Joseph Smith born 11 January 1783

Joseph Smith was born 11 January 1783 in Ipwsich, MA, the fourth of six children of Simon and Mary (Shatswell) Smith.  The Ipswich town records indicate that Joseph Smith and Hannah Lord both of Ipswich entered third intention of marriage April 19, and were married 5 May, 1806. 

Joseph and Hannah had at least seven children, some of whom died as infants. By 1850, the household consisted of Joseph, wife Hannah, and youngest daughter Lucy.  Joseph was listed as a farmer, with real estate valued at $600. They lived adjacent to Joseph Jr in Ipswich.  The elder Joseph was counted in the 1855 state census, the 1860 federal census, and the 1865 census, the 1870 and 1880 census in Ipswich.  Joseph’s wife Hannah had died in 1855, and Joseph and daughter Lucy L Smith lived together.  They were usually found in the census records living adjacent to son John, or Joseph Jr. 

Joseph Smith lived to be over 98 years old, and had some notoriety in the community and with the local press because of his age and stories.  

Joseph Smith of Ipswich:   In 1805, he was a seaman, and sailed from Newburyport.  He was described as 22 years old, height 5 ’11”, light complexion, two small scars upon his left arm.  When Joseph and Hannah were married, he took down the Shatswell house and built his own (former residence of John Shatswell and wife Elizabeth Coye – his grandparents.)  Joseph and Hannah were married for 49 years at the time of her death.  At age 89, he planted and hoed his garden and mowed his grass.  When he was ninety, an ox-cart became entangled and some men were trying to free it; “let me put my shoulder to that old wheel,” said the old man.  He kept this spirit of activity to his latest day, though physically unable to be about; only a few days before he died two or three people were assisting at something in his room, and it was not accomplished very alertly.  He laughingly said, “I wish I could get out of bed; I would show you boys how to fly round.”  His son Joseph told a story that a boy had been killed at Plum Island by a bull.  The bull had to be killed because it was dangerous.  Other men were reluctant, but Joseph said, “It must be done” and picking up a broad ax, he struck a blow which brought the animal down.

Joseph Smith died May 16, 1881 at the age of 98 years 4 months.  Lucy L, his daughter, died Sept 4, 1890, at the age of 67 years.  Both were buried on the easterly side of the central path, and on the northerly side of the stone erected to the memory of Aaron Kimball.  They have no headstones.


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