The Reed Family (Blacksmithing in Darnestown c. 1870)
Philip Reed (1845-1918), father of Lewis Reed, was an early settler in Darnestown, Maryland. He was a Blacksmith. Blacksmiths were once important members of the Darnestown community. They provided a vital trade that continued up to the mid-20th century. Born in Darnestown, Maryland on March 17, 1845, he was raised in a family that survived on knowledge and hard work. In 1870, at age 25, his occupation is listed as a Cabinet Maker and Blacksmith. Darnestown residents of that time included a doctor, a merchant, a blacksmith and a wheelwright. It seems Philip Reed may not have considered his primary occupation as a Wheelwright, but I do know that he had a Blacksmith shop on his land and he worked with both cabinet maker and blacksmith skills.
A blacksmith is a metal worker who creates objects from iron or steel by heating the metal and using tools to hammer, bend, and cut it. Civil war armies used blacksmiths to shoe horses and repair things such as wagons, horse tack, and artillery equipment.
A wheelwright is someone who makes and repairs wheels. Early wagon and cart wheels were made of solid wood, but increasingly had iron parts, such as hubs and rims. It would not be unusual for one man to be both a blacksmith and a wheelwright, for wheelwrights were sometimes described as a cross between a carpenter and a blacksmith.