John M. Smith cast study #13

While I’m going through the Court Records, I need to start a chart for Colonel John Smith. I have not paid a lot of attention to Colonel John Smith in my research because I think I ruled him out pretty early in my Mercer County research, but I remember feeling like there may have been more than 1 Colonel John Smith, although I’m not certain why I thought that. I know NOTHING about military research, so is it even possible to have more than one Colonel in the area militia? It’s time to start the chart.

The court order which gave Colonel John Smith guardianship[1] of John Little, orphan of James Little, made me wonder about the relationship between the 2 families. So I looked for the will of James Little. When looking at the online index for probate records, names of witnesses, executors, administrators, etc. are not listed. I would not have found Colonel John Smith in this record using the index. If not for the court record, I would not have found this important record giving information on Colonel John Smith’s family.

On November 25, 1794, the will of John Little was proven by James Graham, Andrew Shelody and Samuel Graham with John Smith being granted administration of the estate. The will[2] itself was written by John Little (not James Little) on July 7, 1794.

In the name of God Amen I John Little of the county of Mercer in state of Kentucky being in perfect health of body and in perfect mind and memory but calling to mind the mortality of my body and that it is ordered for all men once to die to constitute make and ordain this my will and testament in Manner and form following viz first of all I resign my body to the dust from whence it came to be buried decent Christian burial nothing doubting but that at the last day I shall receive the same again I also give and bequeath unto Miss Molly Smith daughter of Colonel John Smith there by 5 pounds and likewise on to Peggy Smith 25 pounds and likewise to Betsy Smith 20 pounds and undo Patsy Smith 15 pounds a none to Jenny Smith 10 pounds and on to Sally Smith 12 pounds and on to John Smith and his brother William sons of John Smith the plantation containing 125 acres to be equally divided between the two and all the rest of the property and money and to Samuel Daughtry my wages if I never return after paying my debts of such part thereof as my executors think best I do also constitute and appoint Robert Mosby with Coln John Smith Executors to this my last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set hand and fixed my seal this the seventh Day of July one thousand seven hundred ninety four

Sign seal in the presents (sic) of
James M. Graham                                                                                                John Little (seal)
Andrew B Shiledey
Samuel Graham

Mercer County                     November Court 1794

This last will & testament of John Little Deceased was exhibited into court & proved by the oaths of James Graham Andrew Shiledey and Samuel Graham witnesses thereto and order to be recorded

Tho Allen CC

This will appears to give the names of all of the children of Colonel John Smith, which will now be added to the chart. A few additional thoughts –

  • I did a quick Google search for Colonel John Smith of Kentucky and found a short “biography” at It discusses the history of the farm which Colonel John Smith and his wife, Chenoe, purchased in 1795.
  • The most likely reason that John Little is giving his estate to Colonel Smith’s children would seem to be that they are his grandchildren. Which would mean that John Smith’s wife’s maiden name would be Little. I think this is the reason that I felt like there was more than 1 Colonel John Smith. Because of this, I will be splitting the Colonel John Smith chart into 2. The only record I have that mentions Chenoe is a deed, so all additional information is based on a quick Google search.
    • After looking at the 2 charts, I decided that they COULD be the same man with 2 marriages. The dates of birth for the children could indicate that he had a family with Miss Little who may have passed away between 1790 – 1797. John and Chenoe were married on October 17, 1797[3] with their children being born between 1798 – 1818. Interesting that the website above says they purchased the farm in 1795 when they weren’t married until 1797. Perhaps they are making an assumption for John’s wife in 1795?
  • Although I do believe these records apply to the same man, I will keep the chart separate for now. Any record that comes after 1797 will be added to John and Chenoe’s chart.
  • Robert Mosby was also named as an executor of the will. I recognize the name Robert Mosby as being a neighbor of Captain John Smith. Because of this, I think that Colonel Smith and Captain Smith lived near each other. That could mean that some of the records that simply say “John Smith” that I attributed to Captain John Smith may in fact belong to Colonel John Smith.
  • I do notice that John Little’s will mentions a John Smith listed among the children of Colonel John Smith. Could this be John M. Smith?

One more important point. At the end of the will, I can see that the will was proven in a November 1794 court session. If you look for this in the Court Orders book it provides even more information that I would not have picked up if I hadn’t found the actual court order[4].

The Last Will and Testament of John Little Deceased proved by the oaths of James Graham, Andrew Shelody and Samuel Graham three subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be Recorded. John Smith one of the Executors therein named who made oath as the Law directs ~ certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form he giving security whereupon he together with Thomas Hanna and John Hale his securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of three hundred pounds Conditioned as the Law directs ~ ordered that John Smith, David Mosby, Jeremiah Telford and John Haggin or any three of them being first sworn do appraise in Current Money the personal Estate and Slaves if any of the said Decedent and that the Executor return an Inventory thereof to the Court.

The interesting additional piece of information here is the names of those who gave security with Colonel John Smith: Thomas Hanna and John Hale. Looking back at the table I made for marriages where John Smith was the father shows a Thomas Hanna. So now Thomas Hanna and Margaret Smith will move from the table for John (Taylor) Smith to Colonel John Smith’s table.

I have this little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying that if John M’s father was Colonel John Smith, that would have been documented somewhere so that may be why I never put a ton of time into researching him. So my plan for now will be to collect information if I come across it, but I don’t think I’m ready to begin investing extra time into researching him at this point. That may be a mistake, but that’s where I am right now.


  1. John Smith & Elizabeth Arbuckle – (son of John Taylor Smith)
  2. John Smith & Sally McDaniel
  3. John Taylor Smith updated
  4. Captain John Smith(not the father of John M. Smith)
  5. John Smith (d. 1812) – (cannot be John M. Smith)
  6. John Smith (d. 1815) and Elizabeth (d. 1820) – (not John M. Smith, not John Smith and Elizabeth Arbuckle)
  7. Colonel John Smith & ___ Little – new(could this be the father of John M. Smith?)
  8. Colonel John Smith & Chenoe – new

[1] Mercer County, Kentucky, Court Orders v3, p481 ,FamilySearch film #7899117, image 542.

[2] Mercer County, Kentucky, Will Book 1, p187, FamilySearch film #4818857, image 102.

[3] Lincoln County, Kentucky, Marriage Extract, p243, FamilySearch film #7733960, image 148.

[4] Mercer County, Kentucky, Court Orders v3, p141, FamilySearch film #7899117, image 79.