Joseph Reed Smart (1799 - 1845)



Joseph Reed Smart was born May 14, 1799 at Eddyville, Kentucky, the third of seven children born to James and Nancy Smart. His parents moved to the area from Rutherford Co., North Carolina.

Joseph may have gone to school in the area (Princeton?).-Source??

It is possible that he was named Joseph Reed after his mother Nancy's grandfather, Joseph Reed. Joseph's birth record has not been found. Public records were not kept there during that time. The family probably "bounced" around western Kentucky before settling in Eddyville, named after the eddies in the nearby Cumberland River. The area was opened around 1798. Livingston County has changed names several times. It's now Lyon County.

Joseph grew up in a paradise--this lush river country of western Kentucky. He probably had farm chores so it wasn't all fishing, camping and hunting. But how could a healthy boy not have explored the area with its large rivers all around? The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers is only fifty or sixty miles west. The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers run parallel to each other for about fifty miles north-northwest through the region-until emptying into the Ohio several miles northwest of Eddyville. Nearby ports on the Ohio and Mississippi were busy with armies and supplies going up and down the rivers in support of maneuvers and battles to determine the outcome of the War of 1812 as well as Indian skirmishes. Joseph had a front seat to the introduction of steam boats--technology destined to vastly change the role of the river system.--Randy

Move to Edgar County, Illinois by Randy


Joseph was an early settler in Dry Grove (or Wabash Point), Illinois. It's unclear exactly when he moved--likely just prior to his married there in 1827.

The distance is about 160 miles each way--as the crow flies, However, this was in the early 1800s. A man would have to wind his way over mountains and up river valleys carrying what few possessions were worth taking along. There were no steam-driven boats in the 1820s so it is likely Joseph used whatever power he could.

His journey would have taken a couple of weeks. Dry Grove is located in Coles (now Edgar) county which was established to the southwest by setting off land from Clark County in 1830. Edgar County is about two hundred miles directly south of Chicago in the eastern central part of Illinois--west of Terre Haute, Indiana and the Wabash River. He'd explored the area as a young kid and knew the way.

It appears he went alone to homestead--to pick out a nice piece of property of his very own with rich virgin soil. When he arrived, he met a family of settlers near Catfish Creek, the Darnalls, also just arriving from Kentucky. He settled on land adjoining the Darnall land, where they would all live for many years. He wasted little time marring one of the neighboring Darnall girls.

Joseph's Homestead:

Patent IL0360__.287 : December 8,1830 80 acres 2nd PM 014N - 013W W½NE¼ Sect. 19
Patent IL0390__.303 : August 8,1832 66.42 acres 2nd PM 014N - 013W E½SW¼ Sect. 18
Family Land Holdings Documentation : Detailed records provided by Joyce Brown, still living on some of the property.

Marriage - Darnall



Official Recording of the Marriage

On August 9, 1827, at the age of 28, Joseph married Mary Ann Stewart Darnall in Edgar (then named Coles) county, Illinois.

Mary was 21, being born March 20, 1806 in Paris, Kentucky.

Paris is about 250 miles east of Eddyville, was then in Clark county but is now in Bourbon county in eastern Kentucky, just north of Lexington.

Mary came from an aristocratic southern family: back to England on her father's side and Virginia on her mother's. She was close to her Stewart family. Two children married Stewarts from Ohio. The Darnalls had family members fighting for the Confederacy. Mary feared having her sons fighting their own cousins on the battle line. -Source??

Father Mother

Sarah : A Close Sister


In 1873, Mary's younger sister Sarah White (Martin) Smith died. At the age of 49, she left behind many children from her two marriages.

The next year, at a family gathering, Mary Ann Smart composed a poem about her sister. Mary's family remained close their whole lives.

Most of them lived near their parents, Thomas and Rachel (Daughetee) Darnall, who maintained a home near Redmon--about two miles south and east of Brocton, Embarass Township in then-named Coles county, Illinois. --Source Unknown

Sarah White (Martin) Smith

Family Land Holdings Documentation

Children - Joseph and Mary

All but Moses are named, in this order, in their father's will.
Age *
Birth Death Last
October 25, 1828
December 8, 1893
Dayton Corners, WI

m. Mary Stewart in Dayton Corners, Richland county, Wisconsin before 1853 (Eliza Ann, Mary, James, Lucinda, Emma Jane, Joan, Lucy, Charles, Clara Mae, Carrie, & George Burton Sr.)

March 14, 1830
Edgar co., IL
1850 Census
November 4, 1913
m. Josiah Stewart 1859 in Canova, Miner co, South Dakota (Martha Ann, James A. & Moses Stewart)
May 30, 1832
Edgar co., IL
1850 Census
November 15, 1907

m. George Croninger in Forest, Richland Co., Wisconsin around 1856 (Mary, Jeremiah, Benjamin Franklin, James J., Alfred Warren, Agnes Jane, William R., George W. & Daniel)

  James Moses
His Page
His Page
July 12, 1837
Edgar co., IL
d. 1850+ Illinois [ 1850 Census shows Susannah Darnall, Age 14]
  Jane (Aquilla?)
December 26, 1839
Clark co., IL
d. ~ 1 year after Susanah Illinois [ 1850 Census shows Aqilla? Age 12, Sex ? b. Clark co., IL]
  Moses Jackson
August 4, 1843
Edgar co., IL
December 14, 1925

[1850 Census = 10 years old] m. Adaline Rosella Faucett (David Jackson, Milford Agustus, Laura Belle, Myrtle Pearl, Ila Rebecca, Ethel Cloe, Rosella Florence, Iva Maude, Olive Fern, Emily Roberta, Elva Elizabeth)

  [Illinois birth and death records only go back to 1877] * = Age of child in 1845, when father died
Moses may have lied about his age to join the Union Army at seventeen--there are several discrepancies in his age. He was quickly mustered out, receiving a $50/Year life pension from the US Army. Moses later moved to Illinois and Kansas before joining his children in Washington. [Wayne Mullins has a copy of his discharge papers] [Phyllis Griffith said Mary bought him back out of the Army. Why would he get a pension? Was he hurt? Needs further investigation starting with a look at Wayne's papers]

The Times - Religion & Politics by Randy

As civil war loomed. Politics and religion became more common than other farm topics. The fervor was building to an all-time high, delineated by the Lincoln-Douglass debates. Americans wrestled with their consciences, trying to answer the important questions revolving around slavery.

During the period leading to the Civil War, this area was influenced by what the settlers called "the Mormon Excitement." People would become predominately Methodist and Presbyterian by the 1860s due to high-profile extremely emotional revivals and other church activity. But in the early days, many were Baptists. Joseph Smart, the Darnalls and the Clapps were all devout Baptist then.

See The Mormon Excitement (a sidebar on the Darnall family page)

Just over the horizon was Vandalia, the capitol of Illinois. One Smart was a member of the 9th General Assembly of the State House of Representatives in 1834. Abraham Lincoln, who came to Illinois from Kentucky about 1830, lived in Springfield but spent much time in Vandalia until he got the capital moved to Springfield. His father, Thomas Lincoln, died in Coles County in 1851.

Joseph Smart Will

On February 16, 1842, Joseph filed his will with an Edgar (Coles) county Judge. In it, he left Mary two parcels of land along with all his belongings. He named Moses Wallace Darnall and A. T. Martin as executor of his children's estates (2/3) should Mary Ann remarry. The witnesses to his will were James Martin and Elizabeth Reed Martin--Mary's younger sister.

Transcribed version (PDF)
Small (low-resolution PDF)
Large (hi-resolution PDF)

Joseph Passes

Joseph died of dysentery in 1845 at the age of 46. He was buried in the old Goshen Cemetery in Edgar county, Illinois.

According to Joyce Brown, Joseph's grave site is lost. The cemetery names have been changed and confused over the years and floods have blurred traces of poorly-marked graves.

Records not found (Illinois only go back to 1877)

Life After Joseph

Mary was about 39 years old and had seven children to care for. William, the oldest, was not quite seventeen and Moses Jackson, a baby. A short while after loosing her husband, Mary lost her two younger daughters. Susanah died first--probably of Influenza. Jane died about a year later--probably of Cholera. Mary Ann Stewart (Darnall) Smart never married again. She lived the greater part of her life--47 more years--after Joseph passed on. -Randy

The 1850 Census enumerator found Mary, 46 b. KY head of house with $1560 in real estate) in Grandview/Embarrass, Edgar county, Illinois. She has the following children:

On November 15, 1864 Mary sold ~140 acres in Edgar county, Illinois to her youngest son, Moses J. Smart (then in his early 20s) living in Richland county, WI. The records show the family had an attorney working recently on un-encumbering her estate. Edgar county deed book 28 pages 302-306

While visiting Lime Springs, Iowa (close to Fillmore county, Minnesota) in 1879 at the age of 73 she signed her granddaughter Martha Ann Stewart's autograph book thusly:

Mary Ann Stewart Darnall was my name. I was born in Clark Co., Kentucky March 20th, 1806. Married Joseph R. Smart, August 9th, 1827. Mary Ann S Smart my name is now my age was seventy three March 20th, 1879.

My eyes are now closing to rest
My body must soon be removed
And moldering by buried in dust
No more to be...

Written June 1879.

She didn't know how to write when younger, scribing her "X" on official documents. However, she learned at some point in her life. She remained close to her children and their families. At some point, she went to Texas where she spent her later years with her son James and his family.--Randy

Mary Passes


Mary Ann Stuart Darnall Smart died near Pilot Point, Denton county, Texas on September 18, 1892 at the age of 88 at or near her son, Jame's, home.

She was buried at Ballew Cemetery in Aubrey, Texas, next to her son James Moses Smart and grandson, Moses.