I. Isaac Smith
By Elizabeth Smith Burden
Smith Family Historian
What little we know about the father of our Ezekiel has taken many years and many different individuals untold hours of searching and left as many questions as there are answers. There are many problems in location the "correct" ISAAC SMITH. One problem is the fact there were several men by the same name living in Virginia, during the same time period, all claiming Revolutionary War service. Documentation has also been hampered by the lact of records due to many fires in the courthouses, the passing of time, as well as the many other things that happen to paers that should have been kept and recorded. Only a small portion of the records remain. One of our distant cousins, Darryl J. Diemer, has put his findings in a book entitled "The Descendants of Richard Smith of Northumberland County, Virginia". He includes a lot of documentation for his reasoning and conclusions on each generation. The book is well worth purchasing. If your are interested, connact lavonne@firstname.lastname@example.org for his address.
The author of the above book believes our immigrant ancestor was RICHARD SMITH, born about 1627, probably in England, came to America about 1657, and settled in Northunberland County, Virginia. Nothing is known of the mother of Richard's son, WILLIAM SMITH (our line), who was said to have been born in England. Richard married again, a recent widow named Anne Hull. Anne had young children by her first husband, John Hull, who seemed to have taken very good care of her. At the time of John's death she retained quite a number of her own possessions, which seems rather unusual for that time period, and she seemed to have had very nice clothing. Prior to the marriage between Richard Smith and Ann (?) Hull, he made a bond (a prenuptial agreement?) regarding her right to retain possession of her things (a listing follows). On September 1669, Richard Smith was granted one-third portion of John Hull's estate as a dower for Anne Hull.
Apparently Richard Smith had these children and possible others: William, John, Thomas, and Richard.
William Smith (our ancestor?) married Elizabeth Downing born December 30, 1669, the daughter of William Downing, Jr. and his wife Mary (?). The wills of William and Elizabth Smith were both probated in Orance Co VA, on 25 October 1739, indicating they died very close to the same time. They had several children: Edwin, John, Samuel, Issac (SR), Benjamin, Elizabeth and Ann.
This Issac (SR) (our line?) married Margaret Rucker, daughter of Captain John Rucker and his wife, Susannah Coghill. Margaret was born about 1738. It is not known for sure if Margaret was the mother of all of his children. The records indicate there was a problem between Issac Sr. and Ruckers. Isaac (SR) and wife, Margaret (Rucker) Smith appear in a great many land transaction found in the records of Orange, Culpeper and Madision Counties, Virginia. The children of Issac and Margaret were thought to be: Winifred, Elizabeth, Henrietta, Issac, Mary, Melinda, William, Edwin, Downing Rucker and Susannah. The son, Isaac, is referred to as Isaac (alias Sims/Simms) Smith, born about 1745. The D.A.R. will accept papers in the Revolutionary War service of Isaac (Sr) and his son's, Isaac (alias Simms), service in not longer being accepted until further proof of his service can be documented. The D.A.R. Pariot Index, Volume *, page 626 lists Isaac Smith (wife Margaret Rucker), service in the Culpeper County militia during the American Revoution. It appears to me that the records of father and son may have been lumped together. More effort needs to be put into researching this.
Isaac (alias Simms) Smith probably married more than one wife, one of which was thought to have been the daughter of William Simms of Culpeper County, Virginia. Some say her name was Hannah Simms, but we have no proof. A marriage records has not been found that is definitely our Issac.
Marriages found for Issac Smith:
Isaac Smith & Mary Sewell, 1783, Botetour Co VA.
Isaac Smith & Mary Level, 12 August 1873, Botetour Co VA, Charles Ellison Sec/Wit
Isaac Smith &Susanna Smith, 4 Feb 1791, Culpeper Co VA
Isaac (alis Simms) had several children. His eldest child was Isaac Smith, Jr. who moved into Kentucky, and was the ancestory of Darry Diemer (the above author mention in the first paragraph). This Isaac (alias Simms) is also believed to be the father of our Ezekiel Smith (see story below on Samuel Ezekiel Smith)
Ezekiel's grand-daughter, Sara Ann (Dingess) Wellman, daughter of Gertrude (Smith) Dingess, told her children the original spelling of the name was SMYTH or SMYTHE and they originally came from England.
Isaac's (alias Simms) great-grandson, Thomas Philip Smith, grandson of Benjamin Smith, sent a letter to the Curator of the Alamo Museum in San Antonio, Texas in 1953, writing about his grandfather, Benjamin Smith and our Ezekiel Smith, stating, "Their father, Captain 'Ike' Smith was with Lafayette at Yorktown. Since his first ancstor, an officer of Cromwell's was kicked out of England in 1660..
A similar story was written about 1935, by the daughter of Paris Smith, Carrie Wilson (Smith) Johnson, who wrote, "In our family history, I was informed that Isaac and three brothers came from England, and settled first in Richmond, thence to Rockingham. That they came directly after Civil Wars in England. This Isaac was in all probability the father or grandfather of my Revolutionary ancestor, Issac Smith. Grandfather Ezekiel, claimed that his people claimed to have come from Hesse, Germany. That they were French German, which is probably the case, going from there to England to fight under Cromwell.
Isaac (alias Simms) Smith lived in Augusta Co VA, the part that in 1778, became Rockingham County. He married a Miss Simms, in 1770, and in 1783, went to the New River with Charles Walker. (The James Stewart Family of Augusta County, Virginia, and Descendants 1740-1960, by Florence Smith Dickerson).
The following records probably pertain to Isaac (alias Simms) Smith:
Isaac Smith, Larkin Stowers, and John Peters, Sr., were Revolutionary War soldiers who married three Simms sisters and moved into the New River Settlement of Virginia following war. (A History of the New River Settlement etc., by D. E. Johnston) The wife of John Peters, Sr. was thought to have been Frances Simms. John Peter's sister, Margaret Peters, married Charles Walker, and they also moved into the New River area.
This is only a portion of the information Elizabeth Smith Burder included in her booklet on Isaac Smith.
Elizabeth Smith Burden writes in her booklet, Ezekiel Smith and Susanna Dingess, the following information regarding our grandfather. She states He was the son of Isaac Smith (Guardianship Bond made by Peter Dingess, Montgomery Co. Courthouse, Christiansburg, VA; metal file containing loose wills). Issac Smith is listed, 20 March 1788, Montgomery Co. VA. Tax List "C", 1 horse. (No proof this is father of Ezekiel). 2 February 1802, Montgomery Co. VA,$200 Bond between Peter Dingus & John Connally & Justices of the Court of Montgomery Co.: John Taylor, John Preston, Thomas Shannon & John Kent, to become guardian of Ezekiel Smith, Orphan of Issac Smith deceased. (Montgomery Co. Courthouse, Christiansburg, Va; metal file containing loose will). 2 February 1802, Montgomery Co. VA Ezekiel Smith & Peter Dingus gave $150 Bond unto James Monroe, Esquire, Governor or Chief Magistrate of the Commonwealth of VA, for marriage license between Ezekiel Smith & Susanna Dingess. (Montgomery Co Courthouse, Christiansburg, VA; metal file containing loose wills)
In an article published Sunday, October 13, 1996 in the Gazette Enterprise Image, page 1B, Seguin, Guadalupe Co., Tx, Elizabeth Smith Burden wrote an article that coincided with the Smith Family Reunion and gave some more background of Ezkiel Smith. She states that Ezekiel Smith was, at the very least, an adventurer. Some say he was a guide for the wagon trains traveling to the Ohio River. We find his name many times in Montgomery, Giles, Kanawha, and Logan County Virginia. Ezkiel Smith and all but a daughter left Virginia and headed west as so many families did. Gertrude Smith married her cousin, William Anderson Dingess, and remained in Virginia, spending their lives in Logan County, West Virginia. French Smith and his wife, remained in Virginia for a short time but soon headed for Texas.
In 1830, Ezekiel, Susanna and their son, Charles Anderson Smith, lived on Honey Creek and operated a mill in Warren County, Ill. Also living in the same county were Paris, Dorcas and their two daughters, Harriet and Susan Jane.
Elizabeth Smith Burden goes on to say news of unclaimed Iowa territories spread rapidly in 1833. Two miles south of the present-day city of Burlington in July 1833, were Ezekiel, Paris and Peter Dingess Smith. Wedding bells were in the air for Peter Dingess Smith. He married Miss Jane Darbyshire, Feb 14, 1833 at the home of her parents in McDonough County, Ill. On April 15, 1835, Paris and Charles Anderson Smith were authorized to operate a ferry across the Mississipp River at their cabin.
Texas was the place for Ezkiel Smith and his son French Smith. They had heard the call. Each received 1280 acres of land from the Board of Land Commissioners of Gonzales, stating the date of their immigration to Texas was May 1837. They both served with Mathew Caldwell's Rangers as well as other civic duties.
Paris and Peter Dingess Smith received their land patents in Demoine County, Iowa in 1839 and decided to answer their family's call to Texas. Placing everything they owned upon flat boats, traveling at night and hiding from Indians in the brush by day, they made their own way down the Mississippi River to New Orleans where Peter's oldest son died of cholera. They arrived in Seguin (Guadalupe Co., Tx) on Sunday, July 12, 1840 having left Iowa in April of the same year
Ezkiel and his sons participated in the Woll Expedition and the Vasques Campaign. Ezekiel and French were also in the battle of Plum Creek and the Texas Army on the Somerville Expedition. French returned home and Ezkiel, age 61, became the oldest man on the Mier Expedition.
There have been many published copies of the letter Ezekiel Smith wrote to his wife in 1843. The letter below was copied from one found in the EZEKIEL SMITH file in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, on the grounds of the Alamo by Elizabeth Smith Burden. She also states that she has no way of knowing what was in the original letter.
Ezekiel Smith particpated in the Mier Expedition. Colonel W. S. Fisher took a group of men and entered Mexico at Mier and captured the town. However, the Mexicans convenced the group to surrender when they told them that there was no way to retreat; reinforcements were on the way to Mier. The group surrender thinking they would be treated as prisoners of war. However, this was not the case. Instead they suffered an incredible journey into Mexico. The following is a letter from Ezkiel to his wife, Susanna Dingess.
Tampico Mexico, April 9, 1843 (April 29, 1843)
After a long and a tedious march of forty-two days being subject to privation and degradation that feroicty could invent, I arrived at this place with four other Texas prisoners. It is difficult for one to under take to describe to you my sufferings and hardship I have endured and in fact it would almost appear incredible that a man of my age and affected as I am could endre it, and I believe nothing but a hope of seeing my friends again, to live and die with those I love has kept me alive.
From Matamoras to this place is five hundred miles but we were counter marched one hundred miles which made the way six hundred. I cannot say the officers were tyrannical. We were used better than their own men and that treatment was bad eough, in fact we came to the conclusion that to resist at the risk of our lives rather than to submit to anything tyranical. I was unable to march much of the way and was put into a cart together with eight sick soldiers and they covered with vermin. I can give you some idea of my disagreeable situation by informing you of the manner in which the soldiers rode in the carts. In the morning they wre thrown into the carts, those not able to sit up laid on the bottom and those able to sit up seated on top of them. I saw three die in this manner, smothered to death. Thanks be to God that I was able to sit up.
Part of the time I had a horse without a saddle or bridle and generally one of the sick placed behind me. As regards the food part of the time we had only one scant meal aday.
Since we came to this place we have experienced a great change. We have more libery and plenty to eat. How long we will be here I have no idea, but think, not long.
The American consul visited us the day after we arrived here and gave us ten dollar, he also informed us he intended to do more, that he had spoken to the Americans of the place with respect to our situation and they are all of one mind and willing and if we are to judge from what the Americans that came here before us got we will want nothing. They received $500.00 ($5.00) in money and good clothes and went from here o horseback.
On receipt of this I want you to write directing your mail to the American Minister to Mexico. It would relieve me very much to hear from you and to learn you are well. My health is extremely good considering the experiences I have been subjected to and there has been so much change in our treatment that it has enlivened my spirits and seems the next thing to liberty itself. I hope and pray that the time is not far distant when I shall meet my family again never to part until we are parted to meet no more in this world of trouble.
My horse was taken. Luckily not the one I rode from home. I traded with Willie Jackson for a very good sorrel bald-faced horse with white legs and a dent in the forehead over the eye. I have an excellent saddle also.
Remember me to my friends, paticularly Major Erskine's family. I am your truly affectionate husband.
/s/ Ezekiel Smith
P.S. I forgot to say that on my arrival at this place I was naked as when I came into the world with the exceptions of an old pair of pantaloons, the sum of 100 and in nearly tropical climate. Man cannot image what he can endure until he has tried. ES
>Ezkiel Smith returned home to his beloved family and friends in Seguin, Guadalupe Co. He had been taken by boat from Mexico to New Orleans, and made his way back to Seguin, 25 November 1844.