The book snippet that I posted yesterday mentioned John M. Smith followed by Nancy Smith. I think this pension card from the was of 1812 is certainly them, I just don’t know if they’re mine! I found this on the Fold3 web site, but the file itself has not yet been scanned. I know NOTHING about research from this war…
I was looking through the book, “Early Days in Danville” by Calvin Fackler and my heart skipped a beat when I found “John M. Smith” listed in the index. Could this be MY John M. Smith? I copied 4 pages and I will transcribe it here. There are LOTS of clues to follow up on here. In the book, sources are given for quite of bit of the information including specific deed information and several references to a newspaper article written in the Kentucky Advocate in 1923, which I will try to locate, if possible.
This post will be a long one as I’m including not only my transcription, but also a few notes to some online sites the I began to look at last night after my family had celebrated Thanksgiving. My research for more information based on the book is only beginning. I decided I’d better post what I have before this post becomes book-length by itself! I’m sure there will be more information coming as I try to prove or disprove that this is MY John…
The Baptist church was the third organized here; and it has now the oldest church lot in use. The Baptists “came to town” in the early 1820’s. They were represented here long before that but worshipped in the country; for the Danville congregation was the daughter of Providence and, apparently, the grandchild of the “High German Lutheran” body, once located in the Fisher Garrison vicinity.
(Fisher’s Garrison was probably the largest and best manned of the early stations in the wilderness of Kentucky, according to Calvin M. Fackler’s “Early Days in Danville.” The station has a two-story log or frame building that stood until about 1900. http://articles.centralkynews.com/2006-08-07/history/24881416_1_family-tree-kentucky-family-names)
Unfortunately there seem to be no records of the Dutch Meeting House extant. The civil ones show that the church lot was deeded by Harry Innes and Stephen Fisher, Senior, and acre each, to Adam Smith, Adam Fisher, and Nicholas Wilhite “elders for the time being of the High Dutch Congregation.” The western half was carved from the Innes tract, and the easter from Fisher, May 19th and June 4, 1791, respectively. The consideration was nominal, one shilling and five shillings.
(There is an interesting history of the Low Dutch church of the Harrodsburg area at http://www.sweet-home-spun.com/historytrust.htm On May 19th, 1791 Stephen Fisher Sr. deeded one acre of land near his Station to Adam Smith, Adam Fisher and Nicholas Wilhite. On June 4th 1791, Harry Innes deeded another adjoining acre to the same people for the property where ‘The Old Dutch Meeting House” stands. Smith, Fisher and Wilhite were listed as “Church Elders for the time being”. The church was a grandchild of the “High German Lutheran” church established by these early German settlers at Fisher’s Garrison in now Boyle County, near Danville. Source: Early days of Danville, by Calvin Morgan Fackler, p. 152. It is noted in Fackler’s book that this church was actually built years before but no deed had yet been officially conveyed for the property. “The consideration was nominal, one shilling and five shillings”. Harry Innes was in the process of selling the surrounding land and thus the urgency to deed the property to the Germans. http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GERMANNA_COLONIES/2010-11/1290204977)
Tradition has it that the church was built some time before that; and there are strong reasons for believing so: the first session of the District Supreme Court met at Harrodsburg and, taking note of its inadequate accommodations, adjourned immediately to the Dutch Meeting House – two days term, 1783. There was a necessity for making this conveyance at that time. Judge Innes, holder of a moiety of the legal title to the church grounds, was about to sell his tract; and did so a few days later, when he disposed of his holdings to David Gillespie, but excluded the Meeting House lot. This tract was sold in 1811, by order of Court, when it was described as “being in the neighborhood of Danville and near the dwelling house of Benjamin Fisher” (son of Stephen Sr.) to whom it was sold. Its location should be marked; out to be rather easy to trace since Benjamin conveyed to Dr. Daniel Yeiser. This was long the Daniel Yeiser homestead – now estate of the late J.C. Caldwell, Jr. There are other clues which we will gladly furnish to anyone interested enough to do this work.
The Dutch Meeting House seems to have had its origin in the German treck which ended here about 1780. Then the Fishers, Garrs, Yeagers, Wilhoits, Smiths (Smidts), Gashweilers, and others were of the Lutheran faith. As most of those names appear afterwards among the Boyle County Baptists, they must have gone en masse into that denomination – saving a few brands plucked by the Presbyterians. These families were to be found at Providence until its dissolution, some fifty years ago. Providence was a well built brick, about three miles out the Lancaster road. The twin front doors indicated a division of the sexes in worship. Today there is not so much as a scar upon the field, to show where it once stood; but those who constituted that town meeting, June 7, 1823, were not to have so comfortable a house of worship again for twenty years.
“The nine Baptists who lived within its borders (Danville) felt that if they were to exercise the best influence for their Lord and Master, it was time for them to form themselves into a church which could lend its influence toward the betterment of the community. As a result, the following met in the home of one of them and organized the ‘First Baptist Church of Danville, Mercer County, Kentucky’: Samuel Ayres, John M. Smith, Nancy Smith, Ruth Garland, Eliza Hand, Dorothy Ayres, Enoch Smith, Jesse Garland, and Elder Thomas Hand. The following ministers assisted in the organization, Elder John Rice, John S. Higgins, and Samuel D. Street.” Of that first nine only two names are known to use, Samuel Ayres, the silversmith, and his wife Dorothy. Come the next generation, and his son and namesake would head the roster of another church project; of which, more anon.
For the next two years they must have met from house to house, then they succeeded in getting that ideal location for a Baptist – near water; for over the fence shimmered the ripples of Doneghy’s pond. This was the property of Mr. Daniel McIlvoy, which they acquired November 12, 1825. The conveyance names John M. Smith, one of the original band, Jeremiah Fisher and Duff Green trustees. Mr. Fisher we already know. Dr. Duff Green, son of Willis, in addition to his professional duties, also served awhile as County Clerk.
The plat was one acre, described as follows: “Adjoining the town of Danville; beginning at a stone in a line formerly belonging to James Birney; thence West 12 poles, 6 links; thence North 12 poles 16 links; thence East 12 poles 16 links; thence South 12 poles, 16 links to the beginning.” It was separated by a distance of thirty-five feet from our North Third Street, which strip was cut from the Birney addition by the extension of said street. In the hands of a grasping party, that strip might have caused much trouble; but James G. Birney, with his usual fairness, sold it to the abutting property holders for a nominal sum, instead of making them pay through the nose for an outlet.
The purchase must have exhausted their funds, for it was years before they could erect a fitting building. The church chronicler says that on the south center of the lot stood a little log cabin which they used as a meeting house; “The church experienced a hard struggle for existence for the next few years. At times it seemed as though they would have to give up the fight, but in each dark period there would come a new ray of hope. During one of these brighter periods they decided to build a church house. The town had grown to such an extent that the Baptist property was more valuable; so that at a meeting in the church in 1839 or 1840, they hit upon the plan of selling some of their property to raise funds for the building.”
I had downloaded a digital version of the 1784 Filson map of Kentucky before, but it wasn’t a large enough file to be able to zoom in and read any of the words. Today, I found a great digital file at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/etas/3/
If I were to print the map at 100%, it would be about 7 x 8 FEET!!! I zoomed in on the Harrodsburg area and cropped it to see “my area of the world”. This would have been about 3-4 years after the Smiths received their land warrants.
If I’m believing the information given in the Oscar Smith biography, John M. Smith was an early pioneer of Danville, Kentucky. The wording in the biography – “the pioneer of the family in Kentucky” – made me think of researching the first settlers in Kentucky in nearby Fort Harrod, but maybe that’s not quite right.
In the 1830 Russell County census for John M. Smith, the oldest male in the family is listed as being between 50 and 60 years old. Let’s say he was 60 years old, making his date of birth around 1770. The first land which would later become Danville was purchased around 1783 and the city was officially established in December of 1787. So I suppose that John could have settled in the area around this time at the age of 17 or so. I can stretch my thinking a bit to admit that the age given on the 1830 census was probably less than accurate, so maybe he was even older than 60.
The original pioneers of the Harrodsbug had arrived around 1775-6. Can I stretch my estimate to fit that time frame? I don’t know how old a young man would have to be to purchase land or obtain a land grant, but let’s say 17 years old. For John to be 17 in 1776, he would have been born around 1759. Let’s make it 1760 for easy math. This would have made him 70 years old for the 1830 census. Is that reasonable? I think it just might be.
On the other hand, John’s oldest known child was born around 1805. Would a man be having his first child at the age of 45? John did not have a will, so I cannot be sure that it WAS the oldest child. Perhaps John had other children who stayed behind when John moved to Russell County around 1825. That would make sense as a child born in 1805 would have been 20 years old at the time of the move.
Maybe the answer that I’m looking for can be found in land records. Perhaps I can find a John Smith who sold or passed land to a son before leaving the county.
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kymercer/grants.html – Also has a nice history of County Formations for the area.
Smith Zachariah 400 Harrods Run 02-07-1780 1-9 1000 Harrods Run 05-29-1780 1-56 Zachariah had a brother named John...
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!
From “A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800-1900” on Ancestry
First white men of Wayne County – “Long Hunters” – summer of 1770.
William Allen *captured by Cherokee
Henry Smith – even if this isn’t my direct line, perhaps this is a connection for why my Smith’s came to this area from Danville.
Christopher Stoph *captured by Cherokee
Russell Hughes (book says Russell and Hughes)
In 1774, Colonel William Preston gave orders to Captain Billy Russell to warn settlers and surveyors in Kentucky of an Indian upraising.
In May, 1779, the Virginia Assembly enacted a law opening Kentucky to general settlement by survey, entry, and residence. In the same year, the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act for marking and opening a road over the Cumberland Mountains in the County of Kentucky. Richard Calloway and John Kinkead effected the opening of the road* by Dec 1, 1781.
From 1800 to 1810, each year brought a large number of families. Grants under the “Headrights” provision were made to the following… Matthew and William Smith
* (Wilderness Road – from Wikipedia)
The Wilderness Road was the principal route used by settlers for more than fifty years to reach Kentucky from the East. In 1775, Daniel Boone blazed a trail for the Transylvania Company from Fort Chiswell in Virginia through the Cumberland Gap into central Kentucky. It was later lengthened, following Native American trails, to reach the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. The Wilderness Road was steep and rough, and it could only be traversed on foot or horseback. Despite the adverse conditions, thousands of people used it.
In 1792, the new Kentucky legislature provided money to upgrade the road. In 1796, an improved all-weather road was opened for wagon and carriage travel. The road was abandoned around 1840, although modern highways follow much of its route.
List of Stations by Sandra K Gorin, taken from Collins Historical Sketches of KY, History of Kentucky, Vol II, published by Collins Co in Covington, KY 1874, copy provided by Charles Barker. Compiled by Dr Christopher C Graham of Louisville ca 1874.
Smith Station is Number 7
Posted 1 May 2000 at -http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.kentucky.counties.lincoln/1614.1633.1635.1726/mb.ashx
On Filson’s 1784 map of Kentucky there are two Smith’s stations which were at that time in Lincoln County. The most southwestern one is between Danville and Harrodsburg on a run that is not named on the map. However, I believe it may be Harrods run. My ancestor George Smith lived on Harrods run between Danville and Harrodsburg at that time.
Anyone know about these two stations which are quite close together. What is the definition of a Station?
Response on 31 July 2000 at http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.kentucky.counties.lincoln/1614.1633.1635.1726.1993/mb.ashx
James Smith Station is one of the stations shown in Lincoln County on Filson’s 1784 Map.
James Smith with the help of his older sons and brother Henry, established a station near the sinking spring on an early trace than ran from the settlements on the west side of Dick’s River to the deep ford at the mouth of Hickman Creek on the Kentucky River. At the Harrodsburg Land Court held 11/5/1779, James Smith claimed the right to a preemption of 400 acres lying on the east side of Dick’s river on a branch near a sinking spring by the said Smith making an actual settlement on the premises March 1, 1779. The Preemption Warrant no. 409 was issued 3/21/1780 for 160 pounds paid by James Smith to the Virginia Treasury. The land entry was dated 6/19/1780, 400 acres on waters of Dick’s River, adjoining Samuel Scott on the south, Andrew Gimblin on the east, and Archer on the south. Surveyed 10/17/1780 and the 400 acres was granted 6/1/1782 to James Smith by Benjamin Harrison, Governor of Virginia. Although Smith had many surveys of land in today’s Garrard County this is the Station Tract. James Smith, Henry Smith, William Smith, Townsend Fugate and Michael Woods spent the hard winter of 1779-80 at the early station. This station became a favorite stop over for travelers.
In 1794, Smith purchased an adjoining tract from Andrew Gimblin and built a log cabin that served as a tavern or inn. This later became Smithtown and in 1836 became the community known today as Bryantsville, Garrard County, Ky.
After James death in 1798, his son Edmond who married Jane Ann Findley, daughter of early settler, David Findley, established the “Burnt Tavern” at the site of the old cabin. In the 1950’s this famous Kentucky land mark was torn down and today part of this tract has become a subdivision and the part that contained the family cemetery is commercial property and the ground around it has been bull dozed down 8 feet and all the top-soil sold. All that remains is a small 1/8 acre that contains at least 20 of the Smith descendants. Edwin and Jane Ann Smith have a beautiful stone marker that has been torn down by a large fallen tree. Plans are to have this stone erected again as soon as funds are available.
In the last couple of years an effort started by a descendant that lives in Garrard County and with the financial help of the Smith/Findley families that migrated west to Missouri and California, a new chain link fence has enclosed the 1/8 acre of ground. A marker has been placed in memory of James Smith, who fought in the R. W. and plans are to erect a stone for his wife, Magdeline Woods, daughter of William Woods. I have a list of the known family members that are buried in this cemetery and will be glad to furnish them to interested parties.
- Find the Filson’s 1784 map of Kentucky
- Begin a group sheet for James Smith