Lesnett family
of Western Pennsylvania


    Christian Lesnett was born in 1728 in Hesse-Kassel, Germany, according to family tradition. (1)
    Married Christianna. (See below)
    Children: (2)
    Frederick, born 1758.
    Frank, born 1760.
    Sophia, born 1762.  Married William Rowley.
    Christopher, born 1765.
    Margaret, born 1767.  Married Richard Boyce.
    Christian Jr., born 1769.
    Christianna, born 1774 or 1775.  Married John Neal.
    George, born 1777.
    Christian immigrated to the United States in 1752, according to the book “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” upon which some of this account is based.  As in the case of many Germans, his name was anglicized and appears in a variety of ways, including: Lisnett, Listnet and Lesneet.  Whether any of these represents the original German spelling is unknown.
     Also aboard the ship that carried Christian to America was a young married couple. During the stormy 90-day voyage across the Atlantic, the husband died and the wife, Christianna, gave birth to a girl, Agnes, who is often listed by the nickname Nancy. (3)

Dell Lesnett, 1890s. Dell served briefly in a Union infantry regiment during the Civil War.

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Ancestors of Dell Lesnett (list)


   The colonists landed in Baltimore and moved west to Frederick, Md., where they settled.  Within a few years, Christian married Christianna.  Her maiden name and the name of her first husband are unknown.  Tradition holds that Christian adopted Nancy, who later married John Vance and James Morrow.  Christian’s “step-daughter Nancy Vance” is the first heir mentioned in his will after Christianna. (4)
     Christian was a cabinetmaker and had a shop in Frederick.  But after a few years, the shop burned down and the Lesnetts moved northwest to Hagerstown.
    Although the French and Indian War was over, hostilities still flared up at times.  In 1763, Pontiac, an Ottowa chief, organized a series of surprise attacks at strategic points from Detroit to Fort Pitt, the present site of Pittsburgh.  The English sent a relief force under Col. Henry Bouquet to western Pennsylvania.  The force included some rangers from Maryland but was primarily made up of British regulars. (5)  Christian joined this force and was assigned to help repair and defend the wagons, according to the Lesnett genealogy.
    The force traveled along the Forbes Road until Aug. 5, when it was attacked by Indians at Bushy Run, about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  The English forces held off several attacks by the Indians the first day. On the second day, Col. Bouquet’s men faked a retreat and drew the Indians into a trap.  The Indians were decimated and the soldiers made it safely to Fort Pitt.
    While the little army was stationed at Fort Pitt, Christian saw the possibilities of the country.  After a peace treaty was signed in 1768, he took the first opportunity to settle there.
    When Christian returned to western Pennsylvania to settle, he brought his two oldest sons – Frederick and Frank – and a man named Gillion. (6)  They cleared the land, built a cabin and planted rye, turnips and corn.  In the fall, the men returned to Maryland to gather their families.  However, Christy was detained as a witness in a lawsuit and they were unable to travel to western Pennsylvania until the following spring.  The boys stayed on the homestead that winter.
    In the 1770s, the area surrounding Pittsburgh was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania and both colonies sent settlers there.  Both colonies established local governments – Pennsylvania called the area Westmoreland County and Virginia called it West Augusta, Ohio and Yohogania counties.  This led to some party strife.  Following the Revolution, Pennsylvania was granted most of the land and the rest is now West Virginia. (7)
    Most of the settlers favored Virginia because of it allowed more land to be claimed.  Family tradition recorded in “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” says the Lesnetts favored Virginia and they were very upset that the territory was granted to Pennsylvania.  The Lesnetts appear in Yohogania County, Va., court records in an unspecified lawsuit on July 27, 1778. (8)
    Although many took out official claims with the colonies, others, Christian among them, took out “tomahawk claims,” according to the Lesnett genealogy.  This was done by deadening a few trees near a spring and marking the bark of others with the initial of the person staking the claim.  Christian claimed 1,000 acres but under Pennsylvania law was able to retain only 414 acres, 20 perch.  A 400-acre warranty for Christian and a 150-acre one for his son Francis are dated Sept. 3 and 16, 1785, respectively. (9)  However, Christian’s warranty was disputed – possibly because is was based on a tomahawk claim. A notice in the Pittsburgh Gazette reported in 1797: “John Campbell enters a caveat against granting a patent to Christian Lesnet on his warrant dated 3 Sept 1785, for a tract of land in Washington  county, alledging, that he the said Campbell hath an older Virginia certificate for the same.  The 1st Monday in October next is appointed for a hearing of the parties on this caveat, 30 days notice being given.” (10)
    However, Christian’s claim prevailed and he attained a patent for the land on Feb. 13, 1800, according to the Lesnett genealogy, which includes a copy of the patent.
    The area in which Christy settled later became South Fayette Township in Allegheny County. “A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pa.” credits him with being the township’s first permanent white settler. (11)  For much of that time, the land fell within Washington County so the Lesnetts appear in many Washington County records.
    Indians still presented problems for the settlers, especially during the Revolution and immediately thereafter.  During the Revolution, the British and their sympathizers, such as Simon Girty, turned the Indians against the white settlers.  While the war in the East was fought between armies, the war on the frontier was fought by all.  It also took on a much more ruthless character as atrocities were committed on each side. (12)
    Each spring, Indian war parties gathered for raids to kidnap or kill settlers.  If good weather lasted into the fall, more attacks came – hence the term “Indian summer.”  Settlers banded together to build small blockhouses or stockades for their protection.  Families fled to these blockhouse as soon as word of an Indian raid spread.
    Isabel Lesnett, Frederick’s wife, described how they had to flee to George Morgan’s blockhouse during a raid, according to the Lesnett genealogy.  The Indians besieged the place all day and she helped the women make bullets, while the men shot.  Isabel said things looked hopeless and they thought the Indians were sure to break in when help arrived from Elizabethtown and the Indians were driven off.
    Since the attacks threatened everyone on the frontier, each man was expected to serve in the militia.  The Lesnetts were very active in this defensive effort, with their names appearing frequently in the “Pennsylvania Archive” muster rolls.  However, it is difficult to determine how often or even whether Christian actually served during the Revolutionary period. Since he had a son named Christopher and a younger son named Christian, the names can be confused. (13)
    The best indications of service by the father are listings in “Pennsylvania Archives” for duty in Capt. Andrew Swearingen’s company from March 10 to Nov. 5, 1781 and in Capt. David Reed’s company in June 1782. (14) The service in Swearingen’s unit included extensive campaigning following Indians raids that swept across much of western Pennsylvania. (15)
    The service with Reed’s unit was on the ill-fated campaign led by Col. William Crawford in June 1782.  Christian and two of his sons Frank and either Christopher or Christian were on this mission against the Indian villages near Sandusky, Ohio, believed to be the source of attacks on the settlements.  However, the Indians received word of the troops’ approach and were able to evacuate the villages.  A battle erupted and the militiamen held their own during fighting on June 4.  But the next day, the Indians were re-enforced and Crawford decided to withdraw.  While the militiamen prepared to retreat, the Indians attacked and scattered them.  Many were captured and killed. Col. Crawford was captured, scalped and burned at the stake. (16)  The Lesnetts returned safely, according to the muster rolls in the “Pennsylvania Archives.”
    The Indians continued to be seen as a threat until 1794, when they were vanquished by troops under Gen. Anthony Wayne. (17)
    Christian appears in Cecil Township in the Washington County tax records for 1783.  He owned 400 acres, six horses, four cows and five sheep. (18)
    By 1787, the Lesnetts may have become fixtures in their community.  The newspaper notice for the marriage of his daughter Sophia to William Rowley, states Christian is an “eminent farmer in Washington County.” (19) 
    Following the Revolution, farmers in western Pennsylvania protested taxes on whiskey, which was a primary source of income for the pioneers.  The most dramatic encounter of the Whiskey Insurrection was on July 15, 1794, when rebels burned some buildings at the farm of the man responsible for collecting the tax, Gen. John Neville, who lived near the Lesnetts.  According to the Lesnett genealogy, a group of rebels passed the field the Lesnetts were working and asked the them to join.  The Lesnetts replied that Neville was a neighbor and they didn’t want to get into a squabble that might make things unpleasant.
    Christian died in 1807. (20)  He is said to be buried in St. Luke’s Cemetery, Woodville, Pa., in a plot that is now under the present church building.  Christianna died in 1813. 
    (1) This date comes from “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” by Daniel M. Bennett, page 7.  “Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book” Vol. 83, page 40, and Vol. 159, page 278, say he was born in 1726.  The sources of this information is unknown in each case. Some of this account follows the 1931 Lesnett genealogy, which relied heavily on family sources that appear to be unavailable today.  It is not possible to weigh their accuracy at this point.  (2) Children are listed in Christian’s will in Allegheny County Will Book I, page 253, as cited in “Will Abstracts of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Will Books I through V,” compiled by Helen L. Harriss, page 18 and 19, and also in “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” page 17.  The first names of the daughters’ husbands come from the genealogy, except that of Rowley, which is cited in “Pittsburgh, Pa., Gazette Genealogical Gleanings 1786-1820, Vol. I,” by Mark H. Welchley, page 59.  (3) Their arrival in America was in 1745, according to “History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvnaia.,” by A. Warner & Co., page 484.  This account was published in 1889 and could represent a clearer recollection of the events.  (4) The 1931 Genealogy says they wed in 1757.  “Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book” Vol. 83 says the marriage was in 1751.  Vol. 159 says it was in 1747.  “A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County” says “about 1752.”  Nancy Vance isn’t mentioned in the Abstract of Christian’s will but she is mentioned in the copy of the will in the 1931 genealogy.  Since the genealogy’s copy of the will matches the abstract otherwise, I believe it is a reliable copy.  (5) “The Battle of Bushy Run,” by C.M. Bomberger.  (6) Or Richard Gilson, according to “A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pa.”  A George Gilson lived near Christian in 1790, according to that year’s U.S. census.  (7) “A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pa.,” pages 61 to 74.  (8) “Records of the District of West Augusta, Ohio County and Yohogania County, Va.,” by Richard Loveless, page 248.  (9) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 26,page 576.  (10) “Pittsburgh Gazette Abstracts, 1797-1803,” compiled by Clara E. Duer, page 14.   (11) “A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pa.,” page 22.  (12) “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe.  (13) The Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books cite service in Capt. Stockley’s company from 1778 to 1783 in Vol. 83, page 40, and in Capt. Charles Bilderback’s company in Vol. 159, page 278.  However, these older volumes are known to contain errors.  I have been unable to locate a muster roll showing service in Stockley’s company. The only mention I could find for Bilderback’s company says “Christy Lisnet,” which probably indicates Christopher or perhaps the younger Christian, though he would have been only 13 or so at the time. This reference is in “Pennsylvania Archives” Series 6, Vol. 2, page 389.  The name “Christian Lesnit” appears in Capt. Reed’s company on the same expedition and this reference is probably for the father.  (14) Service with Swearingen is in “Pennsylvania Archives” Series 6, Vol. 2, page 94, and service with Reed is in the same volume on page 398.  (15) “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” page 728.  (16) “A History of Northwestern Ohio,” by Nevin O. Winter, pages 29 to 42.  (17) “Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” pages 710 to 715.  (18) “Washington County Pennsylvania Tax Lists,” compiled by Raymond Martin Bell and Katherine K. Zinsser, page 29.  (19) “The People and Times of Western Pennsylvania,” Special Publication No. 5 of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, compiled by Clara E. Duer, page 12.  (20) 1804, according “DAR Lineage Book” Vols. 83 and 159.  However, the will is dated June 27, 1806 and proved on Oct. 10, 1807, according to “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” page 17.


    Frederick Lesnett was born in 1758 in Frederick, Md., to Christian and Christianna Lesnett. (1)
    Married Isabel Wilson.  Isabel was born in 1776, the daughter of an Episcopal minister who served St. Luke’s Church at Woodville, Pa., acording to a 1931 Lesnett genealogy. (2)
    Children: (3)
    Christopher, born 1797.
    John, born Feb. 29, 1800.
    Margaret, born Oct. 14, 1803.  Married Robert Christy.
    Nancy, born 1805.  Married Dell Weaver.
    Wilson, born 1808.
    Elizabeth, born 1813.  Married Thomas Weaver.
    Francis, born May 18, 1815.
    Arabella, born 1820.  Married John Ramsey.
    According to the book “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” Frederick was the first male child born in Frederick, Md. Because of this, the town’s founder asked that the boy be named after him and his town.  The founder gave Frederick a silver ring, with a large “F” set on the top – used in those times to seal letters. (4)
    In 1769, according to the genealogy, Christian Lesnett staked a claim on land in western Pennsylvania.  He traveled west with his two eldest sons – Frederick and Francis – and a neighbor named Gillion. (5)  They built a cabin, cleared some land and planted rye, turnips and corn.  In the fall the men left the two boys to hold the claim, and returned to Hagerstown, Md.  They expected to return with the remaining family members before winter set in, but Christian was detained as a witness in a lawsuit.  The snow came early and deep in the mountains, so they were unable to return until the following April.
    The two boys spent the long winter alone.  They had to hunt and fish for their food.  They saw no other person, not even an Indian.  On account of this hardship, Frederick suffered from rheumatism the rest of this life.
    A few years later, according to the genealogy, Frederick and a number of men started down Chartiers Creek from Canonsburg, taking a boatload of flour to New Orleans.  While polling down the Ohio River, they saw wild turkey along the bank at a bend near Wellsburg.  Frederick and another man got out and started after them.  While thus engaged, they heard the danger signal from the boat, warning them of Indians.  They turned their canoe and headed back to the boat when the Indians opened fire.  One of the bullets penetrated the canoe and struck Frederick in the calf, pressing the buckskin legging far into the flesh, making a painful and dangerous wound.  None of the rest were hurt.  When they reached Wheeling, they took Frederick ashore.  He soon recovered and returned home afoot.  The others continued down the river, but never returned because they were killed by the Spaniards, who controlled Louisiana.  Some years later, when the United States bought Louisiana, a bounty was paid to the men’s survivors for the lost lives and the flour.
    Unlike his brothers, Frederick isn’t listed in many records of the Revolutionary War era.  However, most men in western Pennsylvania served in the militia at some time because of the constant threat of Indian attack, which was instigated by the British and their sympathizers.  Frederick is listed, along with brother Francis, as a private in Capt. Charles Reed’s Company in the 4th Battalion of Washington County’s militia.  The company was ordered to rendezvous March 1, 1782. (6)  This activation of the militia occurred following several kidnappings by Indians the previous month. (7)
    In other records, Frederick appears as a single man owning no property or livestock in Cecil Township, Washington County, in the 1781, 1783 amd 1784 tax lists.  Frederick received a warrant for 65 acres of land in Washington County on Oct. 11, 1787. (8)
    In 1796, Frederick married Isabell Wilson, according to the Lesnett genealogy.
    Frederick is described by those who remembered him as a large broad-shouldered man, according to the Lesnett genealogy.  In his later days, he always carried a cane.  Frederick’s hair was light and hung down around his shoulders, as was the custom of those times.  The top of his head was bald and he kept his face cleanly shaved.  He always wore a “red wamis” or waist coat.
    Frederick was a good provider, he never scolded or complained, no matter how many were loafing around or enjoying his hospitality.  Everybody was welcome at Uncle Frederick’s but Aunt Isabel would get out of humor and give all around a good hacking.  He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and was noted for his sobriety.
    Frederick died April 6, 1830.  Both Frederick and Isabell are buried in Bethany Presbyterian Church Cemetery at the mouth of Miller Run, near Bridgeville, Pa.
    (1) Frederick is named in his father’s will in Allegheny County, Pa., Will Book I, page 253, which is cited in “Will Abstracts of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Will Books I through V,” compiled by Helen L. Harriss, page 18 and 19.  The date comes from “Allegheny County Cemetery Records,” Vol. 1, which is available at the library at the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.  A listing of the tombstones at Bethany Presbyterian Church, near Bridgeville says that Frederick was 72 when he died April 6, 1830.  “Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book” Vol. 83, page 40, lists Frederick’s year of birth as 1752.  (2) Isabel’s maiden name comes from “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” by Daniel M. Bennett, page 6.  Several Wilsons appears in the old records on property near the Lesnetts.  The most likely candidate for Isabell’s father is William Wilson Sr.  The Lesnett genealogy mentions that Isabel had a brother named William and a William Jr. and Sr. are mentioned in the 1783 tax records for Cecil Township, the same township the Lesnetts lived in at the time.  Isabell’s birth date presents a problem.  The cemetery record mentioned above indicates that Isabell was born in 1758 and died Feb. 16, 1830.  However, a transcript listed on an Internet site devoted to the Morrow family at www.icubed.com/~2morrow/cemetery.html says that she died Feb. 16, 1867, age 91.  This actually seems more likely since it is known that Frederick married late and it was rare for women to do the same.  (3) The children are mentioned in Frederick’s will in Allegheny County, Pa., Will Book 3, Page 406, which is cited in “Will Abstracts of Allegheny County,” compiled by Helen L. Harriss and Elizabeth J. Wall, page 77.  The birth dates and the husband’s names are from the 1931 genealogy.  (4) “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” page 33.  (5) Richard Gilson, according to “History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania,” by A. Warner & Co., page 484.  (6) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6,Vol. 2, page 173.  (7) “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe.  (8) The tax lists are in “Washington County Pennsylvania Tax Lists,” compiled by Raymond Martin Bell and Katherine K. Zinsser, pages 236, 32 and 171, respectively.  The warrant is in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 26, page 577.


    Christopher Lesnett was born about 1797 in western Pennsylvania to Frederick and Isabel (Wilson) Lesnett. (1)
    Christy married Margaret Van Order, who was born in 1801. (2)
    Children: (3)
    Dell W., born March 18, 1831.
    Isabella.  Married a Wright.
    Margaret, born in 1839. Married a Majors.
    Nancy Jane.  Married a Brown.
    Sarah Rachael. Married a Click. (Listed as both Click and Cleip in Christy’s estate papers.)
    Robert C.
    Mary Emeline.  Married a man named McIlrain.
    (The book “Christian Lesnett Genealogy” also mentions a John Boyce and a Rachel, who died in infancy.  Neither appears in Christy’s will.  The genealogy also says that Elizabeth married a man named Houch, but that must have happened after Christy wrote his will in December 1865.)
    Christy seems to have been a successful farmer with land in Perry Township, Lawrence County, Pa., and in nearby Franklin Township, Beaver County.  At his death, Christy owned about 347 acres, six seep, two calves, one heifer, three cows, two horses, two yearling colts, 15 pairs of chickens and “lot of hogs.” (4)
    Christy Lesnet appears on the tax rolls for Perry Township, Beaver County, in 1846 to 1848.  Perry Township later became part of Lawrence County. (5)
    The 1931 genealogy of the Lesnett family gives the following account of the lifestyle of early Americans.  It comes from an item on Christy’s sister, Elizabeth, but is applicable to all those of the time.
    Like all early settlers, the Lesnetts had to depend upon primitive ways of getting along.  All farmers in those days made their own soap, but lye was essential to soaponify the grease.  To procure this, wood ashes were collected in a barrel.  Small holes were drilled in the bottom and water poured in.  The water would filter through the ashes and gather in a vessel below.  This was the lye.  They used bark from a sassafras tree to perfume the soap.
    Clothes were all made by the women, who were experts in the use of the needle.  The settlers grew flax and raised sheep for their wool.  They had to create their own dyes: for brown, they used walnut shells; for red, the madder root from the woods; and other vegetables to for other colors popular at the time.  For their starch, they scraped white potatoes and boiled them, obtaining a clear liquid which they could use to stiffen up their clothes.      The maple trees produced sugar water, which was slowly boiled down for syrup.  A longer boiling would produce sugar.  All fruits – apples, berries, etc. – were dried to preserve them.  Baking was done in “Dutch ovens” and later in an outside oven.  Other cooking was done over a wood fire. (6)
    Christy does not appear to have learned to write because his will is signed with an “X.”  When he wrote his will on Dec. 7, 1865, he said he was “very weak in strength but Sound in mind.”
    Christy died in January 1866.  Margaret died Nov. 10, 1883. (7)
    (1) Christy is named in his father’s will in Allegheny County, Pa., Will Book 3, Page 406, which is cited in “Will Abstracts of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Will Books I through V,” compiled by Helen L. Harriss, page 77.  The approximate year of birth comes from the 1860 Census for Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa.  (2) Year comes from 1860 Census.  Her maiden name comes from “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” by Daniel M. Bennett, pages 34 and 35.  Margaret’s birth year comes form the 1860 Census.  Dell’s comes from his Civil War pension file – Invalid Pension 948910 and Revised Certificate Number 798.263.  (3) Christy’s children are identified in his will in Lawrence County, Pa., Testamentary File L, No. 21.    (4) Will.  (5) “Tax Records 1841-1850 Beaver County, Pennsylvania,” by Helen G. Clear and Mae. H. Winne, page 3.  (6) “Christian Lesnett Genealogy,” page 30 and 31.  (7) Undated clipping from the Ellwood City Ledger.

    Dell W. Lesnett was born March 18, 1831 in Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., to Christopher and Margaret (Van Order) Lesnett. (1)
    Married Emeline Potter. (See below)
    Children: (2)
    Permilla, born Feb. 14, 1859.  Married George W. Bowers.
    Olive Jane, born June 21, 1870.
    John B., born Nov. 13, 1873.
    The 1900 Census of Beaver County records that Emeline gave birth to 12 children, but only three survived.  Of these, John was deaf and mute and Olive may have been deaf, according to family tradition.
    On March 27, 1856, Dell married Emeline Potter in Butler County, Pa.  They were married by the Rev. Robert McCracken.  Emeline was born in August 1833 in Pennsylvania to William and Mary Potter. (3)
    Dell was a farmer and lived in Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., at the time of the 1860 Census.
    During the Civil War, Dell was served in Company G of the 168th Pennsylvania Drafted Militia Infantry Regiment from Oct. 16, 1862 to July 24, 1863. (4)  This nine- month unit never faced the enemy.
    “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers” records the brief history of the 168th Regiment: “This regiment was raised in the counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Beaver, Allegheny, and Erie.  The men rendezvoused at Camp Howe, near Pittsburgh, during the latter part of October, 1862, where the companies were organized, and the following field officers were chosen: Joseph Jack, of Westmoreland county, Colonel; John Murphy, of Washington county, Lieutenant Colonel; John J. Cree, of Fayette county, Major.  Clothing, arms, and accoutrements, and the State colors, were received on the 2d of December, and on the evening of he same day, the regiment started for the front.
    “Upon its arrival at Fortress Monroe, it was ordered to Newport News, where it remained some two weeks, with the command of General Corcorn.  It was thence ordered to Suffolk, Virginia, and was there assigned to Spinola’s Brigade, subsequently known as the Keystone Brigade.  From Suffolk, the brigade was ordered to Newbern, North Carolina, whither it proceeded by way of the Chowan River, arriving on the 1st of January, 1863.  The regiment was here thoroughly drilled, and the officers instructed in the duties.  It was out upon several expeditions against the enemy, but did not come to battle.  Soon after the retreat of the enemy under General Hill from before Little Washington, which he had been closely besieging, the Keystone Brigade was ordered thither to relieve the garrison.  Here it remained until the 28th of June, when it was sent to Fortress Monroe, and thence to White House, to cooperate with forces under General Dix, in a demonstration towards Richmond.
    “For nearly a week the troops were out upon this duty, and here the intelligence was first received of the invasion of Pennsylvania.  A strong desire was at once manifested by the members of the Keystone Brigade, to be led to the support of the Union army, who expressed a willingness to remain beyond the period for which they were to serve.  This wish was gratified, and the brigade was sent to Harper’s Ferry, where it occupied Maryland Heights.  The battle at Gettysburg had, in the meantime, been fought, and as the army under Meade approached the Potomac in pursuit of Lee, the regiment joined it at Boonesboro.  After the enemy had escaped into Virginia, the regiment was ordered for duty to Middletown, Maryland, and a few days later to Harrisburg, where, on the 25th of July, it was mustered out of service.” (5)
    Although he never saw battle, Dell seems to have been proud of his service in the war.  In a photograph taken at least 30 years later, a long-bearded Dell can be seen wearing his soldier’s cap.
    After the war, Dell settled down to farming again.  Dell was farming and raising livestock in Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., in 1876. (6)  In the late 1870s, the family moved to Caroline County, Md., where Dell farmed.  Before 1890, the family moved back to Franklin Township.
    Dell’s health began to fail in the 1880s.  On Sept. 16, 1890, he filed for an invalid pension, which was available because he had served in the Civil War.  His application said “that he is wholly unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of bronchitis, disease of the kidney, lumbago with sciatica.” A medical examination on Feb. 14, 1892 found he suffered from muscular rheumatism of the back and left hip and disease of the respiratory organs.  It says he had “been coughing for 3 years” and “he walks a little lame and has a cane.”  The doctor said the rheumatism “will always unfit him for hard work and in bad weather at times lay him up.”
    The pension file also provides some physical description of Dell.  He was 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches tall and weighed 157 pounds.  He had blue eyes a light complexion and light hair (although he was old by this time and the notation may simply indicate it was gray).
    Emeline appears to have died before Feb. 16, 1915 because she is not named in Dell’s will, which was drawn up on that date.  Possibly, she died just before then and Dell redid his will, leaving the bulk of his estate to John, Olive and Olive’s son, Hosea. (7)
    Dell died March 4, 1916 when his buggy was hit by a car. (8)
    (1) Dell’s date and place of birth come from his Civil War pension file – Invalid Pension 948910 and Revised Certificate Number 798.263.  Dell is named as Christopher’s son in his will in Lawrence County, Pa., Testamentary File L, No. 21.  (2) Names and dates come from Dell’s pension file.  (3) Marriage information and maiden name come from Dell’s pension file.  Margaret’s parents are listed in the 1850 Census for Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa.  Her birth date and place comes from the 1900 Census, Beaver County, Pa.  (4) Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., 1890 Census.  Bates’ “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers” mistakenly lists him under Company F.  He is listed in Bates and in the National Archives as “Dell W. Lesmith,” but his pension is filed under the correct spelling.  (5) “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861 to 1865, Vol. IV,” pages 1134 and 1144.  (6) “Caldwell’s Illustrated Combination Centennial Atlas of Beaver County, Pa.”  (7) Beaver County Will Book T, page 163.  Hosea was the son of Olive and George Bowers, who was Permilla’s husband.  Olive and Hosey lived with Dell.   Dell’s will provides links to two subsequent generations of our family: his daughter, Permilla, and grandson, Charles Bowers.  (8) Date of death comes from Beaver County Register’s Docket 11, page 449.  Dell’s pension file says he died March 5,1916.  Velma Holfelder in 1990 said his buggy was hit by a car.