THOMAS LIGHTHILL
(5th Great-Grandpa)


Thomas Andrew Lighthill was an Indian Fighter under General Harner. During the Indian Wars, Thomas received a sabre wound to his chest, with the weapon breaking off in his body. The intrepid fighter slew his adversary and not only recovered with the piece of steel in his body but attained the venerable age of 106. At his death, the point of the sabre was found incased in his sternum.
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[The preceeding was transcribed from the Closson Family Bible]

Thomas Lighthill, son of Johan George Lichtenberger, is believed to been born in the vicinity of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, before the formation of Allegheny County. Thomas first appears in record in Cranberry Township Butler County Pennsylvania, buying 100 acres of land there on the Beaver County / Butler County line from John Kane on August 9, 1807. In the census of 1820, Thomas was located in Beaver County New Sewickley Township.

Thomas can be found in the taxes of New Sewickley Township in both 1820 and 1821, taxed on 217 acres of land, two horses, and a cow. In 1827, only his son George is taxed in New Sewickley Township. By the 1830 census, Thomas was living in Cranberry Township Butler County with Barbary Crile. That census describes several of the older children there, as well as one son and one daughter under the age of five.

His first wife, Jemima, was still in New Sewickley Township, living with her son George and his family; she is enumerated there in the 1830 census as being between fifty and sixty years old. According to "family gossip",
Thomas left Jemima for a younger woman, but they never divorced, so the second wife was a common-law marriage (living together for a least 7 years constituted legal marriage). Barbary Crile Lighthill was about 32 years old in 1830, hardly what is believed to be a "younger" woman, but consider that Thomas was 64 at the time !

Cranberry Township Butler County borders New Sewiclkey Township Beaver County. This must have been a scandalous time, considering
Thomas had just moved a mile or so from his residence with Jemima to his residence with Barbary. Thomas and Barbary were together for 45 years, stayed in Cranberry Township close to 25 years, raised 7 sons and one daughter, before moving on to Decatur Iowa sometime in the mid 1850's.

Thomas and Barbary sold all their property in Cranberry Township on March 12, 1856 for $3100 dollars. The family (grown children as well) probably traveled down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and then up the Missouri River to Decatur County Iowa. They had arrived by 1857 since two of Thomas' grandchildren were born in Iowa that year.

Thomas and Barbary are enumerated in the 1860 and 1870 census in Decatur City Township. All of their sons, except one, fought in the Civil War in the Iowa Volunteers.

Thomas is buried at the OakHill Cemetery, out in the country on a dirt road about a mile and a half from where they had lived. Several of his and Barbary's sons, Joseph, Henry, and Peter, were buried there before him. Thomas outlived both John and George from his first marriage as well. The Leon County courthouse burned two years after his death, so all of Thomas' land records and well were destroyed. Barbary's land records from when she sold the property she had inherited near the cemetary where they probably lived still exist. Thomas' tombstone claims he was over 105 years old, born June 25, 1766, died October 3, 1871.

George Lighthill and his family, and possibly his mother Jemima, all moved to Putnam County in Ohio by 1836. John Lighthill was the only child from the first marriage to stay with his father.