Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Elias Guess Smith, son of Peter Smith of Caswell County, North Carolina

Elias Guess Smith (son of Peter and Jemima Smith) was born March 21, 1775, in Virginia it is thought; died March 3, 1830, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky; married Hannah Vaught in January 1801.

Hannah was a daughter of Christian and Hanna (Crum) Vaught; born April 30, 1781; died in 1842.  She was a sister to John Vaught (m. Elizabeth Martin), Simon Vaught (m. Elizabeth Zimmerman, 1799), Gilbert Vaught, and probably others.  Simon must have been a minister for he is shown as the person who performed many marriages in Muhlenberg County.  It is said that some of the Vaught family came from Prussia and that John came to Kentucky from Pennsylvania.  John was a Revolutionary soldier.  Some people by the name of Vaught lived in White County, Illinois.

Elias G. Smith received 120 acres of land in Muhlenberg County, on Pond River, on September 5, 1823 (Jillson, Book 27, page 142).

Elias Guess Smith was appointed on May 25, 1807, “to survey a road from Fugates sugar camp branch to Littlepage's ferry” and to "keep the same in repair...”  On February 12, 1815, he sold 200 acres of land on Pond River to Elias Smith (son of John Smith who died in 1803, said to be a relative of Elias G.) of Hopkins County for the sum of $1,000. Hannah relinquished her right of dower.

Of Elias G. and Hannah Smith's twelve children, evidently only seven reached adulthood:

Rachel S. Smith, born September 17, 1801; died 1801
Jesse W. Smith, born February 15, 1803
Martha V. Smith, born May 10, 1805
William B. Smith, born March 7, 1807; died February 1882
George L. Smith, born January 23, 1809
Willis S. Smith, born February 3, 1811; died in infancy
John Everett Vaught Smith, born September 27, 1812
Louisa S. Smith, born July 27, 1815; died January 1832
Sisera B. Smith, born May 21, 1817
Elias G. Smith, Jr., born June 27, 1820
Elijah F. Smith, born August 28, 1822; died 1823
Mary E. Smith, born March 8, 1827

Hannah Smith and Simon Vaught appeared before the Justice of the Peace for Muhlenberg County on March 3, 1830, and made oath that on the same date Elias G. Smith “voluntarily gave and delivered into the actual possession of his son William B. Smith, in their presence, all his personal estate without exception, he, the said Elias G. Smith, being in his perfect mind...”  This oath was, in March County Court 1830, declared to be the “nuncupative will of Elias G. Smith, deceased...”  It can only be concluded that Elias G. Smith died on March 3, 1830, and that his widow gave oath the same day. (Appendix F)

I have wondered why everything was given to son William B. Smith, who was then 23 years of age.  The reason, if one may speculate a bit, may be that William B. was the oldest child at home.  His older brother, Jesse W., would have been 27 and probably was married.  Martha V. was already married and all the other living children would have been younger than William B.  It must have been that, with “all his personal estate without exception," Elias G. gave him, too, the responsibility of looking after the family.

The activities of this family of children have proved to be somewhat elusive, in that they are not as well documented as the affairs of some of their cousins. From the "old Smith Bible” now in possession of Mrs. Hattie Brown, of Island, Kentucky (one of the great granddaughters of Elias and Hannah), have been obtained the birth and death dates of this couple’s children.  

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