I’m still obsessed with John M. Smith (1760-ish – 1835) and trying to make a connection between him and a Smith family from the first permanent settlement in Kentucky – Fort Harrod.  John has been a brick wall for a long time, and some of the information I’ve discovered in the last year has given more clues – and more questions.

For years, I thought John had 4 children based on deeds when the siblings sold their portion of John’s land to each other, but researching the Russell County Court Records revealed 2 children that I didn’t know John had. Solomon and Benjamin Smith both passed away in 1840 and their older brothers, George and Elias, were the administrators of their estates.  I have the Court record, administrator and executor’s bonds, but nothing further.  One year later, a brother-in-law, Henry Payne, grants power of attorney to one of his relatives to make sure that his children get their rightful share of each estate.  Only one of these sons – Benjamin – ever showed up in a tax list. He was listed directly after his older brother, owned no property or horse, so to me, it appears that he is a young man living with his brother after the death of his father.  I estimated Solomon and Benjamin’s dates of birth guessing that they were about 20-21 years old at the time of death.  If they had been older, they should have shown up in the lists earlier. So now my group sheet shows 6 children.

Another unknown person showed up in the Court Records in 1833.  John M. Smith was the administrator for the estate of John B. Smith.  John B. never appears in a tax list or deed, and I can find no administrator or executor’s bond for this estate.  I had been hoping that I might find a John B. Smith in Mercer County and that probate records there might make the connection to John M, but I have not been able to find any records at all for a John B. Smith. Today, I was looking at John M’s group sheet and I noticed a 5 year gap between the 2nd and 3rd child and another gap between the 4th and 5th child. Could it be that John B. was also a child who wasn’t quite old enough to be listed on the assessment list?  If I insert a hypothetical John B. into the 2nd gap, I have the following children:

1) Sarah Smith – b. @1804 m. Henry Payne in 1828 d. bef. 1847
2) George A. Smith – b. 1805 m. Talitha Ellis @1834 d. 1890
3) Elias Smith – b. 1810 m. Elizabeth Meadows in 1834 d. 1853
4) Jane Smith – b. @1812 m. Thomas Simpson in 1838 d. 1880
5) John B. Smith – b. @1813?       d. 1833
6) Benjamin Smith – b. @1819?   d. 1840
7) Solomon Smith –  b. @1820?  d. 1840

I find an interesting (and highly speculative!) naming pattern.

Based on information from Genealogy.com, one common naming pattern was:

  • The first son was named after the father’s father
  • The second son was named after the mother’s father
  • The third son was named after the father
  • The fourth son was named after the father’s eldest brother

Based on this theory – George Smith (who received a land warrant on Harrod’s Run adjacent to James Harrod’s land in 1780) could be John M. father.  At this time, I only have 1 person in George Smith’s group sheet – a daughter who was married in 1787 – so this is certainly possible.

I don’t have the name of John M’s wife, but in theory, her father’s name would have been Elias. (Both of John M’s oldest sons also had sons named Elias AND George, so I think these are important names in the family.)

The 3rd son, the hypothetical John B, would be named after his father, John M.

Without knowing more on George Smith of Harrodsburg’s children, I cannot confirm that Benjamin or Solomon could be named after brothers.  However, Adam Smith, who died in the Mercer County in 1793, had 2 sons named Benjamin and Solomon.

So my new focus will be on finding all I can on George Smith.  At northamericanforts.com, the listing for Smith’s Station in Mercer County says it was built in 1784 by “George, Adam or Zachariah Smith”.  Does this imply they were related?  They don’t list a source, so I don’t know, but it would make sense. George got his land warrant in 1780 and Adam and Zachariah got theirs in 1781.  Of course, I can find all kinds of information on Adam and Zachariah, but next to nothing on George.  Based on various message boards, Adam and Zachariah’s father was John Michael Smith.  Could my John M. be named after John Michael?The search continues!

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