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The name Lippincott is, one of the oldest of local origin in England, and was derived from Lovecote, which is described in the Domesday Book or cencus, made by order of William the Conqueror, in 1086, of lands held by Edward the Confessor in 1041—66. This Saxon name implies that a proprietor named Love held the house, cote, and lands, hence called Lovecote, which name was probably already ancient. Surnames were not settled until about this date, and hence Lovecote, Loughwyngcote, Lyvenscott, Luffingcott, Luppingcott, through which variations it has descended to become fixed in Lippincott during the last two centuries, and is undoubtedly of great antiquity. The family were granted eight coats of arms by the College of Heralds. One of them, belonging to the Wibbrey branch, and in the possession of Philip Luppingcott, Esq., of North Devonshire, England, in 1620, when visited by the Heralds, and was at that time already ancient, is thus described: "Per fesse, embattled gules and sable, three leopards, passant argent. Crest, out of a mural crown, gules, five ostrich feathers, alternately argent and azure. The motto, ‘Secundis dubiisque rectus,’ which may be thus translated, Upright in prosperity and adversity, or firm in every fortune."
The family in America are descended from Richard and Abigail, who removed from Devonshire, England, in 1639, and settled in Boston, New England. Having been excommunicated from the "church" at Boston for nonconformity in 1651 he returned with his family to England, and resided at Plymouth, and early thereafter became a member of the Society of Friends, then emerging from the various sects around them, and in consequence endured much persecution for the testimony of a good conscience. In 1663 he returned to New England, and lived for several years in Rhode Island, and finally in 1669 established himself and family at Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., N.J., where he died in 1683. His widow, Abigail, died in 1697, leaving a considerable estate. Richard Lippincott was the largest proprietor among the patentees of the new colony.
From their eldest son, Remembrance by name, descended Samuel, who in 1789 removed from New Jersey to Westmoreland County, Pa. One of his sons, James, was the father of twelve children, viz.: William, John, Jesse, Joseph, Samuel, Henry, Katherine (Mrs. Ulam), Sarah (Mrs. Cyrus P. Markle), Rachel (Mrs. Toliver), Harriet (Mrs. Hemingray and Mrs. Oliver Blackburn), Nancy (Mrs. William McCracken), Mary (Mrs. Clark). The maiden name of the mother of this numerous family was Zeigler. She came from the State of Delaware. Joseph Lippincott was born near Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland Co., Pa., March 17, 1800; his whole life was passed in his native county and that of Allegheny. On the 20th of November, 1834, he was married to Eliza Strickler, who all through his life made him a loving, tender wife, and whose memory is dearly cherished by her children, relatives, and many of those to whom she ministered. In 1835 they went to Pittsburgh to live, where he, in connection with his brothers, William and Jesse, became proprietors of the Lippincott mills, now known as the Zug iron-mills. He remained in Pittsburgh until 1838, when he disposed of his interests and returned to Mount Pleasant, where for over twenty years he was a successful merchant. He had the confidence of the public to an almost unlimited extent, and as banks were scarce in those days he became a depository for moneys that at times reached a large amount.
About the year 1854 he engaged in the business of safe manufacturing in this city, the firm being Lippincott & Barr. The works were situated on Second Avenue, running through to First Avenue, on the site at present partly occupied by Messrs. C.P. Markle & Sons’ paper warehouse. In the year 1856 he also purchased an interest in the firm of Lippincott & Co., axe and shovel manufacturers. He retired from active business pursuits in 1859, residing in Mount Pleasant until 1865, when he removed to Pittsburgh.
In the year 1830 he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Eighty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, his commission bearing the signature of George Wolf, then Governor of the State. This is the only public position he ever held, his temperament being such that, while always taking an active interest in State affairs and wielding an undoubted influence, yet he did not court publicity.
The colonel, or Uncle Joe, as he was familiarly called, endeared himself to the people of Mount Pleasant and vicinity by his many acts of kindness. If there was a poor man in financial difficulties he was always sure of relief from him, and oftentimes it was voluntarily extended without being asked for. His generosity was unbounded, and to this day many of the older residents of that section recall instances of his unswerving friendship that do credit to his goodness of heart.
He together with his wife were members of the Baptist Church, and in his days of prosperity he was one of the largest contributors that there was in Western Pennsylvania to his church and her institutions.
Having almost reached his eightieth year he died in Allegheny City on the 28th of August, 1879; his wife died on the 27th of April of the same year.
In summing up his character the writer of this sketch, his son, wishes to put on record his admiration of those virtues in the character of his father that were worthy of emulation. He was a country gentleman of simple tastes, but he was a man among men.
His surviving children, who all reside in Pittsburgh, are Harriet E., Sarah A. (now Mrs. Henry H. Vance), Annie M., and Jesse H. Lippincott. Three children, Mary Jane, James, and William, died in their youth.