his own, and so these in fact were step-children of James McGuire and sons or sons-in-law of Mary Ann Smith, who was a daughter of Bridget.   


            Children of William and Bridget Lee.   William and Bridget Lee definitely had two children, Mary Ann Lee and William H. Lee.  There is also the possibility that there was a son named Frank Lee, but this is an unresolved issue (see below). 

1.  Mary Ann Lee (1850-1931) 

            There is substantial conflict about when Mary Ann Lee was born, and it is not resolved.  Her death certificate said she was born on August 16, 1850.  This date is close to the age, 10, given for the Mary Ann Lee who appeared in the census conducted on August 4, 1860, in Providence (she would have been 10 only 12 days after the census).  It would almost correspond to the age (18) that Mary Ann gave the Iowa judge when she got married, although her marriage date (May 9, 1858) would actually have been three months short of her 18th birthday.  

            When she applied for a widow’s pension in July 1890, she said she was 39, which would have meant born in 1850, just short of her 40th birthday.  On October 26, 1890, she filed an affidavit that said she was 40, which would have been correct for an 1850 birth year since her August birthday had passed.  On July 10, 1891, she filed another affidavit that said originally that she was 39 and then was corrected with the words “40 in August.”  If this was intended to clarify that Mary Ann was born in 1850, then it must have meant the previous August.  

            On the other hand, if this correction on the 1891 affidavit meant that Mary Ann would be 40 the following month, in August 1891, it meant she was born in 1851.  Her tombstone said was born in 1851, and the 1900 census said she had been born in August 1851.  Also, a photograph of her says she was born in 1851.  The census conducted on April 16, 1910, said that Mary Ann was 53.  Compared to the August 16 birth date, she thus would have been born in 1858.  The census of January 12, 1920, said she was 67 and thus she was born in 1852.  The census of April 18, 1930, said she was 79 and thus born in 1850.  That census also said she was first married at age 16, which is not what she told the judge in Iowa.  Given that she was married on May 9, 1868, if she was 16 on that date, she could have been born in August 1851 and have been just three months shy of her 17th birthday. 

            Where she was born is a deeper mystery.  The death certificate said that she had been born in Chicago.  However, the 1880 and 1900 census reports said it was New York.  Mary told census takers in 1910 and 1930 that it was Massachusetts, and in 1920 that it was Connecticut.  At least three children told the census taker their mother had been born in Illinois, and one said it was Connecticut.  Several said it was Pennsylvania. In 1910, John said his mother was born in Massachusetts. 

            The Massachusetts site seems to make sense, since her parents had been married near Boston in 1849, and lived in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in 1850.  When Bridget Lee told the 1860 census taker in Providence that Mary Ann had been born in Rhode Island, she might have been mistaken and really meant nearby Massachusetts.  It is possible that whoever provided Chicago for the death certificate as the place of her birth had a bad memory or a misunderstanding. (This probably was her daughter, Mae Smith Ward, at whose home Mary Ann died.  Mae apparently also was responsible for providing different dates of birth for Mary Ann on her tombstone and her death certificate.)  On the other hand, perhaps William and Bridget Lee actually did move to Chicago before Mary Ann was born.  The death certificate of Mary Ann’s brother, William Lee, showed that he had been born in Chicago in 1855. 

            Mary Ann married John Smith in Polk County, Iowa, probably in Des Moines, in 1868, when he was 30 or 33 and she was 16 or 17.  A barely legible “Marriage Register,” signed by Polk County Judge John B. Miller on May 9, 1868, showed that John was “21 years of age or upwards,” and Mary Smith was “18 years of age or upwards,” and that they were possessed of sound mind and unmarried.  If the judge was correct about the age, then Mary Ann would have been born before May 9, 1850.  But if she was born in 1850, she would have been only 17 at the time of the wedding.  She later told a census taker she had been 16 when first married, suggesting she was actually born in August 1851.  If her first child, William H. Smith, was born in November 1868, which is indicated on his death certificate (see below), it is likely that Mary Ann was pregnant at the time of the wedding, which may explain why she told the judge she was 18. 

            Why John and Mary Ann were in Iowa, and where they went afterward, are further mysteries.  Their first child, William H. Smith, was shown in the 1900 census documentMary Ann Lee Smith as born in November 1869, and it said he was born in Canada.  However, in all subsequent census reports, William himself said he had been born in Pennsylvania, and all Mary Ann Lee Smithother children consistently said they were born in Pennsylvania.  

            The family clearly moved at some point to Easton, Pennsylvania.  However, it is possible they also lived across the Delaware River in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.  No address has been found for them in Phillipsburg, but in 1878, their son John, born the previous year, was baptized at the Church of St. Phillip and St. James in Phillipsburg.  Three later children were baptized at St. Bernard’s Church in Easton, in 1880, 1884 and 1890, suggesting the family moved to Easton between 1878 and 1800.  (Both churches were Catholic.)  In 1880, the family lived at 648 Church Street in Easton.  

            John Smith died on March 21, 1890, according to his tombstone. Although his tombstone also said he was 55, he actually would have been 52 if born in 1838, as he told the military when he enlisted. Mary Lee Smith, having delivered her daughter Mary Catherine only 11 months earlier, was left a widow at age 38 or 39 with nine children.  To compound her problems, Mary Ann’s mother, Bridget McGuire, died only three years later.  

            Smith vs. Schmidt:  Mary Ann’s Quest for a Widow’s Pension.  Shortly after John Smith died, Mary Ann found a lawyer, Jonathan J. Carey, of Easton, to represent her in an effort to secure a widow’s pension based upon her husband’s service in the Civil War.  Although pensions had been available to war widows since the time of the Civil War, a new act, dated June 27, 1890, had just gone into effect and broadened the pension benefits available to the dependents of those who had served in the war and died later of non-war-related causes. 

            “Mary Schmidt” signed with an “X” on a series of documents apparently prepared by Carey.  The main one, headed “War of the Rebellion, Claim of Widow for Pension,” said that Mary had appeared before a Prothonotary of the Common Pleas Court, apparently in Northampton County, on July 7, 1890, not quite four months  after John died.  

            The document said that Mary Schmidt was 39.  (The ages given for Mary Ann on this and subsequent documents related to the claim appear accurate, as corrected, if she had been born on August 16, 1850.)  Following the requirements of the legislation for a successful claim, it said that her husband was the identical John Schmidt who had served with the Kansas Cavalry from May 12, 1864, to December 6, 1865.  It said that she had married John in Iowa on May 9, 1868, and that John had died in Easton on March 21, 1890.  And it said that she was without means of support other than her own labor and that she had six children who were under 16 years of age.  She named them as:

John Schmidt   Born      July 27th, 1876
Frank Schmidt   January 18th, 1879
Sophia Schmidt   November 4th, 1881
Bridget Schmidt  September 13th, 1884
Gracie Schmidt June 15th, 1887
Mary Schmidt April 22, 1889

              Filing of this paper began a complicated saga, apparently because both Mary and John, and all of their nine children, had used the name “Smith,” and she was now in the legal system claiming their name was “Schmidt.”  She had to clarify other questions as well, and other people had to testify on her behalf.  

            On October 26, 1890, “Mary Schmidt,” age 40, appeared before an alderman to sign an affidavit saying, again, that she was the widow of John Schmidt and knew that he did not serve in the military after December 6, 1865.  Shortly afterward, on November 5, 1890, two citizens had to appear before a Justice of the Peace to sign an affidavit that certified that they were neighbors of Mary Schmidt and that she was the widow of the John Schmidt “on whose account she applies for a pension.”  They said they had every reason to believe that Mary had not remarried since the death of John Schmidt and that they would have known it if she had.  “We also believe from the knowledge we have of said widow,” they stated, “that she neither owned nor had any property of any kind from which a revenue can be derived.  Thus she has no income or other means of support than her daily labor.”  This affidavit was stamped by the U.S. Pension Office on December 17, 1890, apparently upon receipt for Mary Ann’s file. 

            But this apparently was not sufficient.  On June 10, 1891, Mary Schmidt, 40, had to go to an alderman to sign another affidavit.  This one not only certified that her husband had not served in the military after December 6, 1865, but, more importantly, that “the name of Schmidt and Smith in births of her children and marriage to said soldier, and children with said soldier, through some mistake or misunderstanding was recorded wrong; the name of Schmidt is correct name.”  (Nevertheless, separate from this pension application, Mary continued to be known as “Mary Smith” in subsequent census reports, legal documents and even her obituary and tombstone.  The children also continued to use the name “Smith.”) 

            To support this affidavit, the War Department issued a document to the Commissioner of Pensions on June 15, 1891, verifying that John Schmidt had been enrolled from May 12, 1864, to December 6, 1865. Even Mary Ann’s mother had to file an affidavit.  On June 20, 1891, Bridget McGuire appeared before an alderman to sign statements.  Bridget, 66, filed a claim “that she knows Mary Schmidt from her infancy, and knows that she is the widow of John Schmidt, aforesaid, Co. K, 16th Regiment, Kansas Cavalry, and knows that neither said widow nor said soldier had been previously married.”  Bridget signed with an “X.” 

            On the same day, in another general affidavit, James McGuire, age 55, of Bethlehem Township, said “that I have been well and personally acquainted with Mary Schmidt, widow of John Schmidt, Co. K. of the 16th Regt. Kansas Cavalry and have known said widow in her girlhood when she was about seven years of age, and know that neither she nor the deceased soldier had been previously married, and know that said widow had to present date remained his widow, and know that the six children for whom pension is claimed are yet surviving, under sixteen years of age, and I further declare that I was personally acquainted with John Schmidt aforesaid prior to his enlistment in Co. K of the 16th Regiment Kansas Cavalry and that he was not previously married and that his six children I see frequently."  James' signature did not have the "X". 

            It appears that the pension that Mary was claiming was a new or expanded right, established only three months after John Schmidt died.  The original application said that Mary Ann “filed this declaration for the purpose of being put on the pension roll of the United States under the Act of June 27, 1890.”  It isn’t clear when payment began, but at some point Mary began receiving a pension of $40 a month.  This was shown after Mary Ann herself died in 1931, when the Finance Division (presumably of the Pension Office) issued a “Drop Report,” which said that Mary Schmidt, of 249 Washington Street, Phillipsburg, had been paid $40 a month as a pensioner, and as of February 17, 1931, her name had been dropped from the rolls due to her death on January 29, 1931.

            After John Smith’s Death.  Mary Lee Smith lived 41 more years after John died, apparently struggling with a house full of children and probably very little money, perhaps only the pension.  Her oldest child, William, was only 19. In subsequent years, she moved a number of times, mostly a few blocks from Center Square in Easton, close to the Delaware River, and then to South Easton. 

            The 1890 census showed her living at 337 Washington Street in Easton, with eight of her children:  William H., Sarah E., John A., Frank, Sophie, May, Gracie, and Mary Smith.  Elizabeth, who was then 18, was not present. 

            In 1900, Mary Ann was living at 334 Hulls Court with five of her children.  Living at the same address, probably all in one house, were Mary Ann’s daughter Lizzie and her husband George Simons, their two children, and Mary Ann’s stepfather, James McGuire.  

            Note on the Hulls Court Area.  Hulls Court, where Mary Ann and children lived in 1900,  was a short east-west lane in the middle of a large block bounded by South Third, Fourth, Lehigh and Washington Streets, a short two blocks from the Lehigh River as it flows into the Delaware.  Within that block, parallel to Third and Fourth Streets, were Bank Street on the east and Hecks Court on the west. The house at 334 Hulls Court was at the corner of Hulls Court and Hecks Court, as shown in the 1900 census.  Mary Ann’s son, William H. Smith, lived half a block away, at 329 Washington Street, a few doors from where Mary Ann and eight children had lived in 1890.  In 2006, this block had been totally redeveloped.  Lehigh Street no longer ran east of Fifth Street. The intersection of Hulls and Hecks Courts had been transformed into a parking lot for a new Social Security building, and it was adjacent to the parking lot for the Easton Inn.  McDonald’s and Perkins eateries were on the Third Street end of the block.  An excellent map of the area in 1900 can be seen here. (Click on the map for "Easton, Pa., and Phillipsburg, N.J.") 

            Although some of the information about ages and place of birth in all of the census reports is questionable, the 1900 census reported there were these family members:

Mary H. Smith, 48, widow, born August 1951 in New York,
     both parents born in Ireland

Sophia Smith, 18, daughter, born November 1881 in New York,
     working as a silk doubler

John Smith, 17, son, born January 1883 in Pennsylvania, laborer

May Smith, 15, born in September 1884 in Pennsylvania, silk spinner

Grace Smith, 12, born in June 1887 in Pennsylvania, at school

Mary C. Smith, 11, born in April 1889 in Pennsylvania, at school

            The report on each of the children said that their mother had been born in New York and their father in France. 

            In 1910, the census said that Mary Ann, 53, a widow, was living with her son John A. Smith, 26, at 201 Nesquehoning Street in South Easton, and that both her parents had been born in Ireland.  Next door, at 203 Nesquehoning, was Mary Ann’s son Frank F. Smith, a barber, with his wife Minerva, both 31, and four children.  

            In the 1920 census, Mary Ann, 67 (the age again was mistaken, for now she was actually 69 or 70), was still living at 201 Nesquehoning Street, still with her son John A. Smith. In the 1930 census, Mary Ann, 79, was living at 11 Second Street in Easton, paying rent of $17 a month.  She was living alone, possibly because her son John had gotten married about 1920.  When she died a few months after the 1930 census, her obituary reported that she had resided in the Alex Building, on Northampton Street. 

            Mary Ann Smith's Death.  Mary Ann died at 12:20 p.m. on January 29, 1931.  Her obituary in the Easton Express of the same day said she died of “a complication of ailments.”  In a document filed with the court in Phillipsburg, her doctor said she died of “bronchial pneumonia,” that he had been her physician for 10 years, and her condition required regular attendance of another person from November 1, 1930, until her death.  

            Mary Ann died at the home of her daughter, Mae Smith Ward, wife of Herbert Ward, at 249 Washington Street in Phillipsburg.  She apparently had moved there from Easton when she became very ill.  Mae Ward, 43, and her daughter, Evelyn Miers, 22, filed a claim, apparently with the U.S. Pension Office, for reimbursement of expenses for nursing care ($75) and funeral costs ($448).  In the application, Mae said she had received $90 in a life insurance policy on her mother.  She said that she had paid the premiums, 15 cents a week for 26 years (since 1905).  That would amount to $202 paid in premiums for a $90 payout.    

            Mary Ann’s death certificate said that she had been born on August 16, 1850, and was aged 80 years, 5 months and 13 days.  Her tombstone said she was born in 1851.  (Presumably, her daughter Mae Ward, supplied information for both.)  If the tombstone and the census reports were correct in saying she had been born in August 1851, she would have been 79.  The obituary said she was 81. Other evidence, cited above, offers only differing conclusions on her age. 

            The obituary for “Mrs. John Smith,” published in the Easton Express on the day of her death, said she was survived by all nine of her children -- William, Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Frank, Sophie, Mae, Grace and Mary Catherine.  She was also survived by her brother, William Lee, of Williams Township, 25 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.  She was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Easton.  The funeral service was conducted from the home of her daughter Mae Ward, in Phillipsburg, and Mary Ann was buried in Easton Cemetery, not far from the grave of her husband, John Smith.  The simple tombstone read: 

Mary A. Smith

            The Buss family graves were later located nearby.  Curiously, Mary Ann’s death certificate said that her father’s name was Frank Lee, but it seems clear this was an error.  One explanation given is that “Frank” was a nickname, but the real name was William.


Children of Mary Ann Lee and John Smith
            Mary Ann Smith told the census taker in 1900 that she and John Smith had had ten children, of whom nine were still living.  However, in 1910 she said she had had nine children and all nine were living. The last of them, Mary Catherine Smith, is the one who married William Thomas Buss.  The nine children were these: 

William H. Smith (c. 1869-1956)
Elizabeth Smith Simons (b. 1872)
Sarah Smith Laubach (c. 1874-1937)
John Smith (1876-1935)
Frank Francis Smith (1879-1940)
Sophie Smith Keith Roesch (1882-1961)
Mae Bridget Smith Ward (1884-1964)
Grace Smith Horn (1887-1944)
Mary Catherine Smith Buss (1889-1949)

             Details are as follows: 

            1.  William H. Smith was the first of the children of Mary and John Smith, and there is confusion about the date of his birth.  In the 1880 census, William was living with his family at 648 Church Street in Easton. His age was given as 10, and he thus would have been born about 1870.  He told the 1900 census taker that he had been born in November 1869.  That would conform to being 10 at the time of the 1880 census.  In 1910 and 1920, he said his age was 39 and 49, which would conform to a birthdate of November 1870, and in 1930, he said he was 58, which would make him born in 1871.  On the other hand, his death certificate said he was born on November 28, 1868, and that he was 87 years old. If correct, that would mean that 16-year-old Mary Ann Lee Smith was pregnant at the time she married John Smith in May 1868.  However, information on death certificates is usually provided by family members who sometimes confuse dates and events. The answer is not clear. 

            William’s parents told the census taker in 1880 he had been born in Canada, but this is the only connection to Canada known in the family.  In all subsequent census reports, he said he had been born in Pennsylvania, and all the rest of Mary Ann’s children were recorded as born in Pennsylvania.  William’s death certificate said he had been born in Chicago, and his obituary said he had been born in Easton. 

            William H. Smith married Clara Amey, who told the census taker in 1900 that she had been born in October 1880. At the time of the 1900 census, William and Clara had not yet been married a full year.  He was 30 and she was 19.  One researcher said Clara had been born on October 23, 1878, in Durham, Pennsylvania.  In 1900, they lived at 329 Washington Street, close to where William’s mother and his siblings John and Lizzie were living.  In 1910, William and Clara had moved to 215 Philadelphia Street in Easton.  In 1920 they were in West Easton, and in 1930 in Glendon.  William was a laborer in a malt house, a foundry, and a stone quarry in different census years.  In 1930, they were living with nine of their ten children, aged 4-25, with the oldest having left home.  Clara died on May 2, 1950, and William on September 30, 1956.  He was 87.  They were buried in Northampton Memorial Shrine in Palmer Township, outside Easton. Their children were William Smith, Henry Smith, Thomas Smith, John F. Smith, Sarah Smith Nemeth, Clara Smith Fretz, Emily Smith Schratt, Mary Smith Nodoline, Mae Smith Schneider, and Sofia Smith. Their oldest son, also called William Smith (1902-1943), died at the age of 41, as a passenger in a car crash in Wilson Borough. Thomas Smith, who lived in Bath, died on November 9, 2008. The last surviving child, John Francis Smith, of West Easton, died on August 20, 2009, at the age of 85.

            One of the descendants of William and Clara Smith, Lynn Plummer Murphy, of North Port, Florida, has done extensive research on the Smith family, particularly William’s branch.  She formerly lived in Williams Township and attended Wilson High School in Easton.  She moved to Florida in 1969.  Her ancestry runs through William’s daughter Mae Gladys Smith Schneider (1907-1995).  

            2.  Elizabeth Smith, known as “Aunt Lizzie,” was born in October 1871.  She married George Simons (1871-1945).  At the time of the 1900 census, they were living at 334 Hulls Court, just around the corner from where Lizzie’s brother William was living with Clara, at 329 Washington Street, and close to where Mary Ann was living with Lizzie’s brother John.  Lizzie’s “grandfather,” James McGuire, was living with her in 1900.  In 1905, Lizzie and George lived at 341 Lehigh Street in Easton, and that is where James McGuire, the stepfather of Mary Ann, died.  At the time of the 1910 census, Lizzie and George lived at 133 Sullivan Street in Easton, and in 1930, they were at 110 Cattell Street.  George was a laborer on “college grounds,” probably Lafayette.  In 1910, they lived with three children, Ethel Simons Baker, 20, who had married Albert C. Baker, 27, Margaret Simons, 12, and George Simons Jr., 9. Later it was understood the family lived in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and were frequently visited by family members. 

            3.  Sarah Smith was born about 1874 and died in 1937.  She told the census taker in 1910 that she had been born in New York, but later she said it was Pennsylvania.  In 1880, when she was 6, her mother had said it was Pennsylvania.  She married Abraham E. Laubach, who had been born about 1870. He was a moulder in a wheelwright shop.  At the time of the census in 1910, 1920 and 1930, they lived at 442 St. Joseph’s Court in South Easton.  Their children were Earl, William and Abraham Laubach.  

            4.  John A. Smith was born on July 27, 1876, and died on February 9, 1935. John was killed by a hit-and-run driver on South Delaware River drive.  A front-page article in the Easton Express, headed "MAN HIT BY 2 AUTOS DIES,"  said John was "struck by one machine which did not stop and was thrown under the wheels" of another automobile.  The driver of the second car took John to Easton Hospital where he died of a fractured skull at 6 a.m.  The driver said he was driving north when he saw hurtling toward him a body that had been struck by a car going in the opposite direction.  "He tried to apply his brakes," the article said, "but the thin coating of ice on the concrete highway made it impossible to stop and the wheels of his machine ran over the man."  The article also said that John Smith was known for his swimming prowess and had the reputation of having saved a great many boys from drowning in the Lehigh and Delaware canals and the Delaware River.  The funeral notice said that John lived at 298 East Canal Street, and the obituary said he was struck by the cars near his home.  The obituary indicated that he was survived by all of his siblings, making him the first to die.

            There is substantial variation in reports regarding John's date of birth.  He first appeared in the census in 1880, when he was 4, living with his family at 648 Church Street.  When his mother, Mary Ann, applied for a widow’s pension, it was based in part on her having six children under 16, and one of them was John, born on the date shown above.  The puzzle comes from later census reports, which said he was 17 in 1900, born in June 1883; 26 in 1910 (he would have been born in 1884); 42 in 1920 (he would have been born in 1878); and 56 in 1930 (he would have been born in 1874).  His tombstone said he was born in 1881.  These varied dates gave rise to speculation that the John Smith born in 1876, as shown in the 1880 census, had died and another child, also named John Smith, was born in 1883, as suggested in the 1900  and 1910 census reports.  But Mary’s pension application in 1890 made clear that she had only one son named John Smith, the one born in 1876, and he was still living in 1890.  

            Using 1876 as his date of birth, John was actually 34 and 44 at the time of the census in 1910 and 1920, still single and living with his mother at 201 Nesquehoning Street, South Easton, even though the 1910 census said he was 26.  John was 54 at the time of the 1930 census, and that census showed that, about 1920, just after the census of that year, John had gotten married to a woman named Margaret, born about 1894, and they were living near Martins Creek.  The census showed that she had emigrated from Ireland in 1919, when she was 25, and they were married about 1920.  The 1930 census said that John was 46 at the age of his first marriage and Margaret was 26.  John’s occupation in 1920 was given as laborer for a wrecking company.  In 1930, it was given as "sick.” In 1935, John died after being struck by two cars.  His tombstone in Easton Cemetery, near the grave of his parents, said he lived from 1881 to 1935, but the date of his birth is probably wrong and should have said 1876-1935.  What happened to Margaret is not known.  Apparently, they had no children. 

            5.  Frank Francis Smith was born on January 18, 1879, and died on November 14, 1940.  He was shown in the 1880 census at the age of 1, living with his parents on Church Street.  He married Minerva Schlegel, born in November 1877, according to the census but in 1876 according to her tombstone.  She died in 1950, and they were both buried in South Easton Cemetery.  In the 1900 census, he was 21, she was 22, and they had been married three years.  At that time, they lived at 109 Madison Street in South Easton, near Philadelphia Road.  Frank was a barber, then a baker, then a prominent real estate agent in Easton.  In 1910, they lived on Nesquehoning Street, next door to Frank’s brother John and their mother, Mary Ann.  In 1920, they lived on Berwick Street, and in 1930 they owned a house worth $40,000 at 731 Lehigh Street.  Their children were Frank Francis, Jr., Stanley, Elsie, James, Lester and Gladys Smith.

             Frank Francis Smith, Jr., was born on May 10, 1898, in Glendon. He was also called Franklin Smith. His wife was the former Elizabeth Hagerman. In the 1930 census, and at the time of his death, his family lived on North 8th Street in Easton. In the 1930 census, Frank and Elizabeth were both shown as age 31, having been married at age 21. He was employed by Ingersoll-Rand Company in Phillipsburg for 44 years. At the time of his death, Frank was office supervisor of the Cameron Pump Division of Ingersoll-Rand. He died on January 6, 1962, at the age of 63, at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg. Frank had two children, Frances M. Smith, who married Francis Davidson, and James K. Smith, who married Mary E. Jones. The children were 9 and 7, respectively, in the 1930 census. Frank's wife, children, brothers Stanley and Lester and sister Elsie survived him.

James K. (Jim) Smith, the son of Frank Jr. and Elizabeth Hagerman Smith, was born in Easton on October 14, 1922. He graduated from Easton High School in 1940. Later, Jim lived in Phillipsburg, where he was an assistant general foreman in the Cameron Pump Division of the Ingersoll-Rand Company. He worked there for 42 years, retiring in 1982. During World War II, he served with the Army Air Corps in England, France and Belgium. Jim also enjoyed restoring old automobiles. After his retirement, Jim moved to Florida, but about 2002, he returned to the Phillipsburg area and lived in Lopatcong Township. Jim was very interested in the family genealogy, and this report on the Smith and Lee families includes benefits of his research. Among other things, Jim obtained the Civil War records of his ancestor John Schmidt/Smith as well as records of the application of the person he called his "great-grandmother," Mary Ann Lee Smith, when she sought a widow's pension based on the death of her husband in the Civil War. Jim developed much information on the Smith and related families, and he corresponded with Smith and Lee descendants to develop additional data.  He died on September 12, 2009, at Warren Hospital, at the age of 86. He and his wife, the former Mary E. Jones, celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on September 9, 2009. Jim had two sons. Jack E. Smith died in 1997; his wife, Eileen Overman Smith, lived in Hendersonville, NC, in 2009. Jim's other son, James K. Smith Jr., and his wife Patricia lived in Cedar Grove, NJ, in 2009. At his death, Jim was also survived by his sister, Francis Nicholas, of Mechanicsburg, PA, and four grandchildren.

            Stanley E. Smith, Sr. was born on March 15, 1900. (He was 9 in the 1910 census). Stanley worked at Ingersoll-Rand in Phillpsburg for many years. He died on September 17, 1993, at his home on Bushkill Street in Easton. He was 93. Stanley's wife, Sara Bullman Smith, was born on July 10, 1902, and died on October 15, 1987, at the Leader Nursing Home in Palmer Township. She was 85. They had a son, Stanley E. Smith, Jr. (1920-2000), who was employed by Pfizer, Inc., in Easton and lived in Raubsville, and daughters Marie Metzgar, Dorothy Gebhardt, Elizabeth Kupsky, and Jane Kohler. Stanley Sr. also had 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

            Elsie Mae Smith was born in February 11, 1902, in Easton and died on January 25, 1952. She married Chester E. Rogers (1896-1961) and both were buried in Hay's Cemetery, South Easton.

            James Maynard Smith was born about 1906 (he was 4 in the 1910 census, 13 in the 1920 census, 24 in the 1930 census). He was a real estate agent in Easton in 1930, probably working with his father, who was a real estate broker. Later he was employed by the Easton contractors Collins and Maxwell. He died of a heart attack at age 43 on June 4, 1949, at his home on South Tenth Street in Easton. He apparently had no children and was not married. He was survived by his mother and all of his siblings except Elsie. He was buried in South Easton Cemetery.

            Lester T. Smith was born on February 2, 1912 (he was 7 in the 1920 census). In 1942, Lester enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at Ft. Myer, Virginia, outside Washington, D. C. He apparently remained in the Washington area and was recorded by family members as living there and in nearby Chevy Chase, Maryland. Lester died in Washington on February 24, 2001, at the age of 89.  Apparently it was Lester, serving in the Army in Washington, who reported to his family that President Franklin Roosevelt was crippled, that he had seen FDR being carried around.  That the president was crippled was then still a national secret, but the Smiths in Easton knew about it.

            Gladys M. Smith was born on December 21, 1913, in Easton and died on December 21, 2002, in Allentown. She was married to Edgar T. "Ted" Sales. The lived on Freemansburg Avenue in Palmer Township, across from a drive-in theater. They  had a son, Edgar T. "Ted" Sales, Jr. In printing the obituary of Gladys, the Easton Express-Times introduced confusion about whether any of her siblings survived her. The obituary was printed three times, each one giving different information. The last one, on December 25, 2002, apparently the correct one, said that Gladys' sister Elsie and her four brothers, Frank, Stanley, James and Lester, all died earlier. 

            6.  Sophia Smith was born on November 4, 1881, and died about 1961.  About 1902, she married Harry S. Keith, who had been born in Canada. His tombstone said he was born in 1880 and died in 1924, and the age of 44.  In the 1910 census, they lived in Manhattan, New York, where Harry was an iron worker and bridgeman.  By 1920, they were living in Washington Heights, Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, with children Helen, 15, and Harry Keith, 5. Harry was a bridgeman, probably with Bethlehem Steel, judging by the employment of neighbors on Mechanic Street.  By 1930, Sophia was married to Allen Roesch (1884-1951), and they lived on Route 519 in Harmony Township, New Jersey.  Living with them was Sophia’s son, Harry Keith, 15. Young Harry, born in 1914, died in 1994. On Sophia’s tombstone, she is named “Sophia Keith Roesch.” Most in this family were buried in Easton Cemetery. Family members said the Lee side of her family was always special to Sophia. She named her daughter "Helen Lee" and Helen named her daughter "Ann Lee." 

            7.  Mae Bridget Smith, named after her grandmother "Bridget," was born on September 13, 1884, and died on April 23, 1964, in Phillipsburg.  She was married about 1904 to Herbert Ward (the census called him Henry H. Ward), a railroad engineer born about 1887.  Mae’s mother, Mary Ann Lee Smith, died at Mae’s house at 249 Washington Street in Phillipsburg on January 29, 1931. Apparently Mary Ann had moved to Mae’s house in November of 1930 when she required serious assistance. Mae, then 43, and her daughter, Evelyn Ward Miers, then 21, provided nursing help and later filed a claim for compensation based upon Mary Ann’s widow’s pension.  

            In her later years, Mae herself was badly crippled with arthritis and was confined to bed at the home of her daughter, Lola Ward Youpa (1919-1990), on Summit Avenue in Phillipsburg.  Lola married William Bowers and later Joseph Youpa. Her daughter, Carol Bowers, born in 1939, married George Sandt. Carol Bowers Sandt died at the age of 68 on May 25, 2007, in Bethlehem, where she lived.  Carol had two daughters, Robin L. Calcagnetti and Nancy A. LaSalla.

            Mae Smith had two other children. Herbert Ward (1913-1982) was named for his father.  Evelyn J. Ward (1908-1963) married a man named Miers in 1927 when she was 18 and later married Talmadge Wright (1910-1995), of Hackettstown.  Evelyn worked at Mack Printing Company in Easton, and the Wrights lived in Harmony Township, Warren County.  Evelyn died on May 13, 1963, and was buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Phillipsburg.      

            8.  Grace Smith was born on June 15, 1887, and died on July 11, 1944.  She married Sherman Horn.  The 1920 census showed that they lived at 208 Washington Street in Easton and had four children, Florence Horn (Steele) (1906-1976), Robert, Grace and Sherwood Horn (1917-1976).  Later she had Mary Ann and John Horn. 

            9.  Mary Catherine Smith, last of the family, was born on April 22, 1889.  She appeared in the 1910 census at the age of 21, living with her husband, William T. Buss (1888-1970), at 33 Fulton Street in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.  The family moved to 251 Kleinhans Avenue in Easton by the time of the 1920 census, and to 2102 Freemansburg Avenue in Wilson Borough by 1930.  They had three daughters, Mildred, Dorothy and Geraldine Buss.  See details of the family in the section on William Buss.  Mary Catherine died in June 1949 at the age of 60.  

            Mary Buss left a deep impression on her grandchildren, who knew her as “Nanny.”  Mildred Boyer Harris, who contributed extensive research to this report, said Mary was a courageous lady who drove a car before most women (even her daughters).  It was a yearly ritual for her to take Mildred to Hess's Department Store in Allentown for lunch in the Patio and shop for clothes before the new school year.  She would gun the gas, and shoot the car across Freemansburg Avenue as the trip began.  Mildred said she was always welcome at 2102 Freemansburg Avenue, about three blocks from the Boyer home on South 21st Street, especially when Mary Catherine was cooking something for dinner that Mildred preferred over the onions being cooked at her own home.


2.  William H. Lee (1855-1942)

            Mary Ann Lee’s brother, William Lee, was born on June 15, 1855, in Chicago, according to his death certificate.  William himself repeatedly told census takers that he had been born in Illinois and that his parents had been born in Ireland. 

            William Lee married Catherine (Kate) Baker, who had been born about 1856. She was the daughter of Conrad P. and Rebecca Baker.  The 1870 census showed that the Baker family lived in Brothers Valley, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  William and Catherine were married about 1876, judging by the 1900 census, which said they had been married 24 years.  In 1930, they told the census taker they had been aged 20 and 19 when they were married, which would have been 1875 or 1876.
Frank Lee and wife Catherine Baker, About 1910 William H. Lee and son WHLee, 1942
William H. Lee, Sr., and his wife Catherine Baker, about 1910 William H. Lee, right, and his son, William H. Lee, Jr., in 1942,
the year the elder Lee died

            It is not known where William and Catherine were married, but by the time of the 1880 census, when both were 24, they were living in Bethlehem Township, “Eastern District,” Pennsylvania, where he was a farm laborer.  They then had two children.  The oldest one, Mary E. Lee, was 3 and had been born in Pennsylvania.  This suggests William had moved to Pennsylvania at least by 1877, when Mary was born.  His 1942 obituary said that he had lived in the Easton area for 64 years, which would mean since about 1878.  

            William’s wife, Catherine, told various census takers that she had been born in Pennsylvania.  She said her father was born in Prussia (1880 census), Germany (1900), Germany (1910) and spoke German, and Belgium (1920) and spoke German.  She said her mother had been born in Maryland.  One record showed that Catherine was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  This makes it appear that Catherine met William Lee not in Chicago but after he moved to the Easton area.  Living on the property adjoining William’s in 1880 were his mother, the former Bridget McNiff Lee, now named Bridget McGuire, and her husband James McGuire.

            This suggests that William Lee moved to the Easton area about the same time as his mother and James McGuire, possibly so that they could live close to his sister, Mary Ann Lee Smith, and her husband John Smith.  At the time that Bridget and James McGuire, and William and Catherine Lee were shown living in Bethlehem Township in 1880, John and Mary Ann Smith, and five of their children, were only a few miles away, at 648 Church Street in Easton.  

            In the informal census of 1890, William Lee, a laborer, his wife Catherine, and five daughters were recorded as living in “Snufftown,” a small village of South Easton along the Lehigh River, near the beginning of the Delaware division of the Pennsylvania Canal.  The village at one time was called Williamsport.  By 1900, the family was living at 31 East Cedar Street, also in Easton’s Ninth Ward near the Delaware River, with six children.  Catherine said she had had nine children, of whom seven were living.  

            At the time of the 1910 census, William and Catherine Lee, both 54, were living with three of their children in the “Upper District” of Williams Township, which borders South Easton.  In 1920, aged 64, they had moved to 305 Rock Street, next to Williams Street in South Easton, and William was a brick maker.  His obituary said he had spent most of his life in farming but was also employed at one time by the Zehnder Brick Company.  By 1930, they were recorded back in Williams Township, both 74.  

            Catherine Baker Lee died on July 25, 1940, at the age of 84.  William Lee died of myocarditis, according to his death certificate, at his home on June 2, 1942.  He died a few days short of his 87th birthday, eleven years after his sister died.  William was survived by six of his children.  Catherine and William both died in Williams Township (Easton R. D. 4), and they were buried in Hay's Cemetery, in South Easton, near where they lived.  Their tombstone records Catharine Lee 1856-1940 and William Lee 1855-1942.  

            Children of William H. Lee.  The children were these: 

            1.  Sadie Lee, birth date unknown, died before 1900.  She was known only through a family note. 

            2.  Mary E. Lee was born about 1877.  She married Irvin Young and died after 1957. A daughter, Dorothy Young, married Walter Tuttle. (See photo below.) 

            3.  Margaret (Maggie) Lee was born about 1879).  She died before 1900. 

            4.  Annie S. Lee was born in 1881.  She married a man named Lillis and died after 1957. They had sons Jack and Edward Lillis. 

            5.  Catherine Ella Lee was born in 1885.  She married J. Preston Barnes and died after 1942. They lived in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. 

            6.  Bella May Lee, also known as May or Maisie, was born in 1888.  She married Claude E. Young and died after 1942. 

            7.  Sarah A. Lee was born on June 7, 1890, and died on July 4, 1914.  She remained single and was buried in Hay’s Cemetery in South Easton near her parents. 

            8.  Frank Herman Lee, Sr., was born on October 21, 1892, in Easton.  He married Sarah (or "Sarah Lee") Elizabeth Transue Wolbach (1894-1936). Frank worked for Bethlehem Steel as a boilermaker and then for 40 years for the Lehigh Valley Railroad as a car inspector. He died on July 6, 1957, in Williams Township, at age 64, and was buried in Christ Evangelical Congregational (Blue) Church Cemetery in Williams Township. Sarah died at age 42 and was buried in the same cemetery. Frank and Sarah had one daughter and four sons.  All five children lived in Williams Township:

William and Mary Lee, 1920 Frank Lee, Junior, with son John Lee, 1920 Sarah Wohlbach Lee, 1936
William and Mary Lee, 1920 Frank Herman Lee, Senior,
with son John Lee, 1920
Frank Lee, Senior's wife,
Sarah Wohlbach Lee, 1936

John, Frank, William and Norman Lee, 1924 Mary, Frank, Norman, William and John Lee, 1924
John, Frank, William and Norman Lee, 1924 Mary, Frank, Norman, William and John Lee, 1924

a. William Richard Lee, Sr. (1913-1993) was born on February 14, 1913, and died in Easton Hospital on August 29, 1993, at age 80.  He was employed by area restaurants.  He was married to Florence Elizabeth Pfister (1910-2001), and they had four children. Their marriage ended in divorce.

The Lee Children, 1927: Frank, Norman, William, John, Mary Mary Lee (Goodyear), 1930
Children of Frank Lee, Sr., 1927:
Frank, Norman, William, John, Mary
Mary Lee (Goodyear), 1930

b. Mary Elizabeth Lee (1914-2007) was born on August 30, 1914, and died on August 9, 2007, in Manor Care, Bethlehem, at age 92. She was married to John H. Goodyear, who was born in 1910. He died in 1975 while on vacation in Canada. They had two children, Ellen Goodyear Ferri and Bruce Goodyear. Most of the photographs in this section were discovered by Bruce in the photo album of his mother, Mary Lee Goodyear.

c. Frank Herman Lee, Jr. (1916-1999)  was born on March 29, 1916, and died in Easton Hospital on September 27, 1999, at the age of 83. He served in the U.S. Navy, with the Seabees in Okinawa, during World War II, and then worked for 31 years for Mack Printing Company, retiring in 1978. He married Marguerite Helen Wirebach (1919-2005) in 1940. Marguerite had been born on February 24, 1919, in Easton. She died in St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, on August 20, 2005, at the age of 86. Frank and Marguerite had three children:

Frank Lee, Jr., 1925 Frank Lee, Jr., 1935 Frank Lee, Jr., 1945
Frank Herman Lee, Jr., in 1925, 1935 and 1945

-- Kathleen May Lee was born on February 13, 1943.  She married Gary Frey and later William George Lovett.  Kathleen and William had two children, Jennie Lee Lovett, who married Greg Ray Miller, and William Lovett.

-- Terry James Lee was born on May 12, 1947. He married Carolyn Ann Rauktis on August 19, 1967. Carolyn had been born on October 19, 1947, in Easton, the daughter of Edward Rauktis and Jean Kotowski.  (See more information on Terry Lee below.)

-- Dennis Frank Lee was born on May 7, 1950. He married Susan Chase. They were divorced in 2007.

Frank Lee, Jr., and Marguerite, 1990 Dorothy Tuttle, Terry and Carrie Lee, 1958
Frank Herman Lee, Jr., and wife Marguerite, on their 50th anniversary, 1990 Frank Lee's son Terry Lee in 1968 with Frank's granddaughter, Carrie Jean Lee. With them is Welcome Wagon Representative
Dorothy Young Tuttle

            Frank Herman Lee Jr.’s son, Terry James Lee, is an active student of the Lee family who continues to try to resolve the numerous conflicts in the family genealogy.  He contributed substantial information and analysis of the Lee family for this report.  Terry graduated from Wilson High School in 1965, Lafayette College in 1969, and the University of Massachusetts in 1971.  Since 1988, he has lived in Williams Township, outside of Easton, and in 2006 he was chairman of the Williams Township Planning Commission. Terry's daughter, Carrie Jean Lee, was born on Janury 14, 1968, in Easton, Pennsylvania. In 2008, she was a television financial news correspondent based in New York.

d. Norman C. Lee (1917-1998) was born on July 12, 1917, in Williams Township.  He died on March 5, 1998, in Spring Hill, Florida. Norman married Theresa (Tess) in 1946, and they had two children, Terry Jeanne Lee and Jennifer Lee.  Norman was in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in 1941. He stayed in the Navy until 1960, including service on three ships during their sinking -- the West Virginia, the Lexington and the Block Island. His widow, Tess, said that after the third sinking, the Navy decided that Norm might be a jinx and decided not to station him on any more ships. A long article about Norman was printed in Pearl Harbor-Gram, the newsletter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Volume I, Issue 13.

Norman Lee, About 1935 Norman and Frank Lee Jr., 1942
Norman Lee, about 1935 Norman, left, and brother Frank Lee, Jr., 1942, after Norman returned from Pearl Harbor

e. John D. Lee (1918-1994) was born on September 12, 1918, and died at his home in Tatamy, Pennsylvania, on August 29, 1994, at the age of 75. He was married to Mary Derr for 41 years.  He worked at Mack Printing Company for 44 years. John and Mary had two children, Robert J. Lee, who married Constance E. Hawk, and Barbara Ann Lee, whose husband was named Van Buskirk. 

            9.  William H. Lee, ninth child of William H. Lee, clearly named for his father, was born in 1896 and died in 1969 (see photo above).  He married Florence I. Wallesa (1907-1975).  They had no children. Both are buried in Hay’s Cemetery. His tombstone reads "Cook, Co. F. 115 Engrs. World War I."
William H. Lee, Jr., during World War I, about 1918 Grave Marker for William Lee, Jr.
William H. Lee, Jr., during World War I,
about 1918, and his cemetery marker


3.  Frank Lee (?)

            There is no direct evidence that Bridget and William Lee had a third child.  However, there are several references to a Frank or Francis Lee that imply that, in addition to Mary Ann and William Lee, there was a child named Frank.  

            The primary suggestion of the existence of Frank is the obituary of Bridget’s second husband, James McGuire.  Although James and Bridget had no children of their own, his obituary on August 25, 1905, said he was survived by, in addition to his stepdaughter, Mary Smith, two sons, “Frank Lee McGuire, of Illinois, and William McGuire, of the South Side of Easton.”  A funeral notice three days later changed the name McGuire to Lee, saying that “William Lee, of the South Side, and Frank Lee, of Illinois, are stepsons of the deceased.”  William Lee was clearly the brother of Mary Ann Lee Smith, mentioned in numerous records, but there was no other record of a Frank Lee.  Mary Ann’s obituary, 26 years later, said that she had a brother named William but did not mention Frank. 

            While it is possible that “Frank” was a nickname for William, that would not explain why the obituary of James McGuire claimed both William and Frank as separate stepsons.  Since James McGuire filed an affidavit in 1891 saying that he knew Mary Ann, a child of Bridget, when she was young, one might assume that if there was also a child named Frank, James would have known Frank also.  Thus it seems logical that Frank would have been mentioned in James McGuire’s obituary. 

            One student of the family speculated that Frank existed and was born in Illinois, as were his siblings, but he never moved east.  One guess is that if Mary Ann was born in 1851 and William in 1855, Frank was born in between them.  However, no evidence of his existence has been found.

            Two other clues, uncovered by Terry Lee, are noted above.  

One clue is the 1860 census report from the 6th Ward of Chicago that shows that a Francis Lee, 8, living with Mary Ann Lee, 8, William Lee, 6, and parents William and Margaret Lee, both 40. The ages are close to those of the Lee family that went to Easton, but the wife's name is Margaret and not Bridget. This is perhaps an error or perhaps only a coincidence.  

The other clue comes from the 1870 census for the 18th Ward of Chicago. This shows a Francis Lee, 20, living with James McGuire, 33 (perhaps a friend of the family), and Bridget McGuire, 60, perhaps the mother of James. Again, this may be the family that went to Easton, or just another misleading coincidence.  

            Both clues, however, enhance the speculation that William and Bridget Lee had three children, Mary Ann, William and a Francis. More work is to be done.




Buss Family of Northampton County
Royer Family of Cherryville
Boyer Family of Easton
Family of S. David Boyer of Easton

Waltman Family of Northampton County
Neil Boyer’s Family History Page
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