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1600s Branches

1700s Branches

The 1600s
A New Beginning

If I were to ask you to explain what you know of the 1600s in one word, what word would that be?  Discovery? – Ok, but many discoveries were made prior and afterwards.  Exploration?  Not bad as well, but it really depends on the context of the word for this word describes the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  How about the word Understanding?  Although the 1600s did not start out with awareness or understanding, by the end it describes the times fairly accurate.  There was more understanding through greater education, perception and realization of ideas, awareness of issues and problems of the day.  How did this happen?  The previous century had seen great improvements in the culture and well being of the ordinary citizen.  Education (via the printing press) began to spread like a rash, which is exactly how the Catholic Church viewed the expansion.  This, along with the dilution of the feudal system, allowed many to seek profit for their selves and thus the will to “learn more to earn more” took over.  Queen Elizabeth took the period to its peak of “Renaissance”.  In her long 44 years of rule, many began to have enough money to support their selves in order to pursue other adventures.  Most of these adventures were in the sciences and the arts. 

Newton, Isaac If I were to mention the word Science, who would be the first person you would think of?  Einstein or Newton?  I asked my daughter this and she gave me the same answers in that order.  I understand Einstein as he really is part of our day.  We basically credit him for being the smartest man of our time.  Well what about that second guy?  Newton [see picture].  Why was he second on the list and not first?  In his day he was first (obviously Einstein wasn’t around) for over 300 years.  The difference is that Newton’s name was first on the list during the 1600s.  How does a person have his name last for so long?  Well you would probably have to do something really good like discover gravity or something really bad such as kill many people.  But then, if you kill a few people they call you a murderer and if you kill thousands, they call you a conqueror – go figure.   Sir Isaac Newton was of the something good category.   Unknowingly he received his fame for proving the basis of modern science and mathematics.  He received the Sir in his name because he was the most modern thinker of his day.  He embodied all that the 1600s was about to the world – discovery, exploring, and understanding – a new beginning.

Galileo There was so much innovation that it may be better to list some of the people rather than attempt to discuss the endless quantity of information.  A man many know as Sir Francis Bacon was a statesman, but he devised the Scientific Method that we still use today to experiment (even used my Newton).  Most people who listened in high school science class heard the name Galileo [see picture].  You know - something about a telescope.  He didn’t invent it as many believed, but he did improve it so much that he was given credit for it.  Yet most don’t know he was a great mathematician and astronomer.  He even proved Copernicus’ theory correct, but was condemned by the church for it.  He had help with other great astronomers such as Kepler, Cassini, Halley, and Flamsteed.  Then there were the even greater mathematicians such as Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, and Christiaan Huygens.  Next, the sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics had their beginnings with Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, and Newton again.1  The list can go further, but I believe you get the idea that the Seventeenth century was an era of enlightenment.  More inventions than ever before arose in the 1600s from simple understanding, such as the telescope, submarine, slide ruler, blood transfusions, steam turbine, micrometer, adding machine, barometer, air pump, pendulum clock, cuckoo clock, champagne, and the universal joint (in mechanics or physics).  

So there was appreciation of the mind, but what about the body and soul.  Just a few years earlier, a reformation began that changed religion for ever.  It was still the Catholics versus everyone else, namely the aptly called Lutherans.  In the year 1600, an Italian philosopher named Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for having some scientific ideas that disagreed with the Catholic Church.  So the church was still very much in control in many areas of the European world.  In England though, Protestantism reigned and became almost as aggressive towards Catholics as the Catholics were towards them.  All in all religion was always a driving force behind many decisions and events of the seventeenth century, yet it seemed to take a back seat at times to learning and exploring.  It was loosing its control and by the end of the era, the leaders of the religious realm understood that they must adapt to survive.  In 1611, King James of England promoted the printing of the now most popular version of the Bible, the King James Version.  As we remember, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church and basically won and lived.  Again, there was John Knox and John Calvin.  Then Henry VIII took over as the Head of the Church in England as his daughter Elizabeth carried on the tradition.  Her successor, King James was obviously of the same inclination with his Bible.  France and Spain were still devoutly Catholic.  The only place that was confused as to who they were was Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bohemia, and Hungary). Many of the bishops and priests were converting to Lutheranism and Calvinism.  Central Europe was like a wounded duck in the middle of a pack of starving dogs.  Each of the major powers were watching as the confusion took place and wanted to seize the opportunity to take a bite out for themselves.  Each had their own reasons; the French wanted to subdue the growing powers of the Habsburgs (rulers of Austria, kings of Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, and Hungary).  The Spanish wanted more land as they had holding in the north and would improve their position after the great defeat in 1588.  England attempted to remain neutral to religious wars by allowing different beliefs to spread about, but was still officially Protestant as were Sweden, Denmark, and many provinces with in Central Europe; therefore, there was an opportunity for England to gain more control on the mainland.  With the three major religions (Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism), the tensions became so great that in 1618 war broke out which we now call the Thirty Years War.  This isn’t an essay on the war so we won’t go into much greater detail, but do you remember in the book (or movie) the Three Musketeers, the bad guy – Cardinal Richelieu?  Well, he was a major player in this war for France.  He played both sides for his personal gain while maintaining his post as Cardinal and Chief Advisor to Louis XIII of France.   This war, clearly lasting thirty years till 1648, caused devastation across the land.  Casualties, for example, in Germany encompassed thirty percent of the population.  Not all due directly to the war, but the deaths were a cause of armed conflict, and indirectly from famine, and disease.2 

Jamestown Landing England although supportive of any thing against the Catholic Church for a large part, stayed out of the war, but they felt the effects just the same.  Trade had decreased and the famine and diseases didn’t care if you supported the war or not.  As the Spanish and French were the first to arrive over in the Americas, the war kept them busy with other things and didn’t pursue much further at this time.  But the English, however, went to work.  In 1587 we learned of the first English Colony that failed.  In 1606, the London Company sponsored another settlement in Virginia.  By 1607, Capt. John Smith established Jamestown.  By the end of the year, famine and disease were among them and almost didn’t survive.  The original 105 settlers, now only 32, were about to leave when another ship arrived as they were pulling out.  This ship carried more supplies and 110 settlers.  The colony survived.  It was here when we get our famous story of John Smith and Pocahontas; true story by the way.  The colony began to produce iron ore, lumber, and tobacco for trade with England.  Sir Thomas Smythe, in charge of the London Company as well as the East India Company sponsored further exploration of North America through Henry Hudson.  Because of the vast potential of the land in America and as the slave trade already existed in other countries, the first session of the first legislative assembly in America met in 1619 in Jamestown (called the Virginia House of Burgesses) consisting of 22 representatives covering 11 plantations and approved the shipment of the slaves to increase their trade potential.  As things were looking up in Virginia and other explorations in the North proved promising, the London Company sponsored a settlement in the now Massachusetts at Cape Cod.  101 settlers came over in 1620 on the Mayflower ship.  They immediately arrived and all signed a “Mayflower Compact” which was a form of local government to act under a majority rule system and to operate in the general good of the colony.  This system set an example for the future colonies to follow and began to pave the way for separation from England.  These colonies began to do so well governing themselves and producing the exports, that in 1624 when Charles I came to power in England, he revoked the Virginia Company charter and declared the colonies a royal colony.  This would be his attempt to bring the settlers back under his control (money and power).  Charles became so greedy back in England that in 1629 disbanded the people’s parliament in an attempt to be an absolute monarch.

James Ussher   With the political troubles in England, accompanied with the outbreak of religious wars, famine, and disease it is no wonder the Americas looked very appeasing for many left England for the American Colonies.  In 1633, people like Galileo were being forced to recant their beliefs or face death by the church, while in America schools and universities, such as Harvard in 1636, were being established.  Where would you want to be?  The English were pushed to a point in 1642 that a revolt began led by Oliver Cromwell which ended in the beheading of Charles I and a republic being established with Oliver as the head.  For a few years, feelings calmed down in England, but never went away.  The Thirty years war ended in 1648 out of pure exhaustion of money and manpower with the end result of Catholics having to accept the Protestants.  Protestant views were still growing with many studying hard as the studying of the Bible by the Anglican Bishop James Ussher  [see picture] produced a date the earth was created from 4004 B. C. causing controversy in the already chaotic religious world.3  But in 1660, the English had enough of the Cromwell’s and invited Charles II back from France to retake the throne.  Upon his return, he approved a Navigation Act placing limits on the amounts of tobacco and sugar and other commodities to England and its colonies as well as limiting trading in the colonies.  The colonies could only trade with England using English ships.  By 1663, Charles II even restricted all imports into its colonies to use English ships.  These restrictions were tough but the colonists accepted them for a while.  To further bring the colonies back under his control, Charles established the colony of Carolina in America and granted the territory to eight of his loyal supporters which helped him regain the throne.  Of course they had to pay taxes, but the grantees could profit from the land how they saw fit. 

Of course, some people just can’t accept change.  King Phillip IV of Spain, a devout Catholic, wanted to disrupt all things that were English and protestant.  And what better way than to take away English colonies.  His war put the English in America up against the Native Americans.  As the English were ever increasing their land (thus taking away from the Indians), the Spanish and eventually the French, used this annoyance to encourage the Natives to attack the English in the New England area. Raids occurred so frequently that the English fought back hard to where for every Englishman killed there was 5 Natives killed.  The war ended with the death of the Native Chief, Metacomet, but raids continued well on till the 1700s.  The war actually brought the colonist together and made them feel they could defend themselves.  This independence grew for close to 100 years till the American Revolution.  Meanwhile, Pennsylvania was charted by William Penn from King Charles.  As he was a Protestant, many Protestants came over to New England in 1682.  The French at the same time began to explore the lower Mississippi region (land of many waters) and claimed the area for France naming it Louisiana for King Louis XIV.   As King Louis became more confident in his powers, in 1685 he revoked the Edict of Nantes and went full Catholic.  The Protestants feared for their lives and left for America.  America was vastly becoming the land of the free.  Most of those who arrived were inclined to personal freedoms and self governing.  Traits that would serve them well in years to come.  That same year, Charles II ofKing James II England dies and James II assumes the throne.  As he assumed the same colonial policies as Charles, he tried to make the whole of New England and Virginia into one state; thus, taking away all local political rights they had enjoyed earlier.  He tried to take away their independence.  In 1687, the colonist were still loyal to the homeland, but were growing upset towards the now Taxation without Representation.  Before a real militia could be assembled, King James II [see picture] was run off in 1688 to France by the parliament leaders who were feeling the pressure back home as well.  The English people wanted a Crown but they wanted a voice in the Government.  The next of kin were place on the throne, King William and Queen Mary.  As hostilities remained between England and France, King William went to war.  This European war spilled over into the Americas as the French allied with the Native Americans resume attacks on the English Colonists.  These attempts were aimed at England, but all they really did was help forge the colonists into Americans.    These Americans were fighting from all directions; the French and Indians on one side and the ever increasing restrictions from the homeland.  In 1696, a Third edition of the Navigation Act gave the tax collectors in the colonies rights to forcible entry (into your homes) and now bond money of certain produce.  By the end of the seventeenth century the war with the French was over for now and England could now focus on its colonies.  The parliament passed the Wool Act, which for the Americans meant there was to be no imports of wool.  The 250,000 people in the new world were being strangled. 

It is clear that things were bad as far as freedoms and living conditions in England and in all of Europe.  America was the place to be for a new beginning.  You could believe as you wished work as hard as you wanted to get ahead and profit and you could own land.  You could be someone, grow your own food, and breath fresh air.  These feelings of independence and the many conflicts forcing them to act as one against the outside forces as well as their own would soon become the downfall of English rule in America.  Immigrants from all over the world began to flock here for all its promises.  People began to better understand the universe around them, better understand the situations they were in and the freedoms they could have, and better understand the efforts it would take to break the yoke.  Our ancestors were no different.  We discovered our ancestors in England in Wiltshire County.  As their situation improved, we moved to Kent County.  But as the Smyths’s responsibilities expanded with their service to the Crown, we found out they moved to Lancashire County in the north, or at least some of the children were born there. 

Sir Thomas Smythe Family At last we discussed Sir Thomas Smythe as being  the son of Thomas “Customer” Smythe and we used some data of his children to help prove the linage.  It seemed a bit sketchy but we were to smooth it out in this section.  Thomas’ children shown below in the chart were as follows:    John Smythe (b. abt. 1580) who was still alive in 1619 but I do not know when he died.  Christopher Smith, was born on 18 Mar 1591 in Lancashire County and died on 16 Apr 1648.  The last son, Robert Smythe, I have no idea of his dates (birth or death).  Sir Thomas’ career was a hard one which kept him very busy.  As a result it appears that not only did he have children later in life (which was the norm in these days), but he only had three, where many families consisted of more than 6 children.  It is reported that he had a daughter as well, but I know nothing of a name or dates. 

Castle Now John Smythe became a Sir John Smythe, the same that married the daughter, Lady Isabelle Rich, of the Earl of Warwick.  I assume they had children, but have done little research into this matter.  Robert Smythe has shown little records, for  I have found none on himself but rather that of his son, of the same name, who was the governor of Dover Castle; “Guardian of the 'Gateway to England', this giant of a castle displays a solid strength and determination that has obviously carried it through many troubled times. Proudly standing atop the White Cliffs, overlooking this busy port, Dover has withstood the test of time remarkably well throughout its long and eventful history. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of vital importance since the Iron Age. The first castle was probably an Anglo-Saxon fortress and, on the arrival of William the Conqueror, the existing fortifications were improved with the building of an earthwork castle. This Norman 'motte' (mound) which supported the castle is today known as 'Castle Hill'.”4  And the last child, Christopher is the one we are really interested in.  He was born on 18 May 1591 in Lancashire County, England.  First of all, we noticed some differences.   The most obvious was the spelling.  Why is it different? I have no Idea.  The only explanation that I can think of is that they were interchangeable.  I have noticed that many other Smith families about the same time also began to change the spelling of their names to the more traditional “i”.  Some prefer the notoriety to stand out, while others (as myself) prefer to be just left alone.  I will not surmise as to which Christopher was.  The next difference was that he was born in Lancashire.  I have no birth place for the other children so I don’t have them to compare to, but it is not far fetched to believe as his father was a very important man of the day and would have surely travelled for months at a  time and could have brought his family on the travels.  Remember, England is just a small Island.  The last difference was that Christopher bore a coat of arms of the Smiths of Tote, Devon County, England.  To have a coat of arms was to mean he was of an important family.  This is good.  I have been unable to locate these Smiths of Devon England.  As a matter of fact the closest Smith’s  I can find that resemble our family is in Kent and Wiltshire Counties – our family.  This further supports my theory.  But the problem I can’t understand (unless he created his own) was the description of the arms.  Now Sir Thomas Smythe’s coat of arms is show above and described as follows:  The shape of the shield is with a flat top, straight sides, and a tapered bottom to a smooth point.  The shape resembles those made in the late 13th and early 14th Century.  The background color is of Azure (Blue).  The charges are of lions with attitudes of Guardiant and Passant with a chevron in between them.  The crest (that which is on top of the shield) is of and English Helm with visor decorated with an Azure and Or (Gold) mantle.  On top of the helmet is a Leopard head chained and collared.  With some research, I have discovered the following interpretation for these characteristics:Arms of Sir Thomas Smyte

Azure = Blue = Strength and Loyalty
Or = Gold = Noble, the Sun (originally meant only for princes)
Chevron = Roof of a house = Protection and/or faithful service
Guardant = looking at viewer
Passant = walking or running (common for non-carnivorous beasts)
Lion = exotic, King of beasts, ferocity, bravery
Leopard = exotic, of German origin, Valiant and hardy warrior who enterprises hazardous things by force and courage
Helm = Knight

This, in view of our Smith’s, means it appears that Sir Thomas Smythe wished to be seen and remembered as a Loyal, Noble, Knight to the crown of England who not only received protection but gave protection through faithful service to the crown.  His loyalty portrayed through the dominant Azure color, the golden chevron, and the attitudes of the beasts, and the beasts themselves.  The portrayal of the lions and leopard with teeth and tongues were to show the ferocity or bravery at which he would defend his crown. Yet the lions are displayed in a Guardant and Passant nature.  This is interpreted as his personal nature is passive and easygoing but always watching and overlooking to protect his country. The very sight of the lions is a reference to the English throne; thus, another attempt at showing his loyalty to the crown.  His nobility portrayed through the "Or" color, the helm, the lions, and the leopard head.  The gold color and the helmet of the Knight are both obvious notions of nobility, but being allowed to portray the lions and leopard are also representations of nobility.  The leopard head is an exotic animal as well and originated with the gift of leopard from the German Emperor to the English King in 1235.  This could represent some German orientation (although I have found no connections) or it could represent the lavishness and dangers of some of his travels and works in the world abroad as the Customs officer and Governor of several merchant outfits.  Yet this Leopard is in custody.  He has a collar, surmising domestication or control and is further chained to the Helm.  This would mean that the defender (the Leopard) is wielded by the Loyal Knight who defends the English crown.  This is the mild version, but an even shorter version to describe Sir Thomas’s arms would be: Azure, a Chevron between three lions, Guardant and Passant.  Now this last description sounds very much like his son’s, Christopher.  

Acorn, Slipped and Leaved Christopher’s was described as “Azure a Chevron between three acorns slipped and leaved”.  Azure or blue in color matches Sir Thomas’, his father.  The single chevron matches as well.  It was the Acorns the bothered me.  Sir Thomas had three Lions as shown above.  The Acorns denote antiquity and strength; they hold a high significance as a Scandinavian and a Celtic symbol for life, fertility, and immortality.  While attempting to research this in heraldry, I found that the Smith’s of America (which means our family to put it short) replaced the acorns with three yellow lozenges (Constancy).  I want to believe the change was to help better distinguish them selves from the others in the world, such as those from Ireland, South Africa, and back in England.  But it may also be that Christopher, however tied to the merchant way of life, chose to step back from the lime light and chose a quieter, more religious life.  This trait may have carried on to his children, namely Christopher II as he spent many years involved with the church as we will find out.  Originally all the Smyth Arms included what we would call a Unicorn symbol; which suggests that each of the sets of Smyths in the area may have similar lineage in earlier times, but I don’t know.  We discussed this symbol briefly in the History of the Smith Name.  The Unicorn seems to have been replaced with the Lions back before the early 1500s.  But our Smiths changed them again to acorns as we see on Christopher’s.  There is much to be learned here.   Christopher could have separated from his father [either over some argument or by arrangement of marriage perhaps], changed the spelling of his name as well as the symbols on his crest, yet kept the arms still a claim to his father which still brought respect.  This hypothesis would account for the records found of Sir Thomas’ children recording the three boys but only naming two.  Remember this is just an assumption.  There is just too much that matches for them not to connect, yet I can not explain the differences.  With the connections built up over the years, it appears that each generation began to move up due to marriages within “good” families.  It would be fair to assume then that many marriages were arranged (remember this is still the 1600s – arranged marriages were still recorded in the early 20th century).   We will see such marriages in our ancestry and see how wise our ancestors were.  Christopher married Ms. Elizabeth Townley (b. abt. 1599 in Lancashire) on 3 May 1624 in Lancashire, England.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Lawrence Townley IV and Jennet Halstead, a well to do family.  I had done a bit or research into her family because her father was an “IV”.  I found nothing much but a long line of Lawrence Townley’s of which Elizabeth carried on with her children.  What I did find out was that the Townleys were based in Lancashire but had many branches of the family spread across England.  One such branch was at Stone Edge, which in Wiltshire.  Guess what?  This is the same place our Smiths were.  Now I followed Lawrence Townley’s line a bit further and discovered many interesting things (Queens, Presidents, Explorers, Generals), but that will have to wait till we get to the Smith Branches Section. 

The children of Christopher and Elizabeth are as follows:  John Smith, Lawrence Smith, Christopher Smith, Richard Smith, and Thomas Smith.  He had no daughtersChristopher Smith Family that I am aware of.   John was born on 12 Sep 1624 in Burnley Parish, Lancashire, England.  I don’t know if he was named after his paternal uncle,  his paternal great - great grandfather or his maternal grand father (on the mother’s side), although I assume the uncle as he was closest to the family but the maternal  grandfather fits the naming scheme of the day.  Nevertheless this is all I know of him.  The Second son, Lawrence was born 29 Mar 1629 in Lancashire, England.  He most likely was named after his maternal grandfather, Lawrence Townley IV.  He had an interesting life of which  I will get into later.  The third son Christopher (of whom I will refer to as Christopher II from now on to keep them straight), was born 29 Jan 1630 in the same place, Lancashire, England.  Now since he is of our direct line, I view him as the most important and will discuss him last.  The fourth son was Richard was born in Lancashire as well on 24 May 1635.  I assume he is named after his great uncle for that is the only close relative I have found of the that name.  And again, like John, this is all I know about him.  The last child was Thomas who born in Lancashire on 17 Dec 1637, I believe, was named after his paternal grandfather.  Usually the first grandson is named after the paternal grandfather, but if my theory is correct, Chris saved it for last.  And as Thomas is name of both grandfather and grandson, it further strengthens the connection between Christopher and Sir Thomas.  I found a record showing the young Thomas as having a son named John Smith who married a Mary Warner.  But alas, this was extent on Thomas.  Ok, we have talked a bit about each child except two.  Let’s start with Lawrence.

Lawrence being born 29 Mar 1629 was age 22 when he married Mary Dedman.5  Mary was born on 8 Feb 1635 (and died about 1700).  They were married on 28 Sep 1652 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester Co., Virginia.  That’s right.  He made it to America by the age of 23.  Now I know that most people record in their genealogies that he was married in 1651 in Virginia, but how can that be so when it is recorded that he didn’t arrive in America until early 1652. He was the first Smith in our family to reach America.  As per the book “Early Virginia Immigrants”, Lawrence is listed as being “Imported [in 1652Warner, Augustine ] by Capt. Augustine Warner [see picture] who was married to Mary Townley, sister to Elizabeth Townley, Lawrence’s [and Christopher’s] mother.  They were the daughters of Lawrence Townley, the grandfather of Lawrence Smith.  Lawrence Townley is also the direct ancestor of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee through Mary Townley, wife of Augustine Warner.”6   That last part we will get to later.  So Lawrence grows up with his brothers (John, Christopher, Richard, and Thomas) and his cousins.  Lawrence was an ambitious boy growing up, after all look as his pedigree.  His Uncle, Augustine Warner, came to America or Virginia when he was 18 years old in 1628.  As his family name was of some reputation in England (his father was a respected minister in Cambridge, England), he obtained passage on a ship commanded by Capt. Adam Thouroughgood.  Not much is known about him between 1628 and 1635, but it is recorded that he received his first land grant in Gloucester Territory in 1635 of which he was instrumental in the settlement of Gloucester Co. VA in 1651.  A note here about land grants in early America.  As the English first settled permanently in 1607, things had not changed much in 1628.  The attempt was to get more and more people over to America to further colonize the area.  As an enticement, those who sponsored others to come over were granted land [as that was the most valuable thing of the day]; therefore, the more you sponsored the more land you gained.  If you were sponsored, you were like an indentured servant for a specified time or what ever the terms may have been agreed upon.  By the 1650’s Augustine had acquired over 1000 acres of land (some believe he ended up owning over 33,000 acres).  Through his sponsorship and land gains, he became very influential in the colonies.  Once established, what better way to gain more land than to sponsor one’s own family.  They had a family member there that could give them a head start and land was plenty; thus, those who were ambitious could move up in the world.  Lawrence Smith had just such a chance.  His Uncle was already established in America and he wanted his piece of the pie.  It was a win-win situation.    In 1652, Lawrence arrived.  By the end of the year, Lawrence had found and married Ms. Mary Dedman (born about 1630) whose father had arrived around the same time as Augustine.  His uncle began to show him the way to get ahead in the new world and at the age of 27 in 1656, he applied for and was granted 119 acres for importing 3 people to America.7  Who these three individuals were I don’t know, but it worked so well for him that on 26 Mar 1666, he and his best friend Robert Taliaferro went in together and sponsored between 126 to 173 [records vary] people to come over and was granted 6,300 acres for doing so.  They split it (3,150 acres each).   Lawrence’s popularity and reputation grew rapidly in the ever expanding Virginia colony.  Remember times were still tough and the Indians were always a constant threat due to this expansion.  A general or grand Assembly was called in James ‘Cittie’ (I believe this was Jamestown, although unsure) on 20 Sep 1674 that lasted till 17 Mar 1675 over the Indian attacks and how they should handle it.  In the end, and Act was passed declaring war against the natives.  Under the Act, orders were given and provisions made for 111 men out of the Gloucester territory to be stationed at a fort near the Rappahannock falls of what is now believed to be the present area of Germana.  The commander for this outfit was none other than our Lawrence Smith at the rank of Major.  Now the rank of Major just isn’t given out, it is earned.  This would indicate that Lawrence was already a member of the British Army or Local Militia.  He must have joined the military; I would venture to say, after 1666.  Only men of some stature in the community were given the officer ranks.  To be of stature meant you had to have some money or power.  Lawrence had the good name of his uncle, his own, his good friend Robert Taliaferro (who belonged to a family of notable power and wealth), and the newly acquired land.   He fit the bill perfectly for a military officer after his last land acquisition.  In 1676, he began to rebuild the fort he was at to re-fortify his position.  If you remember your history, you would know that this is the exact time and place of something called Bacon’s Rebellion.  As the story is relevant in describing the times building up to Lawrence’s appointment as well as his part in defending the Governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley, against Nathaniel Bacon I have decided to include the short story of Bacon’s rebellion written by Susan McCulley in 1987 (and revised by Jen Loux in 1995):


    Bacon's Rebellion was probably one of the most confusing yet intriguing chapters in Jamestown's history. For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in America, which culminated in the American Revolution almost exactly one hundred years later. However, in the past few decades, based on findings from a more distant viewpoint, historians have come to understand Bacon's Rebellion as a power struggle between two stubborn, selfish leaders rather than a glorious fight against tyranny.
    The central figures in Bacon's Rebellion were opposites. Governor Sir William Berkeley, seventy when the crisis began, was a veteran of the English Civil Wars, a frontier Indian fighter, a King's favourite in his first term as Governor in the 1640's, and a playwright and scholar. His name and reputation as Governor of Virginia were well respected. Berkeley's antagonist, young Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., was actually Berkeley's cousin by marriage. Lady Berkeley, Frances Culpeper, was Bacon's cousin. Bacon was a troublemaker and schemer whose father sent him to Virginia in the hope that he would mature. Although disdainful of labor, Bacon was intelligent and eloquent. Upon Bacon's arrival, Berkeley treated his young cousin with respect and friendship, giving him both a substantial land grant and a seat on the council in 1675.

Bacon, Nathanial Bacon's Rebellion can be attributed to a myriad of causes, all of which led to dissent in the Virginia colony. Economic problems, such as declining tobacco prices, growing commercial competition from Maryland and the Carolinas, an increasingly restricted English market, and the rising prices from English manufactured goods (mercantilism) caused problems for the Virginians. There were heavy English losses in the latest series of naval wars with the Dutch and, closer to home, there were many problems caused by weather. Hailstorms, floods, dry spells, and hurricanes rocked the colony all in the course of a year and had a damaging effect on the colonists. These difficulties encouraged the colonists to find a scapegoat against whom they could vent their frustrations and place the blame for their misfortunes.

The colonists found their scapegoat in the form of the local Indians. The trouble began in July 1675 with a raid by the Doeg Indians on the plantation of Thomas Mathews, located in the Northern Neck section of Virginia near the Potomac River. Several of the Doegs were killed in the raid, which began in a dispute over the non-payment of some items Mathews had apparently obtained from the tribe. The situation became critical when, in a retaliatory strike by the colonists, they attacked the wrong Indians, the Susquehanaugs, which caused large scale Indian raids to begin.

To stave off future attacks and to bring the situation under control, Governor Berkeley ordered an investigation into the matter. He set up what was to be a disastrous meeting between the parties, which resulted in the murders of several tribal chiefs. Throughout the crisis, Berkeley continually pleaded for restraint from the colonists. Some, including Bacon, refused to listen. Nathaniel Bacon disregarded the Governor's direct orders by seizing some friendly Appomattox Indians for "allegedly" stealing corn. Berkeley reprimanded him, which caused the disgruntled Virginians to wonder which man had taken the right action. It was here the battle lines were about to be drawn.

A further problem was Berkeley's attempt to find a compromise. Berkeley's policy was to preserve the friendship and loyalty of the subject Indians while assuring the settlers that they were not hostile. To meet his first objective, the Governor relieved the local Indians of their powder and ammunition. To deal with the second objective, Berkeley called the "Long Assembly" in March 1676. Despite being judged corrupt, the assembly declared war on all "bad" Indians and set up a strong defensive zone around Virginia with a definite chain of command. The Indian wars which resulted from this directive led to the high taxes to pay the army and to the general discontent in the colony for having to shoulder that burden.

The Long Assembly was accused of corruption because of its ruling regarding trade with the Indians. Not coincidentally, most of the favoured traders were friends of Berkeley. Regular traders, some of whom had been trading independently with the local Indians for generations, were no longer allowed to trade individually. A government commission was established to monitor trading among those specially chosen and to make sure the Indians were not receiving any arms and ammunition. Bacon, one of the traders adversely affected by the Governor's order, accused Berkeley publicly of playing favorites. Bacon was also resentful because Berkeley had denied him a commission as a leader in the local militia. Bacon became the elected "General" of a group of local volunteer Indian fighters, because he promised to bear the cost of the campaigns.

After Bacon drove the Pamunkeys from their nearby lands in his first action, Berkeley exercised one of the few instances of control over the situation that he was to have, by riding to Bacon's headquarters at Henrico with 300 "well armed" gentlemen. Upon Berkeley's arrival, Bacon fled into the forest with 200 men in search of a place more to his liking for a meeting. Berkeley then issued two petitions declaring Bacon a rebel and pardoning Bacon's men if they went home peacefully. Bacon would then be relieved of the council seat that he had won for his actions that year, but he was to be given a fair trial for his disobedience.

Bacon did not, at this time, comply with the Governor's orders. Instead he next attacked the camp of the friendly Occaneecheee Indians on the Roanoke River (the border between Virginia and North Carolina), and took their store of beaver pelts.

In the face of a brewing catastrophe, Berkeley, to keep the peace, was willing to forget that Bacon was not authorized to take the law into his own hands. Berkeley agreed to pardon Bacon if he turned himself in, so he could be sent to England and tried before King Charles II. It was the House of Burgesses, however, who refused this alternative, insisting that Bacon must acknowledge his errors and beg the Governor's forgiveness. Ironically, at the same time, Bacon was then elected to the Burgesses by supportive local land owners sympathetic to his Indian campaigns. Bacon, by virtue of this election, attended the landmark Assembly of June 1676. It was during this session that he was mistakenly credited with the political reforms that came from this meeting. The reforms were prompted by the population, cutting through all class lines. Most of the reform laws dealt with reconstructing the colony's voting regulations, enabling freemen to vote, and limiting the number of years a person could hold certain offices in the colony. Most of these laws were already on the books for consideration well before Bacon was elected to the Burgesses. Bacon's only cause was his campaign against the Indians.

Upon his arrival for the June Assembly, Bacon was captured, taken before Berkeley and council and was made to apologize for his previous actions. Berkeley immediately pardoned Bacon and allowed him to take his seat in the assembly. At this time, the council still had no idea how much support was growing in defence of Bacon. The full awareness of that support hit home when Bacon suddenly left the Burgesses in the midst of heated debate over Indian problems. He returned with his forces to surround the statehouse. Once again Bacon demanded his commission, but Berkeley called his bluff and demanded that Bacon shoot him.

"Here shoot me before God, fair mark shoot."

Bacon refused. Berkeley granted Bacon's previous volunteer commission but Bacon refused it and demanded that he be made General of all forces against the Indians, which Berkeley emphatically refused and walked away. Tensions ran high as the screaming Bacon and his men surrounded the statehouse, threatening to shoot several onlooking Burgesses if Bacon was not given his commission. Finally after several agonizing moments, Berkeley gave in to Bacon's demands for campaigns against the Indians without government interference. With Berkeley's authority in shambles, Bacon's brief tenure as leader of the rebellion began.

Even in the midst of these unprecedented triumphs, however, Bacon was not without his mistakes. He allowed Berkeley to leave Jamestown in the aftermath of a surprise Indian attack on a nearby settlement. He also confiscated supplies from Gloucester and left them vulnerable to possible Indian attacks. Shortly after the immediate crisis subsided, Berkeley briefly retired to his home at Green Springs and washed his hands of the entire mess. Nathaniel Bacon dominated Jamestown from July through September 1676. During this time, Berkeley did come out of his lethargy and attempt a coup, but support for Bacon was still too strong and Berkeley was forced to flee to Accomack County on the Eastern Shore.

Feeling that it would make his triumph complete, Bacon issued his "Declaration of the People" on July 30, 1676 which stated that Berkeley was corrupt, played favorites and protected the Indians for his own selfish purposes. Bacon also issued his oath which required the swearer to promise his loyalty to Bacon in any manner necessary (i.e., armed service, supplies, verbal support). Even this tight reign could not keep the tide from changing again. Bacon's fleet was first and finally secretly infiltrated by Berkeley's men and finally captured. This was to be the turning point in the conflict, because Berkeley was once again strong enough to retake Jamestown. Bacon then followed his sinking fortunes to Jamestown and saw it heavily fortified. He made several attempts at a siege, during which he kidnapped the wives of several of Berkeley's biggest supporters, including Mrs. Nathaniel Bacon Sr., and placed them upon the ramparts of his siege fortifications while he dug his position. Infuriated, Bacon burned Jamestown to the ground on September 19, 1676. (He did save many valuable records in the statehouse.) By now his luck had clearly run out with this extreme measure and he began to have trouble controlling his men's conduct as well as keeping his popular support. Few people responded to Bacon's appeal to capture Berkeley who had since returned to the Eastern Shore for safety reasons.

On October 26th, 1676, Bacon abruptly died of the "Bloodie Flux" and "Lousey Disease" (body lice). It is possible his soldiers burned his contaminated body because it was never found. (His death inspired this little ditty; Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my hart that lice and flux should take the hangman's part".)

Shortly after Bacon's death, Berkeley regained complete control and hanged the major leaders of the rebellion. He also seized rebel property without the benefit of a trial. All in all, twenty-three persons were hanged for their part in the rebellion. Later after an investigating committee from England issued its report to King Charles II, Berkeley was relieved of the Governorship and returned to England where he died in July 1677.

Thus ended one of the most unusual and complicated chapters in Jamestown's history. Could it have been prevented or was it time for inevitable changes to take place in the colonial governmental structure? Obviously, the laws were no longer effective as far as establishing clear policies to deal with problems or to instil new lifeblood into the colony's economy. The numerous problems that hit the colony before the Rebellion gave rise to the character of Nathaniel Bacon. Due to the nature of the uprising, Bacon's Rebellion does seem at first glance to be the beginnings of America's quest for Independence. But closer examination of the facts reveals what it really was: a power struggle between two very strong personalities. Between them they almost destroyed Jamestown.

Neville, John Davenport. Bacon's Rebellion. Abstracts of Materials in the Colonial Records Project. Jamestown: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Governor and the Rebel. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957.
Webb, Stephen Saunders. 1676-The End of American Independence. New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1984.

After reading the essay, it should be easy to see why Lawrence was first called to service in the military, then to his promotion as Major and Commander, and then his partaking in the defence of the Governor.  The Smith’s have always been where the “famous” stuff was happening, but we were always behind the scenes as it were.  Yet, because of his loyalty to the Crown (or King’s Governor) and his good service, Lawrence was empowered in 1679 [as a result to sequester any other dissenters within the ranks] to command fifty men, able and well armed, who were instantly ready or “at the beat of a drum” and another two hundred men who were no further that the distance of 1 mile from the fort at which were always primed to march twenty miles in any direction.  This meant that he also was empowered to “execute” martial discipline among his soldiers (in peace or war).  A court would be assembled with Lawrence and two others of the same rank presiding over all cases, civil or criminal, that arose within their territories and even create by-laws.   To further persuade others to join the cause, the military settlers were allowed the privilege of not being arrested for any debts (save those to the King and those contacted amongst themselves) as well as taxes and levies.9   I kid you not when I say that these dealings were of great importance.  This was the actual beginnings of two things: (1) Bacon’s rebellion along with the Indian attacks spurred the feelings of recognizing the right of Americans to bear arms and (2) one of the earliest forms of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) of which all military personnel today must abide by.  As you seen above that Bacon died and Berkeley was victorious, Berkeley called a meeting of which he was to Court Martial composed on board Captain John Martin’s ship (for safety I suppose as the government seat was burnt down during the rebellion) on 11 Jan 1677.  The court martial, I assume, was to punish those leaders of the rebellion of which were hanged.  In this meeting were the following members:  Sir William Berkeley, Col. Nathanial Bacon, Sr. (the dad), Col. Southey Littleton, Col. Thomas Ballard, Lt. Col. John West, Col. Phillip Ludwell, Maj. Lawrence Smith, Col. Augustine Warner, Maj. Robert Beverly, Col. Mathew Kemp, Capt. Anthony Armistead, Col. William Claiborne, and Capt. Daniel Jenifer.10   There were three names of importance to us in this list, Lawrence was obvious, Col. Augustine Warner (who was Lawrence’s cousin and son of Capt. Augustine), and Capt. Anthony Armistead.  The last was important because it was from his letters that his family recorded much of what we know today about Lawrence in the book “The Armistead Family” dated 1907. 

Rappahannock River System Because Lawrence had taken on such a big task,  he was granted 1,666 acres (measuring approximately 5 miles long by 3 ½ miles wide which included the present fort of Rappahannock near the falls) to establish the militia.  [The adjacent picture shows the Rappahannock area].   Half of the acreage was to be his.  The condition was that he had to move to and settle the area himself; thus, he would have a vesting interest in taking up the task and defend it.  This land extended to present day Fredericksburg.  There he made three seats (towns), Epsom, Newpost, and Smithfield.  Guess which one was named for Lawrence.  The town of Smithfield was actually built by Lawrence’s son, Augustine Smith.   With the Indian issue settled for the time being he had idle time after setting up the standing army and fort.  In 1685, he obtained the titles of Lawyer and Surveyor of the Counties of York and Gloucester.11   He had dabbled in both when he was importing people from England back in 1666.  The new status added to his holdings and pocketbook for in 1686, he acquired what was called the “Temple Farm”.12   Temple Farm has a very unique history and is worth telling. 

Temple Farm began in 1633 as it was patented or “granted to” the then Governor of Virginia, Governor Harvey.  He sold the 1700 acres of land to a George Ludlow who built the first home there.  At his death, his nephew, Lt. Col. Thomas Ludlow inherited the land.  The Ludlow farm (or sometimes called Middle Plantation) lasted until Thomas’ death.  During this day and age, women and men usually remarried quickly after their spoused death as a matter of pure survival.  Ludlow’s widow remarried to the Rev. Peter Temple who gave the land its name by the time Lawrence came on the scene.13   In 1676, the house was overtaken for a period by none other that Nathaniel Bacon (Of Bacon’s Rebellion) and used as a headquarters.  In the Virginia Magazine of History (Vol. 3, No. 1, July 1895), it is recorded,  “In July, Maj. Thomas Hawkings had a commission gr-ted for ye destroying of our neighboring Indians as well as the Susquehanoths (yit our neighboring Indians left their towns within 4 days after ye first murder was committed). We ytt Major Smith went downe with 50 horse & Foote to congratulate ye good news together with an Intention to suppress ye Insolence committed. Several houses were burned, People killed and wounded in Pascataway on ye 10th July, ye worshipful Major Hawkings and Major Smith were by Nathaniel Bacon, Junior, carried away Prisoners.” Remember in the essay above that it stated that Nathaniel “confiscated supplies from Gloucester and left them vulnerable to possible Indian attacks”.  It was Lawrence’s fort that Nathaniel raided and took the supplies; therefore, it is no wonder when the Governor called upon Lawrence that he took to arms quickly and went to fight Nathaniel.   As the Bacon Headquarters was at the “Middle Plantation”, Lawrence evidently went there to fight him.  This is where Lawrence would have first seen the land and knew of its beauty.   In 1686, Lawrence purchased the land (it is believed for his second wife, Mary Hitchon) from Rev. Temple as he moved back to England and lived there till his death in August of 1700.  Yet this isn’t the most notable event in the Farm’s history.  The house passed down to Lawrence’s granddaughter, Lucy Smith, who married Mr. Augustine Moore.  The new name was the Moore House or Moore Farm and is still known as the Moore House today.  If you are deep into the Revolutionary War period of history this name would sound familiar, for this is the house where General George Washington drew up, met and had signed the Articles of Surrender ending the Revolutionary War by Lord General Cornwallis in 1781.  Most record books say that Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, which is correct, but where in Yorktown, is not always disclosed.  Why didn’t I mention the name Yorktown earlier?  It is because at the time of Lawrence’s purchase, it didn’t exist.  But low and behold there is story there to be told.   

Yorktown Map - 1700s

Yorktown was established in 1691 through an “Act of Ports and Town” that was passed by the Virginia General Assembly.  The main purpose of  the town was to establish a port where the colony could better distribute its tobacco crop to England.  This provided several benefits for the area.  As the seas were rough and subject to storms, the deep channel allowed the ships to pull far enough inland to have refuge from the storms.  By establishing a port so far inland, this meant further expansion of the colony as well.  This port would centralize the traffic of both ships and traders as the ships we see could get in and the network of creeks all allowed access to the area as well as the James River side.  It was a good decision and was named after the Duke of York who later became King James II.14   The area upon which it stands was first explored by Capt. John Smith in 1607 and over the next 80 years many had settled in the area due to its rich soil for growing crops.  Lawrence was privy to all such information when he purchased his portion.  As fate would have it, Lawrence’s Temple Farm adjoined the lands of Nicholas Martiau (and eventually Benjamin Reade) upon which Yorktown now stands.  Why did I tell this history?  So you would understand why when the Governor asked Lawrence (as County surveyor and Patron of the area) to lay out the plans for the town.  That’s right.  The town was designed and planned by our Lawrence Smith.  As payment, he received 50 acres of the same land.  The original drawing by Lawrence hangs above the clerk’s office in Yorktown.  [See sample in picture below].

 Map of Yorktown, laid out by Lawrence Smith

Major Lawrence laid out 83 town lots and received lot 72 for his efforts.  His son, Col. Lawrence Smith inherited this lot and on 10 Feb 1706 purchased lot 53 as well for the original land holder (William Simpson) forfeited his title by failing to build on the site to expand the city.15   Today the Mannsfield Hall Country Club or
Golf Course is located on the land owned by Maj. Lawrence.  As the family seat was built here, Smithfield – built by Lawrence’s son Augustine just next to Yorktown – the land was passed down to Ann Hay Taliaferro who married into Robert Taliaferro’s family (Lawrence’s best friend and brother-in-law).  Ann married Richard Brooke and it became the Brooke Family home.  The nearby town of Mansfield was destroyed (by what I know not), the name was given to the Smithfield as recommended by the Governor. 

In 1699, the Governor of Virginia recognized Lawrence as a “Gentlemen of Estate and Standing” and thus recommended him for the King’s Council to advise the Governor.16   Lawrence Smith died in August, 1700. His will is dated August 8, 1700; and the honor of which the father was deemed worthy fell upon his son, John Smith, of Gloucester, who became Counsellor and County Lieutenant, and he died in 1720. His son Col. Lawrence Smith inherited large landed estates in the Parish of Abingdon and County of Gloucester."17   Some of his wishes were written down and preserved as follows:

Essex County Deeds, Wills, 1702-04, XI - Pg 242 Assignment - Lawrence Smith to Charles                 Smith - 1700

I Lawrence Smith of the County of Gloucester do hereby assign and make over unto my son Charles Smith forever one moiety being 3150 acres of a patent to Robert Taliaferro and Lawrence Smith for 6300 acres granted 26th March 1666. [signed] 16th June 1700 Lawrence Smith
Peter Beverly
Thomas Whiting

Page 242 POWER of ATTORNEY- Lawrence Smith to John Battaile - 1700
I do hereby empower my son-in -law Capt. John Battaile for me and in my name to appear at Essex County Court and acknowledge above assignment or deed of gift unto my son Charles Smith
16, June 1700 No signature
No witnesses Test Richard Buckner CC

Deed of Gift John Smith to Charles Smith - 1704
As Mr. Robert Taliaferro and Mr. Lawrence Smith had formerly granted unto them 6300 acre in the county of Rappahannock …one half part of which Lawrence Smith did in ____ make over to his son Charles Smith but he the said Lawrence Smith dying before power of Atty. was proved…and assignment acknowledged… the half part of the said patent said doth fall an d descend by act of Law unto John Smith of the County of Gloucester eldest son and heir apparent of Law: Smith decease d…Now know ye that I the said John Smith in consideration o f the natural love and affection which I bear to my well be loved _______ Charles Smith of the County of Essex…for that I would comply with ..All things equi______ ___ and the intention & desire of my father. That such Estate & right t o the 3150 ___ pass to Charles Smith … by these presents give grant and confirm. Unto Charles Smith right and estate interest in said land 8th April 1704 John Smith
Ackd by Thomas Gregson by letter of Atty
From John Smith in Essex County Court
10th June 1704 R.B. Cl Cur

Lawrence held the coat of arms of the Smith’s of Tote, Devon County, England as did his father and brothers.18  This placed him again with our Christopher SmithLawrence Smith Family back in England born in 1591.  The last record I have found of him, other than his children, was in book called “The Marshall Family” where a deed dated 28 Sep 1682, from Francis Taliaferro, of the County of Gloucester, Gent., son and heir apparent of Robert Taliaferro, to his bother John, 1,000 acres as an advancement on account of his marriage to Sarah, dr. of Lawrence Smith. The deed recites that said Robert Taliaferro and Lawrence Smith had on the 26th of March, 1666, surveyed and patented 6,300 acres, in what is now Essex Co., Virginia".  But alas, all of  these documents give us most of the names of Lawrence’s children with Mary Dedman:  Charles Smith (b. abt. 1655 in York Co., VA), Lawrence (Col.) Smith (b. abt. 1657), John (Sir) Smith (b. abt. 1660 in Gloucester Co., VA), Sarah Smith (b. 1 Jan 1661 in Essex Co. VA), Augustine (Maj. or Col.) Smith (b. 16 Jun 1666 in Essex Co. VA), Elizabeth Smith (b. abt. 1668), and William Smith (b. abt. 1680 in Spotsylvania, VA – his mother was Mary Hitchson).19  As seen earlier, John was bestowed the honor of being the County Lieutenant and Member of the Governor’s Advisory Council concerning Gloucester Co. VA.  Lawrence, as we found out, became a Colonel in the British Army for York County VA as well as Justice of the Peace and Sheriff of York County.  Afterwards, he distinguished himself by becoming a member of the House of Burgesses.  He inherited large land estates in Abingdon Parish and Gloucester County.  Augustine became a Colonel as well in the military as well as helps his father build their homestead, Smithfield [see the earlier map of Yorktown].  He further ended as one of the first bench of justices for Spotsylvania County in 1772.  It has been suggested that he was also a member of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.  Sarah married John Taliaferro, her first cousin whose father and Lawrence Sr. did business together and became good friends.  Lawrence’s wife and Robert’s wife were sisters.  Elizabeth married Capt. John Battaile of Essex Co. VA.  She had many children: John, Lawrence, Hay, Nicholas, and others.  Charles was born in Essex co and was granted all the land that his father had acquired out of the deals he made in 1666 (3150 acres).20 
That just about does it for Lawrence Smith.  So why did I go into so much detail about a relative of ours that is not in our direct line.  No, its not a twist as before.  The reason is two fold: he was member of our family that had a very interesting life with many stories of historical significance and the fact that he was the first Smith to arrive in America, which was instrumental in our direct line coming to America.  If you remember back we were discussing the children of Christopher Smith I, of which Lawrence and his brother, Christopher  were among them.  It is now time to discuss Christopher Smith (II). 

Azure, Or (Golden) Chevron Christopher was born only 10 months behind Lawrence, on 29 Jan 1630 in Stonirakes, Lancashire, England.  As the brothers were so similar in age, it would be sensible to presume they may have been close while growing up.  Presently, I know very little about him up until 1660, but it appears that he was a quiet, calm, and patient man; well educated with many important connections.  If I am not mistaken, I do believe Christopher also wore the arms of his father (Azure, single Chevron, 3 acorns, slipped and leaved).  He was listed on the 1660 poll tax of Stonirakes, England with his wife, Elizabeth and their two sons, Richard and Thomas, and a servant named Isabelle Hargreaves; therefore, we know he did not come over to America with Lawrence.  Christopher would have been 30 years of age at this time and to have a servant indicates that he was still of some means or status.  He could have still been in the Merchant business as his ancestors were.   Then I loose him again.  The next time we find him is in America teaching English to the Indian children at the newly established William and Mary College in 1700 until 1706.21  The college had orders from the Virginia Company of London (which happened to be governed by Sir Thomas Smythe) in 1618.  But it did not eventuate until 1 May 1699.  On 5 Dec 1700 the college building became  the temporary headquarters of the Colonial Government since Jamestown still had not been rebuilt since Bacon’s rebellion in 1676.  The first president of the College was the Rev. James Blair, who not only was a clergyman for the Church of England but he was a member and president of the Governor’s Council.  But what was Christopher doing between 1660 and 1699?  I have no proof but I have a theory I would like to share based on facts we do know. 

Lawrence, Chris’ brother, was shown a niche where he could make money (earn land) by his Uncle Augustine and he put this knowledge to use back in 1665 when he imported 3 people from England.  If he could do it with three people, why not more; and if he could bring over any one, why not his family?  England and America supported this train of thought.  More settlers meant more tax revenue to the King.  The more of them that left England for America, meant they still had control over the people but they were outsourcing many problems, such as over population and famine.  What better way to get your family over on a good thing and get more land to boot!  We can see the benefit of moving to America for Lawrence.  What was the benefit for Chris’ to move to America?  He had a family to support.  Why would he want to leave England?  In 1663, the Dutch (Holland) were ravaged with the Black Death, or the Plague.  Although never totally free from the disease since the 1300s, England had just learned to live with it.  The King stopped all trade with the Dutch as a control measure, and eventually ended in a small conflict.  However, in the spring of 1665, people began to die rapidly.  The disease had made it to England.  The monarchs left, the merchants, the lawyers, the clergy, and even doctors fled the country.  The English in London were so scared, thinking the cats and dogs were the cause, killed every cat and dog in the town which only helped it spread as rats were the cause.  The People even treated the letters that arrived from London with contempt.  By summer, there was an average of 1000 deaths per week.  It is estimated that at least 100,000 people eventually died in 1665.  Those who lived were quarantined to their houses, the entire country was in a panic.  By August, the count is estimated at 6000 deaths per week.  The King didn’t return until February 1666.  [Just as a side note, the plague really didn’t stop in London till the Great Fire of London in September 1666.22  It is amazing how God works in our lives:  Two great plagues with one cancelling the other out.  It sounds more like God was trying to say something.]  Although the worst was over, the fear of it returning was always on the minds of the English.  Does this sound like a good enough reason to leave?  By why go to America?  Chris’ family was there.  He had his closest brother there, his Aunt and Uncle Warner, their children, and he probably knew more.  Land was readily available, the air was clean, and the land was rich.  It was a chance at a new beginning; thus, leaving behind the old dirty and infested cities of England.  I would say the positive list outweighed the negative list.  Now remember they had no telephones back then.  Communication took place via “Snail Mail”.  An average trip across the Atlantic took about 3 months to arrive at the destination.  For example, if Lawrence knew of the problems in England by July 1665, his letter to his brother requesting him to come over would have reached him at the earliest October 1665.  Then another trip to reply and make some plans would have been around January 1666 back to Lawrence.  Then Lawrence’s reply in agreement of the arrangements would have got back to England by April 1666.  I would guess that in June 1666, Christopher had packed up his family and sailed for America arriving about September 1666.  Keep in mind the deal that Lawrence and his brother-in-law, Robert Taliaferro had.  They were granted 6,300 acres for sponsoring or paying for the travels of between 126 and 173 (found two conflicting records) and expecting each to be of some agreement of pay back for the expense.  Wouldn’t you agree if at all possible, each would have tried to get their families out of England?  I believe, Chris and his family were among these hundred or so immigrants.  Don’t forget who his grandfather and father were or his Uncle Augustine; each had connections that would have helped them obtain transport easily.  But what was he doing between 1667 and 1699?  The only thing I have found to answer this (other than raising a family) was that he worked as a Clerk of the Jamestown Church (part of the protestant Church of England).  Today that seems meaningless, but in that day and age, the Clerk was a descent job.  This verifies his connections as well as his education.  Now as the head of the Church was, none other than the Rev. James Blair as we read earlier, who just happened to be on the Governor’s Council and not to mention his brother’s reputation and connections, it is possible to see how Christopher would be found teaching at the newly formed William and Mary College.  But he was teaching Indian children how to speak English.  Have you ever tried to speak another language?  Now have you tried to teach it?  Imagine trying to teach those of a race who hated you and wanted you to leave (via the Indian attacks) your own language.  Patience would most definitely be a virtue.  But to be able to teach a different language, the teacher must be able to speak both sides, wouldn’t you agree?  I assume then, if Chris was a clerk for the church, he spent much of his time attempting to minister to those around him, including the Indians of which he had to learn the language over time.  Rev. Blair knew of his qualities and probably brought Chris with him to the college.   This is the best theory I can derive for the 30 odd years Christopher was missing.   An obvious question would be that if he were a Clerk for the Church of England, surely there would be some documentation recording his name at the Church.  And being in a family that full well knew the value of Land, he should have been granted some land during this stage as well.  I am still looking. 

In 1708, dated June 6th we find a court record from the Library of Congress in Virginia with Christopher’s name as follows:

June 6, 1708, Indenture between Major George Marable, Mr. Benjamin, Mr. Christopher Smith and Lydia, his wife, Trustees of William Broadribb, Gentleman, late of James City, deceased, of the one part and Joseph Chemerson of the county aforesaid of the other part--Whereas William Broadribb by his last will and testament May 3, 1703--Christopher Smith and Lyddie his wife, then wife of ye said testator, sold unto the said Joseph Chemerson the said land being formerly granted by patent June 5, 1654--24 acres to Anthony Coleman, assigned to John Fitchet and by him assigned to John Phipps and William Harris and by said Phipps assigned his right and share to ye said Major Morrison. Wit: W. Lightfoot, Wm. Trayser, George Marable, Benjamin Eggleston, Christopher Smith, Lydia Smith. James City, VA, Court June 6, 1709, to be recorded. Ambler Manuscript # 78--Library of Congress--Virginia.23

This tells us a few things other than the obvious sale of land:  (1) it reconfirms Chris’ existence in America in our time frame, (2) it tells us he was still alive in 1709, and (3) it lets us know that he was married a second time to a Lydia Smith after 1708.  Mr. Broadribb wrote his will in 1703 but was still married to Lydia and died in 1708.  So if Christopher’s name is on this court case as her husband dated 1709, you can see that people didn’t waist time back then in finding a new spouse.  Times were tough to survive; you had to just expect and get over the death of a husband (or wife) and move on.  Although I don’t know when she was born, we know that in 1703, Christopher’s first wife, Elizabeth, died in at the age of 73; therefore, Chris’ must have been about 78 when he married Lydia of which I assume was within the same age group.  With this in mind, it is evident that all of his children were of the first wife.  I have seen many reports from other researchers that say Lydia was the mother of some of his children, but with the proof we have here, we can sort these out.

Again, I found Christopher on a petition this time dated 27 Oct 1712 on behalf of him and at least 11 others for the value of a horse lost in the County’s service to the County officials of King William Co. VA.  He signed it “Christopher Smith, Lieutenant of Rangers in King William County”.24   This presumes many things.  First of all, he is still here in 1712 (now age 81 – the air must have agreed with him, for most people didn’t live that long).  Next, we discover that he was in King William County, VA as an officer in the Rangers.  The rangers were a Militia outfit (under the British Army) established as a first line defence mainly against the Indians. Next, that even at 81, he was able to get around and be a valuable asset to the community.  His education and ability to deal with others is apparent in these records, first he is a teacher at a college, handles the affairs of his wife’s late husband, petitions the local government on behalf of others, and next we see he is chosen a the writer of two more petitions.  This is where he obtained his title as Lt. Christopher Smith, at age 81.  On 6 May 1716, Chris who signed as Master of the Indian Children Ordination, petitioned for £25 per year to acquire pasturage for his horse, firewood for his chamber, and for the liberty of teaching now English Children.  His request derived from the now even fewer Indian children (tensions were growing between the Red man and White man) as he now didn’t travel much to the Native settlements and that those who did come to his place were now mixing with the growing English children and he felt that a partition be built to separate the two races.  This was purely for safety’s sake.  He petitioned that the cost of the wall be charged to the College [William & Mary].25   I do not know if he was granted his request, but I did find that he put in a second petition later that year on 3 Nov 1716.  He and a Benjamin Arnold received a grant for 2,400 acres of land in King William County on this day and then re-petitioned for another 5,000 acres in the same county of which was granted.26   What these two men were going to do with 7,400 acres I have yet to find out.  The last document found that bore his name was this:

On May 6, 1730, on petition of David Woodruff that Christopher Smith deceased about 13 years ago, surveyed 400 acres of land lying on the East-North-East River in Spotsylvania County, VA, but the said Christopher Smith never in his lifetime, nor his son, Ambrose Joshua Smith, since his decease sued out any patent for the said land and praying that he may leave to enter for the same. It is ordered that Ambrose Joshua Smith, son of the said Christopher Smith, deceased, have notice to attend the board at the next court to show cause when the petitioner ought not to be admitted to an entry for ye land. Virginia Council Journals, Virginia Magazine, v. 36.27

Lt. Christopher Smith Family Chris had apparently survey more land in 1716 yet never closed the deal and someone wanted the land as no one had claimed or paid for the land.  This document stated that Chris had been dead for 13 years at the time this petition was submitted; therefore, this is how we found out how we deduce he died between Dec. 1716 and early May 1717.  This little piece of information, not only gave us the ending of Christopher Smith but gave us the confirmed connection we needed to continue his linage, via his son Ambrose Joshua Smith. 

Before I jump too far ahead, just who was his family?  I mentioned briefly earlier Chris had a wife named Elizabeth.  Her actual name is Mary Elizabeth Fairbanks.  She was born 13 Feb 1622 and died 1703.  She was the daughter of Jonathan Fairbanks and Grace Lee Smith.  More on the Fairbanks family can be found in the Smith Branches Section.   The children of Christopher and Elizabeth are as follows:  John Smith, Richard Smith, Thomas Smith, Ambrose Joshua Smith, Christopher Smith, Charles Smith, and Ann Smith.  Eight children was about average in the colonial days.  Here we have some calculations to do.  We know that Chris (II) was born in 1630.  He had a son, John, of whom I have no idea of his birth, but is recorded as having died in 1746; this tells me he lived to at least an average length life as most of his children were born in the late 1650s and mid 1670s.  John married an Elizabeth Smith and had 4 children: Samuel, Joseph, John, and Mary.  The second son, Richard, was recorded earlier along with his brother, Thomas, of which both were born in 1656 and 1658, respectively.  As Chris was still in England, it is assumed that both boys (and John as well) were born in Lancashire, England.   I know nothing else of these two boys.  The fourth child, Ambrose, was born about 1661.  We proved his existence with the last record of his father.  Now based on our theory of when Chris brought his family over to America, we would assume that he was born in Lancashire, England as well.  That would have put a family of 6 on the migration from England to America.  We will discuss more on Ambrose in a while.  The Fifth child or son, Christopher, was born about 1670 and died about 1739.  Clearly he was named after the linage (his grandfather and father) and he had an interesting life, but that will have to wait for the Smith Branches section of the book.   I will, however, tell you that on 20 Jun 1796, on a petition about Christopher Smith, he was nominated and approved as the New Kent County, VA Surveyor.28   This information will be useful in time.  Notice before we go further the distance between Ambrose and Christopher – 9 years.  It is during this time that I proposed that the family migrated to America.  See how nicely this all fits together.  Now the Sixth child, Charles, was born about 1675 and died around 1768.  He married a lady named Sarah and had 6 children: William, Elizabeth, Lucy, Susannah, Ann, and Sarah.  The last child, Ann, was born about 1676.  This is all I know for the moment on Ms. Ann.

Again, before I go further, I want do two things.  I want to show the ages of these Smith’s and I want to recap where we are in history and who is now in America.  If we go back to Richard Smyth in the 1460s, we see that he lived to be 67 years old, while his son, John, lived to the age of 65.  These were great ages considering the times.  If we go back to Thomas “Customer” Smythe, we find that he lived to the age of 69, and his son, Sir Thomas Smythe lived to 67.  So far the average age is 67 years old.  Then with our next ancestor, Christopher, he lived to 57.  Very short, Why?  Consider the times he was living in.  England was at the height of the renaissance with a new industrial age emerging, yet they knew very little in hygiene and medicine.  Also, you must consider that in England during this time, there was almost a black cloud around as there was a new energy source – coal.  Then you have to consider all the diseases that were festering and finally erupted only 20 years after his death.  Then we go to his sons, Lawrence and Christopher (II).  Lawrence lived till the age of 71 and Chris lived till he was 86.  Wow, what a jump.  What was the difference?  I don’t think it was the technology at the time, I believe it was the quality of life.  America was fresh, clean, and new.  The land produced a good quality food.  The water was clean.  People in the south still live on average till there late 70s and even to the late 90s.  Then lets look at Chris’s children.  Of those we have the dates for; Ambrose lived till he was 97, Christopher lived till he was 69, and Charles lived till he was 93.   Whoa… this is a dramatic difference.  There is just something about living in America. 

Next I want to just summarize where we are in the family.  Sir Thomas Smythe was a man who became of some notoriety.  He was as smart as his father.  His father not only was good in business, he was good in placing his family where they could benefit the most.  Sir Thomas is proof of this, and he too knew the value of having the right people around you.  Classic example is how his children married off.  His first born, John, married into royalty.  His second born, Robert, did the same.  His third son, Christopher, did not marry into royalty, but into a very influential family, the Townleys & Warners [both families are described in detail in the Smith Branches section].  And this is just our direct line, you should see those branches of the brothers/sisters and cousins in the 1500s.  I cannot comment on Christopher’s (I) other children as I have no data, other than Lawrence and Christopher (II).  Neither of these children carried on the tradition of marrying into the “right” families, yet did better for them by bringing them to America.  As we see above, their lives were much better for it.  Yet we still had some connections here as some of our relatives made names for themselves (this was the real gold found in the new world – being able to be the best you could be).  Through the Townleys we had family connections with the Warner family who were of some influence and became even more prominent in America.  Through these Warners we also had connections to the Grymes and Lee Families (of which were mostly Generals in the Military, and ancestors of General Robert E. Lee), the Lewis and Meriwether Families (of which became notable explorers), the most influential family at the time being the Washington Family (President Washington’s family), and links to the current Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II.  And we cannot forget the Taliaferro Family of which we married into as well.  Lawrence and Christopher rubbed shoulders with the privileged as the Smith family name still carried some weight. 
Lee, General Robert E. Queen Elizabeth II Lewis, Capt. Meriwether Washington, President George

The following is a report written by Hector Bolitho discussing in detail the connections I have spoke of but in the interest of the Queen and not the Smiths:

The Queen's American Ancestors
by Hector Bolitho
When Queen Elizabeth II visited Virginia in October 1957, there was one episode overlooked in the brilliant celebrations; she was given an oil painting--no more than a copy, of a copy, of a portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller; but it was of her American ancestor, Augustine Warner II, and it adds a surprising face to the immense collection of portraits of the Queen's forbears whose roots were otherwise still in Britain or Europe.

Mr. Anthony Wagner, Richmond Herald, was the first to trace this remarkable link with colonial Virginia that relates Queen Elizabeth, through a Bowes-Lyon marriage, back to both George Washington and General Robert E. Lee. Augustine Warner I, born in England or Wales, in 1611, and who immigrated to Virginia when he was 39, was the ancestor of all three of them, through the marriages of his son and daughter. As Mr. Wagner wrote at the time of his research; "It is somewhat ironical that among Washington's nearest of kin now living should be numbered the Queen of Great Britain".

The first Augustine Warner must have been a gentleman of some importance; he used the arms of an English family--now difficult to identify--and he left England in the first year of Oliver Cromwell's "reign", no doubt to satisfy his beliefs, and to save his fortune. When he arrived in Virginia he built a fine house on an arm of the Severn, that flows into the York River and then into Chesapeake Bay, where the first English emigrants had sailed, in 1607, and formed the tragic settlement of Jamestown. There were dangers still, but Augustine Warner prospered; he became a Colonel of the Militia, a Justice, and a Burgess in the General Assembly. He sent his only son, also Augustine, back to England to be educated at the Merchant Taylor's School, for it was the habit with these southerners to cling to their Englishness, while the emigrants to the northern states tried to mould a separate American character, and forget the land of their nativity.

Augustine II also became a public man; when he returned to Virginia, with his smattering of English education, he prospered and was elected Burgess for Gloucester County, then Speaker to the House. He was a gallant ancestor for any family tree, with more vigour and will than the faint copy of the Kneller portrait reveals. As soon as Nathaniel Bacon began his armed rebellion against the royal governor, in 1676, Warner led troops against him, in the King's name. There is a record of him returning to Warner Hall after the rebellion was quelled: he was described as "a rather thorough Royalist . . . an honest, worthy Person and most Loyal sufferer by the Late Rebels; who was plundered as much as any, and yet speaks as little of his losses, tho' they were very great".

General Robert E. Lee
Augustine Warner II, had a sister, Sarah, who married Lawrence Townley, and they were the ancestors of General Robert E. Lee. Augustine himself married Mildred Reade, daughter of a neighbour. She also was a person of character, worthy to be the ancestress of both Queen Elizabeth II and George Washington. When Augustine died in 1681, his widow, with her daughters to defend, kept her husband's arms and ammunition and refused to give them up until they were taken from her, by force.

The name Warner disappears from the story: the only memorials to Augustine I and Augustine II are an early Victorian mansion, still called Warner Hall, built on the site of their mid-seventeenth century house--and the little graveyard near by. I went there, the winter before last, and scraped the snow from the flat tomb stones so that I could read the names, and the dates of their birth and death.

George Washington
The interest moves to the daughters of Augustine II, and his widow, who had the care of them when her husband died. The eldest, named Mildred, after her mother, married Lawrence Washington and was grandmother of the first President of the United States of America. Mary was married to John Smith, of Purton, another fine plantation nearby. They are the branch of the tree that interests us most because it is from them that we trace the way, through the Bowes-Lyon family, to the present Queen.

The life of these 17th Century planters on the Tidewater of Virginia was comfortable and almost elegant. There was still danger from a2 chance savage arrow, for the Indians were not yet all subdued. But the houses of the prosperous settlers from England were set in splendid gardens; they were furnished with libraries and treasures brought across the Atlantic and served by numerous negro slaves. Many of the houses remain, in 20th Century Virginia, alienated from the less tranquil Yankee north and preferring the ghosts of what was, to the realism of the rest of America.

Mary Warner, married to John Smith, remained in Virginia, but their daughter, Mildred, brought the blood back to England; she was the wife of Robert Porteus, another Virginian planter and a member of "His Majesty's Council or Upper House or Legislature in that Province". His house on the Tidewater had the nice name of New Bottle. Robert Porteus was married in 1700 and he stayed in Virginia until 1720, long enough for Mildred to present him with the first of his big brood of nineteen children.

Changes in Virginia
By 1720, the pattern of life in this part of Virginia had changed. From the early vicissitudes of the Jamestown colony had emerged a small landed aristocracy, of families like the Warners, the Smiths and the ancestors of Robert Porteus. But the hinterland was now being opened up by hordes of new settlers, and there were three times as many negroes as there had been at the beginning of the century. Small farmers and planters interfered with the patriarchal pattern in which Robert Porteus had been brought up, so he decided to emigrate to England, with his family, "quitting a situation so perfectly independent and comfortable" so that his children could have "better instruction" at English schools.

Robert Porteus settled with his family, first at York and then at Ripon. He was buried in the south aisle of the Cathedral and his white marble memorial, high on the wall, tells us, in an amiable flow of words, the details of his life. We read,

Near this Place are deposited the Remains of ROBERT PORTEUS ESQR. a native of Virginia, & a Member of His Majesty's Council or upper House of Legislature in that Province. From thence he removed to England, and resided first at York, afterwards in this town, where he died August 8, 1758, Aged 79 years.

Duchess of Marlborough
With the return of Robert Porteus a new theme came into the history of the relationship between Virginia and England. He was an absentee landlord and the victim of "negligence or dishonesty" on the part of his agents who sent him, as he complained, "little more than a fourth part of what ought to have been his real income". But he remained in England and when his first wife died, he was married again, to another Virginian--Elizabeth Jennings, said to be distantly related to Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough. They produced a second family, including one remarkable son--the eighteenth of the brood of nineteen. He was Beilby Porteus, the scholar and poet who became Bishop of Leicester and then, in 1787, Bishop of London. The vigorous blood enlivened by the generations in Virginia had not become pale: Beilby Porteus was a belligerent leader in the ecclesiastical changes of his time; he was an ardent evangelist, a supporter of Sunday schools, and was strong-willed enough to turn against the source of his family fortunes in his fight to abolish slavery.

The Bowes-Lyon Family
The important son, who belongs to the theme of this story, leading to the Bowes-Lyon family, had been born in Virginia in 1705. He was named Robert, after his father, and he also went into the Church, but more modestly than his younger half-brother.

We walk near the Cambridgeshire-Bedfordshire border for the next scene in the story: from Potton, three miles to the parish of Cockayne Hatley.

Robert Porteus had been admitted to Cambridge University in 1725; in 1736, when he was thirty-one years old, he married Judith, daughter of Thomas Cockayne, whose family had been lords of the manor for 300 years. The story loses its colonial flavour and becomes quietly English. Within the park of Thomas Cockayne was the little church of St. John the Baptist, with its Flemish carvings, to which Robert Porteus was appointed rector.

From then, through four modest generations, we come to the marriage of importance. The Reverend Robert Porteus had named his daughter Mildred, in memory of Virginia, and she married Robert Hodgson of Congleton, in the County of Chester. Their daughter, Frances Dora, married Claude Lyon-Bowes--later Bowes-Lyon--13th Earl of Strathmore, in 1853.

Thus we come, through nine generations, from Augustine Warner, rejecting England in Cromwell's time, to his descendant, married to Lord Strathmore when Queen Victoria had been on the throne for sixteen years. The Queen's notions about the marriages of her children were to change soon after this; there came a time when, disgusted by the jealousies and intrigues of princes in Europe, she encouraged a different fate for her family, she wrote that "Money without goodness or affection was useless" and that "a young lady of the nobility, well brought up," was far better as a wife for one of her sons than "an unsuitable princess".

The pattern of alliance was being formed, quietly: in 1855, the 14th Earl of Strathmore was born and in 1881, he married a daughter of the Rev. Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinek. They were the parents of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother whose marriage to the Duke of York, in 1923, inspires the monarchy with a power of character and graciousness that has enriched it into our own time.

Back to Christopher’s (II) children, lets discuss Mr. Ambrose Joshua Smith.  Ambrose, being born about 1661 in England and migrating with his family to America when he was around the age of 5 or 6, grew up among all the afore mentioned friends and family and learned his lessons well.  After some further research and deliberation, I found in a book written by a Nell Marion Nugent that claimed that “Joshua Smith was transported to Virginia [on] October 10, 166? by Captain Edmond Bowman who was granted land in Accomack County, VA for the transport of 24 persons.”29    Wait a minute!  I had a theory earlier about Christopher Smith (Ambrose’s father) and when he came over and I explained the process upon which I based my theory which ended up with an arrival date close to September 1666.  This document gets me to the 1660s, as it doesn’t have the final year and it claims the month of October.  I would say my theory based on all that I knew and accompanied with this new data as support would say that I am pretty close with out having a specific document.  Information like this makes me feel better about some of my other presumptions.  The next record I gathered on Ambrose was dated 1675, when he would have been just 14 or 15 years old.  In Mrs. Nugent’s book (which I will use a good bit as she has done some deeper research which involving Ambrose), said on 21 Mar 1675 a Mr. Robert Price obtained 450 acres in Middlesex County, VA where the boundaries thereof were described as between other owners boundaries which included Joshua Smith.30   Thus, it is fair to assume that he owned land at an early age.   No doubt he listened to his kinfolk as they sat around and discussed ways of making a living.   It appears he had a head for business like his ancestors as we will see.  (Just a note:  we will be running in to the 1700s here for a while, but only because Ambrose was born in the 1600s and lived a long life well into the 1700s.)  Next we find him staying busy on 23 Apr 1703 as he transported 12 people to America and was granted 600 acres in King William County, VA (location as per book: between Herring Creeks, beginning on the south side of the run of Upper Herring Creek, 1/4-mile above the mouth of the Machacomico, southwest to Turkey Perch Branch).  On the 24th of April 1703, Ambrose Smith, John Hurt, and Benjamin Arnold were granted an untold amount of land and on 23 October of the same year, these gentlemen allotted 150 acres of their grant to a Thomas Thomason (location per book:  in King William County, VA, on a branch of the Governors SW, beginning at Col. Johnson's plantation to the old field near Thomason's house) for transporting 3 people to the colony.31   There are many genealogist who claim Ambrose to have been born on 11 Jun 1703, but it is quite clear that this cannot be true based on the evidence already seen.

Hold on again.  First of all, don’t you recognize the name of Benjamin Arnold?  I am sure it was Benjamin that in 1716 petitioned along with Ambrose’s father, Christopher for about 7,400 acres and got it.  It appears that there is a little racket, however legal, going on.  I would just settle for a measly 40 acres.  Now, not only did Ambrose have his family to rely on, he had some friends that he was doing business with.  But Ambrose wasn’t satisfied with this.  It appears that he and a group of business partners began to grant and sell land they had earned as seen with Mr. Thomason.  On 16 June 1714, it was recorded that Ambrose Smith, George Smith, and a few others, granted a Mr. John Madison and Daniel Coleman of King and Queen Country 2,000 acres near the fork of the Mattopony River for the transportation of 40 people.32    What was going on?  Ambrose had moved up in the world learning from all those in his family.  As power and wealth in America was valued by the amount of land one had, it seems that Ambrose took it one step further.  Now not only could he get any land he wanted, he was controlling who it went to.  This position must have been a highly sought after and lucrative, for instead of going to the bank, he now was the bank.   The last grant found in Mrs. Nugent’s book, was on 9 Jul 1724, where Ambrose was granted 400 acres in Hanover County, VA.33    Ambrose was working the system from both angles.  He must have been making a killing.  For him to do all this, Ambrose could not have done it on his own.  I am sure he utilized his family relations (sounds like a mob story doesn’t it) to pull a few strings.  As America was still a colony, she was ruled by a Governor who in most cases only held the title as honorary and never actually set foot in America.  It was usually left to the Lt. Governor to carry out all the duties.  The Governor and/or the Lt. Governor, if not aristocracy, were part of the British Army and therefore used their subordinate officers as local regents.  This was sort of like being under martial law yet being so far from the motherland, it was more or less as an appointed official who had the King as his backup.  What did we learn about our family ties?  Many of these were in the Military, and some were high ranking officers.  These ties were in essence in control of the land and its wealth.  It becomes a bit clearer as to how Ambrose was able to pull those strings.  He had everything figured out.  All he had to do was be loyal to his family which appeared to everyone else he was loyal to the Crown.  This is where the ground usually starts to fall out from under your feet.  And it soon did as we will see later during the revolution era with his son. 

Ambrose Smith Family

In the late 1690s, it is believed that Ambrose married a Ms. Judith Spann.  She was born about 1675 and she died between 1718 and 1720.  She gave Ambrose two children that I am aware of: Nicholas and Catherine.  Not long after, in his late 50s, Ambrose began to settle down a bit believe it or not.  Ambrose married Judith Anderson, daughter of Thomas Anderson and Agnes Gannaway, sometime between 1718 and 1720, in Louisa County VA. Judith was born in 1704 in Hanover County, VA. She died in August, 1758 in Chatham County, NC but not before giving Ambrose 7 children.  The first recorded mention of her being Ambrose's wife was July 1, 1735, when they witness the deed between Edward McGehee of King William County, VA and Samuel McGehee of Hanover County, VA.  Imagine this; by 1720 Ambrose is 59 years old.  He must have found that fountain of youth as he lived an even longer life.  In 1737, Charles, Christopher and Francis Smith [children of Ambrose] had adjoining land in Hanover County, VA.  In 1749, Ambrose Joshua, Charles, Francis, and Christopher Smith all owned land near each other in Louisa County, VA.  On August 14, 1725, Ambrose Joshua Smith was granted 2,000 acres on Elk Creek adjacent to Overton Fork (History of Louisa County, VA, Harris). Ambrose was one of the church wardens for Fredericksville Parish, Louisa County, VA.34     Do you remember what was going on in America about this time?  We will get in to depth in the next chapter, but for now the main issue surrounding Ambrose was Indian revolts.  Being roughly 69 by 1730, he was a tough old man.  He was a well known land broker (surveyor and speculator), still producing children, a warden of the church, and had become a renowned Indian fighter of sorts in Virginia.  What 70 year old do you know could keep this up?  Ambrose was a bad, bad man! - Quite the opposite of his father who tried to teach the Indians.  But this was far from an ending.  It was reported that in the Hanover County area, he owned on one deed over 3,000 acres, close to he same amount in Anson Co. NC (there is no date as to when he purchased it), and again about 3,000 acres in Albermarle County, VA on Priddy’s Creek.  Most of this land was Wilderness where the Indians lived.  Starting out at an early age and obtaining some of his positions in life, it is not that hard believe he had so much land.  As he was in control over some of it, he would always get the land just outside the current boundaries (outside the control of the colony and within the range of the livid Indians).  Cheap land of which he knew the colonies would be expanding to and he could sell for a huge profit.   The location of this land also gives weight to the story of Ambrose being a big Indian fighter.  He could look good in the public eye as he was “protecting the community” but it was more likely he was protecting his investments;  you couldn’t sell your land to a nice family if the Natives were there trying to run you off. 

We found him again on 5 July 1734.  He had been granted a track of land by a patent on 17 Aug 1725 in St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover Co. VA.  He sold part of his land to a George Brack (date unknown) who was reselling a portion (150 acres and a plantation) of the same land to a Champness Terry of St. Martins’s Parish for a sum of £30 current money. The record gave the exact location and a list of those who had previous owned the land.35   In 1741, we find that Ambrose acquired 4,372 acres in Hanover Co. on both sides of the Pritties Creek from a Robert Rowe and Thomas Walker which was close to the 600 acres owned by his brother, Christopher Smith (also a Surveyor), which was on both sides of the Snelson’s Branch and Harrowing Creek bought in 1730.  Then in a book by a Mr. Gwathmey, we found that Ambrose at the age of 81, on 13 Dec 1742 was elected on the Justices of the first court ever held in Louisa County, VA.36   It is quite evident that Ambrose was a leading citizen in the community.  Still going strong, he leased and eventually sold on 26-27 January 1746, 2,086 acres of land on the Pritties creek (1986 acres from the 4,372 acres he purchased on 5 Jun 1741 plus another 100 acres) to John Dixon of Hanover County.  It was signed and acknowledged by “Ambrose Joshua Smith, Gentleman, and Judith, his wife, relinquished right of dower.”37   The suffix “Gentleman” is not a special sign today, but in the 1600s and 1700s, you were considered a step above the rest, but not of rank.  It was the equivalent to having a military rank without being in the military; it was a respect thing.  I don’t fully understand the last part about his wife.  If this land was part of her dowry, how did Ambrose acquire it in 1741?  There are some questions to be answered still here.  And again on the 30-31 October 1747, it is recorded that Ambrose Joshua Smith of Fredericksville, Louisa Co. VA leased and eventually sold more of the same 4,372 in the amount of 600 acres plus another 13 acres he had purchased from a Joseph Martin.  This left Ambrose with 1786 acres of the original large grant.  On the same day he conveyed this amount (1,786 acres) plus a separate 200 acres to a John Henry, Gentleman.38   Why do we mention all this detail?  This is where he was living at the time with a water mill, grist mill, and all that goes with it.  He was moving out.  But to where?  Any other deeds after 1747 only bore his children’s name in the Virginia area except for one.  A deed between two other men in 1751 mentioned the Corner of one of Ambrose’s plots as a reference point for the sale of land.39  

Remember earlier I mentioned that he had some land down in Anson Co. NC?  Well, by 1750 we found Ambrose and Judith in Edgecombe County, NC.  Why did the 86 year old man move in 1747?  I do not know, but I assume it had something to do with either the Indians or the frontier.  One other possibility, is that he had relatives in the Edgecombe Co. area on his wife’s side (Spann or Anderson I don’t know).  If we consider the earlier assumption, Ambrose had always been involved in the development of the frontier.  After a while, the colonization began to catch up with him.  He was surrounded by people now.  Used to his freedom, he may have seen a chance to escape to the frontier again.  He did own land in North Carolina any way and there was much to do to colonize it.  By why stop in Edgecombe County?  If we consider the earlier reason of the Natives, we need to pay attention to the surroundings.  It was in 1755 that the French and Indian War broke out; thus, there must have been events that boiled up to the war.  As many of the land owners and colonists were in Virginia, this is where I would have begun my attacks if I were an Indian.  Now if he moved because of both reasons, it even fits better.  Yet I still don’t know why he stopped in Edgecombe Co. (Possibly the second reason, family).  I do know that while he was there he was elected as Captain of the local Militia where many of his relatives (sons, brothers, nephews, etc.) were in his company.  This may suggest that he had family there and stayed for a while to help with the attacks.  As he would have been the oldest (and dare I say wisest) people in the area, you can see why he was elected Captain.  This is why we give him the title of Captain Ambrose Joshua Smith, Esq.  At the age of 91, he was elected Esquire Justice of Edgecombe Co. NC in 1752.  In a list of Militiamen, formed from the Bertie Co. North Carolina Company in 1741, written in 1754 it shows that Captain Smith was removed from the county.  So where was this old man going?  I knew a man who lived to the ripe old age of 95 and up until he died, he could still split wood better than me, drive a tractor better than me, correct me on my gardening techniques, and give sound advice on any matter you could think of.  When I think of Ambrose I think of my friend, Earnest Cannon.  We found his children later in what is now Moore Co. North Carolina, but then it began as Bertie Co., then to Cumberland and Anson counties by the 1760s.  It was this land I believe he was headed for.  As a matter of fact, I almost believe his children were already there living on the land and he was going to his family. 

Just to put a cap on the fact that Ambrose was in North Carolina, on 1 Dec 1755 (and recorded on 27 Jan 1756) a deed was found stating that was for some land that previously belonged to Ambrose.  To prove it was his, they also placed in the deed the currently whereabouts of Ambrose at the time of the deed, which was the province of North Carolina.40    But over in the province of North Carolina, we found our own proof through land dealings.  There were many deeds belonging to Ambrose in Rowan Co. Orange Co., Edgecombe Co., Anson Co., and Chatham Co., all of which are in North Carolina.  On 20 July 1758, we saw two deeds:  (1) Ambrose purchased from the state government 302 acres in Rowan Co. NC.41    and (2) he purchased 450 acres in Orange Co. NC (location description: in the Parish of St. Matthew's on both sides of Horse Branch between Rocky River and Bear Creek, joining near a small glade, both sides of both forks of Horse Branch and both sides of two small branches.)  He signed it A. J. Smith.42   This is not his last recording, but it was before his death.  During his travels surveying land, he was murdered along with his wife.  That’s right, I said murdered.  Ambrose always knew the dangers of living on the edge of the wilderness and for 97 years avoided the inevitable.  Yet in 1758, the French and Indian Wars were into their 3rd year of discontent.  Those caught in its path were given no mercy.  As Ambrose was surveying new lands (which the Natives felt belong to them) he was seen as the enemy and a Cherokee Indian Raiding Party showed no mercy even towards his old age, nor his wife.  It seemed that a man that looked as if he was going to live forever finally met his end at the hands of the very ones he profited from.  A Smith researcher, Jennings Smith, who just happens to be of the Ambrose line had this to say about Ambrose:  “Ambrose was found in Louisa Co. VA.  He was well documented in VA records.  He has tremendous land holdings in VA.  Later in life he started selling off and dealing some in Old Anson Co. NC and other parts of NC.  Somewhere and somehow, he and his wife were massacred by a Cherokee raiding party....  He had numerous sons, of which most have been identified among the earlier settlers of Old Cumberland Co. NC.  Some of these have been traced to MS.  I believe the earliest Smiths (Old Moses Smith for example) came into the area from the Natchez District were of our line.  Most of these were loyalists who were running from the Americans after the Revolution.  They had been ordered to leave the country, but instead headed for the Spanish Territory around Natchez.” 

As Ambrose died with many holdings to his name, you would assume that his children would be given the proceeds or at least there was some sort of will to say who was to get what.  But the man whose name is accredited for taking care of his estates was a John Spann Jr.  I have been unable to find out just who he was.  Due to the age of Ambrose, I assume that John Spann was not a brother to his late wife, but rather a nephew.  His name suggests he was the son of a John Spann Sr., but again this is just assumptions.  The following records were of Ambrose and his estates in NC:

    Ambrose J. Smith's estate was appraised and recorded May Court, 1763, in Orange County, NC, return made by John Spann, Jr. He left 610 acres in Rowan County, NC and 250 acres in Orange County, NC (later Chatham County). Bondsmen on his estate were Benjamin Blake and Benjamin Saxon. The estate was to be sold on Monday, December 15, 1760.

    One tract of land lying in Orange County containing 250 acres; 1 tract lying in Rowan County containing 610 acres; 5 cows and calves; 8 young cattle; 7 horse kind; 17 hogs; 3 feather beds and furniture; 3 pots; 1 looking glass; 2 pewter basins; 8 plates; 2 butter dishes; 7 spoons; a teapot; 4 earthen dishes; 2 plates; 2 butter pots; 1 box iron and heater; 1 brass candlestick; 1 salt sallor (cellar); 1 box of seals; 2 Wright; 1 box of money seals; 2 flax; 1 gun site; 1 frying pan; 1 cut saw; 1 hand saw; 1 ____ and 1 marrow; 1 auger; 1 chisel 1 drawing knife; 1 share and colter mattock; 1 _____; 2 iron wedges; 5 flint plates; 6 wooden plates; 1 pr. of fire tongs; surveying instruments; 2 sets razon, hone and strap; 1 wheel flax; 1 pr. of guard wheels; 1 chest of drawers; 1 pr. of mill stones and iron works; 1 case bottles; 1 loom; 2 man saddles; 1 pr. of cotton cards; 2 bells; 3 chairs; 4 books and grindstones; 1 candle mould; 1 pr. of pot hooks; 1 pr. of flask hooks, 3 read books; 4 knives; 6 forks; 1 pr. of iron, brass, some shoemaker tools; money, dues. Signed: Joseph Boogs. Exor. John Spann, Jr.43

My next question is where is the Smith Children?  So then it is time to discuss his family.  As we found out, Ambrose was married twice.  The first wife was Ms. Judith Spann.  And they had two children that I am aware of: Nicholas Smith and Catherine Smith.  Nicholas was born about 1700 in what we assume Hanover Co. Virginia as this is where Ambrose was living at this time.  Catherine was born about 1702 and died about 1795.  She married a William Mullins (b. 1677 / d. 1734) on 9 Feb 1720.  They had 6 children: John, William, James, Agnes, Mary, Joshua.  After Judith’s death around 1719, Ambrose remarried again to a Ms. Judith Ann Anderson who was born about 1704.  So Ambrose married at the age of roughly 30 at his first marriage and then his second marriage he was about a 60 year old man marring about an 18 year old girl.  This must have been an arranged marriage.  Times were tough on the frontier and to be able to marry a daughter off to a man who could take care of her was a big plus.  But as Ambrose had another 37 years of “spunk” in him, Ms. Anderson was able to give him 7 more children:  John, Judith, Francis, Zachariah, Christopher, William, and Charles.  The first thing I noticed was that many of the names matched those of his uncles.  John, Christopher, and Charles are from his ancestors.  Judith is obviously from the mother’s side upon which I believe Zachariah and William also come from the mother’s side. 

The youngest children were Charles and William.  I have only their names and no dates; thus, I cannot comment as to who they were or where they lived.  I do find some Smith’s of these names in and around the surrounding counties of Moore Co. NC where our next chapter will pick up, but I cannot verify these are one in the same.  Christopher B. Smith was born about 1735 and died around 1809.  Christopher married a Ms. Mary Mauldin and they had 12 children:  Meade, Charles, Jesse, Christopher, Hampton, Harmon, Francis, Mary, Zachariah, Joshua, Nancy, and Rebecca.  Notice the many recognizable names – just a small fact that helps verify the connections.  Zachariah was born 19 Aug 1734 and died abt. 1812.  Now he married a Mrs. Francis Prestwood and together they had 12 children:  William Moses Smith, John, Elizabeth, James, Peter, Sarah, Zachariah, Mary, Barbara, Martha, Francesca, and Nancy.  Notice the middle name of the first child.  Could this be the Moses Smith that Jennings Smith was talking about earlier?  Only time will tell.  Then the next oldest child was Francis Marion Smith.  Francis was born abt. 1733 and died on 26 Jan 1791.  At first glance, I began to be excited as I though he may have bee the Original “Swamp Fox” (General Francis Marion) in the revolutionary war (Mel Gibson portrayed him in the movie “The Patriot”).  But alas, the original swamp fox is of French origins as well from South Carolina.  The original’s birth date was about 1732 in S.C. and he died on 26 Feb 1795.  Pretty close in the dates, but no cigars.  Our Francis married a Ms. Frances Dumas and they had one child that I have found named Unity.  It is still uncanny that our Francis was born basically the same time as the General and died fairly close and then named his child Unity, which could signify the times of Union amongst the colonies.  I know it is a pretty big stretch, but I can dream can’t I?  Francis’ older sister was named Judith Smith.  Any guesses where that name came from?  She was born about 1732 and I have been unable to discover any more about her.  Now the oldest son of Judith Anderson was John Smith born about 1721.  As there were an abundance of John Smith’s in world, I believe he was nicknamed John “Little River” Smith because he lived on the Little River in NC.  This would easily help Identify him.  The "Lower Little River” rises in South West Moore Co.  and flows East through Moore Co. which forms the Northern boundary of Fort Bragg in Hoke and Cumberland counties and in part along the Cumberland / Harnett county line to the Cape Fear River.  John has an interesting life, but we will discuss him later.  His children were living among our direct ancestors in NC and will come in handy when identifying our own line.  His children are as follows:  Jasper, Joseph, Charles, James, Polly, William, Gabriel, Jesse, Thomas.   The last child, who was the oldest born and only child of Judith Spann was, Nicholas Smith who was born about 1700.  Nicholas lived an uneventful life but appears to have been some sort of land broker of which he no doubt learned from his father.   How ever, Nicholas is of the utmost importance to us as he is our direct ancestor.  And we shall pick up his story in the next chapter.

By: Jerry A. Smith,
Smith Family Researcher

1. Gribbin, John:  Science - A History 1543 to 2001; the Penguin Press, 2002, p. 68 - 106.
2. McLeod, Toby:  The Thirty Years’ War; p.1.
3. Linder, Doug; Essay: Bishop James Ussher sets the date for Creation; 2004, p. 1-2.
4. Dover Castle:  Heritage Trail Publications, Ltd.: 1998.
5. McCurdy, Mary B. D.:  “The Townleys and Warners of Virginia and their English Connection”, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 81, p. 361, footnote 151.
6. Greer, George C.: “Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623 – 1666”, 1912 & 2004;
7. Pilcher, Margaret C.: “Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher, and Kindred Families”, 1911, p. 431. 
8. McCulley, Susan:  Essay on Bacon’s Rebellion.  1987.
9. Green, Raleigh T. : “Dr. Philip Slaughter’s History of St. Mark’s Parish in the Genealogical and Historical Notes on Culpeper County Virginia – Embracing a revised and enlarged Edition”, Baltimore Southern Book Company, 1958. p. 98.  
10. McIllhany, Hugh M.: “Some Virginia Families”; Stoneburner and Prufer Printers, 1903.
11. Garber, Virginia Armistead: “The Armistead Family 1635 – 1910”, p. 97 – 98.
12. Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. 3, p. 36.  &  William and Mary Magazine, Vol. 1. No. 2, p. 6.
13. William and Mary Quarterly, I, 5; Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 4.; Vol. 5, No. 3; Vol. 8, No. 2; Vol. 9, No. 1;  Vol. 10, No.1 & 4; Vol. 20, No. 4;  Vol. 11, No. 1 & 2.
14. Green, Raleigh T. : “Dr. Philip Slaughter’s History of St. Mark’s Parish in the Genealogical and Historical Notes on Culpeper County Virginia – Embracing a revised and enlarged Edition”, Baltimore Southern Book Company, 1958. p. 98
15. Trudell, Clyde F. “Colonial Yorktown”; Thomas Publication, Gettysburg, PA. p. 111.
16. McIllhany, Hugh M.: “Some Virginia Families”; Stoneburner and Prufer Printers, 1903.
17. Henning’s “Statutes of Virginia”, Vol 6, p. 407.
18. Garber, Virginia Armistead: “The Armistead Family 1635 – 1910”, p. 97 – 98.
19. McIllhany, Hugh M.: “Some Virginia Families”; Stoneburner and Prufer Printers, 1903.
20. William & Mary Quarterly, Vol. 2, p. 5 and Vol. 9, p. 42.  Also from Calender of Virginia State Papers, Vol. I, p. 44.
21. William and Mary Quarterly, volume 14, page 37
22. Ross, David: English History-London Plague of 1665, 2001.
23. James City, VA Court docket dated 6 Jun 1709:  Recorded in the Ambler Manuscript #78 in the Library of Congress in VA.
24. William and Mary Quarterly, v. 21, page. 249.
25. William and Mary Quarterly, v. 7, page. 235.
26. McIlwaine, Mr. Unknown: Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia
27. Virginia Council Journals, Virginia Magazine, v. 36
28. Virginia Historical Magazine, v. 4, page. 175
29. Nugent, Nell Marion: Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.455
30. Nugent, Nell Marion: Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.175
31. Nugent, Nell Marion: Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.74 & 7
32. Nugent, Nell Marion: Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.151
33. Nugent, Nell Marion: Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.265
34. Louisa County, VA – Fredericksville Parish Minutes: 28 Jan 1745; p. 7.
35. Hanover County, VA, records 1733-1735, p. 96-98.
36. Gwathmey: “Twelve Virginia Counties”, p. 266.
37. Louisa County, VA, deed book A, p. 268-272.
38. Louisa County, VA, deed book A, p. 297-299
39. Louisa County, VA, deed book A, p. 455-456.
40. Louisa County, VA, deed book B, p. 88-90
41. Rowan County, NC, deed book 4, p. 357-359
42. Granville District, SC, book 11, p. 32
43. Orange County, NC, estates 1758-1785, p. 112

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