Starting at the end

John M. Smith passed away in early September, 1835, in Russell County, Kentucky. John, a Justice of the Peace[1], was listed as “present” at the 1835 July 12th Russell County Court Session[2], but at a court session held on Sept 14, sons George A and Elias Smith asked for an appraisal of John’s estate.[3] Both George A and Elias are named in the Administrator Bond[4], also dated on Sept 14. Andrew Meadows and John Cook Jr were the securities. (Click the link for Andrew Meadows to see the timeline I have on Google Drive.)

It is often helpful to understand the relationships of the men providing securities for any document, if possible.

  • Andrew Meadows was Elias’ father-in-law.[5] Elias married Elizabeth Meadows in Russell County on 23 Jan 1834.[6]
  • George A Smith was married to Talitha Ellis.[7] John Cook Jr was married to Talitha’s sister, Elizabeth[8], making George and John brothers-in-law. One additional Ellis daughter, Nancy, married a Cook son, Edward. All of the Cook boys were sons of John Cook and Mary Green[9]. This is a family I have never taken the time to research, but I probably should at least begin a timeline.

John M’s estate inventory was taken on 1 Oct 1835 by Charles Stacy, William Ellis, Simon Stacy, and Peter Ellis.[10]

  • Peter Ellis was George A’s father-in-law[11] and William was Peter’s son.
  • I have not determined the relationship between the Smiths and the Stacy family, but their names appear often within the family documents and it may simply be that they were close neighbors.

The children of John M. Smith

This is a screen shot of my group sheet. (1/8/21) The reference numbers are not reflected in the endnotes for this case study.

John had at least 6 children: Sarah, George A, Elias, Jane, Benjamin, and Solomon. Looking at the Family Group Sheet, there could easily be at least 1 other child born between George and Elias. In fact, there could be several other children with the age spread of the children, but deed records after the death of John M. prove that there were no additional living children.

  1. Sarah “Sally” Smith
    • Possibly born between 1800-1804.
    • She married Henry Hardin Payne (1794 – 1873) in Russell County, Kentucky on 3 Feb 1828.[12] [13]
    • In 1830, Henry Payne can be found in the federal census in Wayne County[14], which is the county just to the south of Russell County.
    • Sarah’s youngest daughter, Nancy, was born in July 1834[15] in Kentucky.[16]
    • Henry remarried to Sally Vandever, on 21 Feb 1839 in Casey County, Kentucky.[17] Based on this, Sarah died between July 1834 and early 1939. Henry and his family can be found in the 1840 federal census in Daviess County.[18]
    • On 7 Aug 1840, Henry Payne, of Daviess County, Missouri, appointed his brother, Asa, to be his “true and lawful attorney”.[19] He wanted to make sure that his children – Elizabeth, Reuben, Rachel, and Nancy – received their portions from the estates of two of his brothers-in-law – Solomon and Benjamin Smith.
  2. George A. Smith
    • Born 24 June 1805.[20]
    • George A. can be found in the Russell County tax lists beginning in 1831.
    • George married Talitha Ellis, probably around 1834 based on the date of birth of their oldest child.
    • I have found no record of a will in the Russell County Will records of 1879-1955 or Administrator Bonds (1727 – 1990) on FamilySearch.
    • George and Talitha are not listed in the book, Russell County Cemeteries, compiled by the Russell County Historical Society, but they are listed on page 134 of Russell County, Kentucky, cemetery records by Irma Shepherd.
    • According to Findagrave, Talitha died on 24 Apr 1875[21] at the age of 58 and George died on 22 Apr 1890.[22] I believe they were originally buried in southern Russell County, but that cemetery, along with many others, was moved when the Cumberland River was dammed to create Lake Cumberland. They are now buried in Jamestown Cemetery in Russell County.
George A. and Talitha Ellis Smith stones – Jamestown Cemetery
  1. Elias Smith
    • Born 9 Feb 1810.[23] The biography of his grandson, Oscar Smith, indicates that he was born in Danville, Kentucky.
    • Elias married Elizabeth Meadows on 23 Jan 1834 in Russell County.[24]
    • Eventually, Elias purchased all of the land that John M. Smith had owned in Russell County from his siblings.
    • According to Findagrave, Elias died on 21 July 1853 in Russell County[25]. His brother-in-law, James H. Meadows, became the guardian for his children. Elias was originally buried in the Smith Cemetery[26] but Elias’s stone is also now located in Jamestown Cemetery.
    • Elizabeth lived another 40 years and died on 16 Mar 1893.[27]
    • A note from the old Rootsweb KYRUSSEL message board dated 18 Feb 2005 states,
      “I wish that I could make the connection of William and Elias. I do know that Elias Smith and Elizabeth Meadows Smith were both buried down in the “Lulu” area of Russell County prior to Lake Cumberland being built. Before the dam was built and the area was flooded, the family cemetery was moved and they are now buried in the Jamestown City Cemetery. As far as Elias being affluent, and owning a lot of land, his father-in-law, Andrew Carson Meadows was at one time one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest man in Russell County, according to the Census records. I just can’t seem to find out where Elias came from.”
      Lulu (Lula) was located right along the Russell/Wayne County boundary where John M. Smith’s land was located.
  1. Mary Jane Smith
    • Born 14 March 1813.[28]
    • She married Thomas Simpson in Russell County on 8 Nov 1838.[29]
    • Thomas and Jane can be found in the 1850 Federal Census[30] in Russell County and the 1860[31] and 1870[32] Federal census in Wayne County.
    • Mary J. Simpson is listed in the 1880 Mortality Schedule from Wayne County.[33] She died in May 1879 from a “Discesed Liver”.
    • There is a Findagrave listing for Mary Ann “Polly” Simpson[34] in the Simpson Cemetery of Wayne County, Kentucky, but the memorial has her maiden name listed as Copenhaver. Thomas Simpson’s memorial states that he married Sarah Ray in 1842 and Mary Ann Copenhaver in 1845. Clearly, there are some discrepancies here, but the book, “Cemeteries of Wayne County, Kentucky” lists her stone as Mary J. Simpson, not Mary Ann.[35]
    • My next post will discuss this discrepancy.
  2. Benjamin Smith
    • Benjamin first appears in the Russell County tax list in 1836[36] directly after George A. Smith. If Benjamin had recently turned 21, his date of birth would have been around 1815.
    • In 1838, Mary Jane Smith and Benjamin Smith sold their shares of their father’s land to their brother, Elias.[37]
    • His final tax records was found in the 1840 list between Elias and George A.[38]
    • During the October term of the Russell County Court[39], Elias Smith was the administrator for the estate of Benjamin Smith and executed a bond in the amount of $1100.[40] Seeing the difference in Benjamin’s bond amount versus his brother, Solomon, I wonder if he had some property that I haven’t found.
  3. Solomon Smith
    • Solomon is not listed an any of the Russell County tax lists for the appropriate time period. If he died in 1840 before turning 21, he would have been born around 1820.
    • During the September term of the Russell County Court[41], “George A Smith the administrator of the estate of Solomon Smith dec’d” executed bond in the amount of $220.[42]
    • In 1842, Thomas Simpson and Mary Jane “late Mary Jane Smith, legal heirs & representatives of Solomon Smith, dec’d” sold their undivided ¼ interest from Solomon’s estate to George A. Smith.[43]
    • [44]I have not found any tax records for a Solomon Smith in Wayne or Russell County. That combined with the low amount on the administrator bond makes me think he was quite young when he died.

George A. and Elias were the estate administrators for their father.[45] In 1838, Mary Jane Smith and Benjamin Smith “two of the children and heirs of John M Smith deceased”, sold their shares of John’s land to their brother, Elias[46]. Sarah (Smith) Payne passed away before 1841 and her children were listed as heirs of John M. Smith in all future deeds between family members. In August of 1847, all of the surviving siblings sold their shares of Solomon’s estate to Elias.[47]

There may have been an additional son, John B. Smith. In the February 1833 Court Session for Russell County, John M Smith was appointed the administrator for the estate of John B. Smith.[48] [49] An executor bond was also created, but each word was struck out.[50] I’ve been told that an executor’s bond was issued if the deceased had a will and an administrator’s bond if there was no will. I have not been able to connect this bond to a specific John Smith. I have never found any other provable document for a John B. Smith.

The only confirmed census record for John M. Smith is the 1830 census taken in Russell County.[51] In that census we see:
• 1 male 10-14: Solomon?
• 4 males 20-29: Benjamin?, Elias (age 20), George A. (age 25) and John B?
• 1 male 50-59: John M.
• 1 female 15-19: Mary Jane (age 17)
• 1 female 20-29: ?
• 1 female 50-59: Mrs. John M. Smith – unknown

Because I see 2 unknown people in the census, one male and one female both in the 20-29 age group, I wonder if this could be an unknown married son or daughter with their spouse? I also notice that there seems to be an entry for John M’s wife, but that has not been confirmed.

John M’s daughter, Sarah is listed with her husband, Henry Payne in Wayne County, Kentucky[52]:
• 1 male 20-29: Henry Hardin Payne
• 2 females under 5: Elizabeth (age 2) and unknown daughter
• 1 female 20-29: Sarah (Smith) Payne
• 1 female 60-69: Perhaps Henry’s mother – Rachel Wilson Payne, but Henry’s father, Philemon Payne, lived until 1833 so that seems unlikely.


[1] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders Book 2, p145, FamilySearch film #008193577, image 100.

[2] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders Book 2, p369, FamilySearch film #008193577, image 213.

[3] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders Book 2, p374, FamilySearch film #8193577, image 215.

[4] Russell County, Kentucky, Administrators Bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820016, image 24.

[5] Pierce, Sarah Frances Jarvis, b. 1892. 1962. Meadows family : descendants of James and Jane Meadows. P23 of Downloadable version found on FamilySearch – https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/82838-meadows-family-descendants-of-james-and-jane-meadows?viewer=1&offset=0#page=23&viewer=picture&o=info&n=0&q=

[6] Russell County, Kentucky, Marriage Register v1, page 12, FamilySearch film #5686089, image 27.

[7] No marriage record found, but Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book G, 25 indicates that Talitha was the wife of George A Smith and that she was daughter of Peter Ellis, dec’d, FamilySearch film #8193570, image 345.

[8] Ancestry, Kentucky, Compiled Marriages, 1802-1850 (Wayne County, Kentucky). Married 31 Oct 1821.

[9] “Edmund Cook Letter 1 and 2” images shared on Ancestry on 21 Dec 2013 by srf58. The document indicates, “This is a letter taken from The Wayne County Outlook in Monticello, Kentucky. Letter dated 14 Oct 1897. (Accessed 10 Jan 2021)

[10] Russell County, Kentucky, Will Book 1 p171-173, FamilySearch film #4820020, image 106-107.

[11] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book G, p25-26, FamilySearch film #008193570, images 345, 346.

[12] Roy, Emogene McFarland. 1988. Russell County, Kentucky, bonds, marriages, and consent notes, 1826-1854. [Russell Springs, Ky.] (Rt. 4, Box 80, Russell Springs 42642): E.M. Roy. Page 42.

[13] Sanders, Carol L. 1988. Newly discovered Russell Co., Kentucky marriage records, 1826-1869. [Blue Ash, Ohio] (9679 Waxwing Dr., Blue Ash 45241): C.L. Sanders. Page 20.

[14] US Federal Census for 1830, Wayne County, Kentucky, p44, Ancestry: Kentucky > Wayne > Not Stated > image 87.

[15] Findagrave memorial #20300543 – Nancy S. Payne Foley, July 1834 – Dec 1908.

[16] Daviess County, Missouri, District 27, 1850 Federal census, p26, Henry H. Payne.

[17] Casey County, Kentucky, Marriages, v1, page 45, FamilySearch film #4263468, image 30.

[18]US Federal Census for 1840 Gallatin, Daviess County, Missouri, p4, Ancestry: Missouri > Daviess > Gallatin > image 17.

[19] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book D, p170-171, FamilySearch film #7895641, image 103.

[20] Findagrave – George Augustus Smith – ID 57321862, Jamestown Cemetery.

[21] Findagrave – Tallitha Ellis Smith – ID 57321858, Jamestown Cemetery.

[22] Findagrave – George Augustus Smith – ID 57321862, Jamestown Cemetery.

[23] Findagrave – Elias Smith –  ID 82119958, Jamestown Cemetery.

[24] Russell County, Kentucky, Marriage Book 1, p12, FamilySearch film #5686089, image 27.

[25] Findagrave – Elias Smith – ID 82119958, Jamestown Cemetery.

[26] Graves of the Lake Cumberland Basin by Asher L. Young, 1974, p17. Available on FamilySearch (accessed 8 Jan 2021) https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/612000-graves-of-the-lake-cumberland-basin?viewer=1&offset=0#page=1&viewer=picture&o=info&n=0&q=

[27] Findagrave – Elizabeth Meadows Smith – ID 82120123, Jamestown Cemetery.

[28] Coffey, Bennie, and Juanita Coffey. 1982. Cemeteries of Wayne County, Kentucky. [Place of publication not identified]: B. & J. Coffey. p831

[29] Russell County, Kentucky, Marriage Book 1, p15, FamilySearch film #5686089, image 28.

[30] Ancestry, 1850 US Federal Census, Kentucky > Russell > District 2 > image 21.

[31] Ancestry, 1860 US Federal Census, Kentucky > Wayne > Not Stated > image 186.

[32] Ancestry, 1870 US Federal Census, Kentucky > Wayne > Mullen > image 14.

[33] Wayne County, Kentucky, 1880 Federal Census Mortality Schedule, Ancestry, image 4.

[34]Findagrave – Mary Ann “Polly” Copenhaver Simpson – ID 67815762, Simpson Cemetery.

[35] Coffey, Bennie, and Juanita Coffey. 1982. Cemeteries of Wayne County, Kentucky. [Place of publication not identified]: B. & J. Coffey. p831

[36] Russell County, Kentucky, 1836 Tax List, p33, FamilySearch film #007834502, image 300.

[37] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book C, p267, FamilySearch film #007896967, image 586.

[38] Russell County, Kentucky, 1840 Tax List, p13, FamilySearch film #007834502, image 449.

[39] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders, v3, p25, FamilySearch film #008193577, image 313.

[40] Russell County, Kentucky, Administrator bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820016, image 45.

[41] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders, v3, p17-18, FamilySearch film #008193577, image 309.

[42] Russell County, Kentucky, Administrator bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820016, image 43.

[43] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book D, p200, FamilySearch film #007895641, image 118.

[44]

[45] Russell County, Kentucky, Administrator bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820016, image 20.

[46] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book C, p367, FamilySearch film #7896967, image 586. Note: the page numbers where written incorrectly and then corrected directly above the original page number.

[47] Russell County, Kentucky, Deed Book E, p206-209, FamilySearch film #7895641, image 418-419.

[48] Russell County, Kentucky, Court Orders v2, p270, FamilySearch film #8193577, image 163.

[49] Russell County, Kentucky, Administrator bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820016, image 9.

[50] Russell County, Kentucky, Executor bonds, v1 no page number, FamilySearch film #4820019, image 8.

[51] Ancestry, 1830 US Federal Census, Kentucky > Russell > Not Stated > Image 35.

[52] Ancestry, 1830 US Federal Census, Kentucky > Wayne > Not Stated > image 87.