Christmas is not a just day. Instead, it is a 12 day celebration that begins (in some traditions) on December 25th and continues for 12 days (until January 6th). As a reminder, we have the 12 Days of Christmas carol.
For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I will be posting one event / person from my genealogical research that relates (sometimes in a rather convoluted way) to the particular gift of that day in The 12 Days of Christmas. If you wish to peruse the entire schedule, check previous posts for Days 1-6 and Days 7 – 12.
January 4 – Ten Lord A-Leaping (Day 10)
It has been suggest that the Nine Ladies Dancing were all invited guests to the festival. The Ten Lords A-Leaping were more likely professional dancers (see “Morris Dance”). Who among your ancestors had an interesting, but unusual profession?
Richard A. Smith, my 2g-grandfather, had a most interesting resume. The following information comes from two published sources: History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County Ohio by Rev. A.W. Drury (S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909) and Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County Ohio, edited by Frank Conover (W. W. Bowen & Co., 1897).
John A. Smith was born in Lancaster County Pennsylvania in 1828. At age seven, his parents hired him our to a preacher for 75 cents a month. At age fourteen, he moved to Seneca County Ohio and began working for his uncle, eventually being employed by the Mad River Railroad to help build the first railroad from Sandusky Ohio to Springfield Ohio. At age nineteen he began a three year carpentry apprenticeship. At then end of his time as an apprentice, John was a horse-trader for a little over a year. In 1851, at age 23, John A. Smith moved to Marshall Illinois as a journeyman carpenter to work on the construction of a Presbyterian college. While there, he met and married the daughter of a plasterer (and ordained minister). In 1852, John and Amelia Smith moved to Dayton Ohio. John plied his trade as a carpenter by building houses and then moving houses. John served as a Union Soldier in the Civil War. He was injured, breaking an arm. He was transferred to the Dispensary in Nashville where, because of his acquired medical knowledge, he served until his discharge. After the war, he returned home to Dayton and continued in his profession as a house mover. It appears that he moved houses all over the Southwestern area of Ohio. As a trustee in the Brethren Church, John became the Superintendent of the Greencastle cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Montgomery County Ohio. John A. Smith died in 1910 at 82 years of age.
John was primarily a carpenter, building and moving houses. He also worked as a servant, railroad construction hand, horse trader, medic, and cemetery superintendent.