About John Smith
Ref: History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia by William C. Pendleton
Capt. John Smith, born 1698 in England, migrated to Ulster County, Ireland, married Margaret Schoenhafter, came to America, settled in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1740. served as captain in the Augusta Militia, and served in the Vestry in 1760, died in 1776. -------------------- Re: Col. John Smith of Virginia (Rev. War)
Posted by: Elizabeth, email@example.com July 06, 1998 In Reply to: Re:
Col. John Smith of Virginia (Rev. War) by Robert L. Perry was born in 1698 in England, settled with his parents in Province of Ulster, Ireland. is said to have been an officer of the British army and married in 1719 Margaret___; immigrated to America about 1730 with his wife and children; first in Chester County, Pa about 1740, moved with the McDowells and others to what is now Augusta Co. Va, then Orange and on June 26,1740 proved the importation of himself, his wife Margaret, their sons Abraham, Henry, Daniel, John and Joseph from the colony of Pa. In 1738 Augusta County was taken from Orange County, the first court being held in Staunton December 9,1745, prior to which time all the legal business of Augusta county was transacted at Orange Court House. June 16, 1742 John Smith qualified as Captain of the militia for Augusta county. As a protection against the inroads of the Indians, he had several rude forts constructed in the Valley, one of which was in the county of Botetourt, on the James river, where Pattonsburg was located.
Capt. John Smith, with seventeen men, held a fort, called Fort Vause- variously written Vass, Voss and Vaus -- which was located on the head-waters of the Roanoke river, about ten miles from where Christiansburg now stands. This fort was invested by three hundred French and Indians and, after a brave resistance for three days, the garrison agreed to surrender the fort, upon a stipulation allowing them to return to their homes. Astonished and moritifed at finding so few men in the fort, the enemy disregarded the terms of surrender and held the survivors-now only nine or ten in number as prisoners. Two of Capt. Smith's sons were with him: John, who was wounded during the siege and killed by an Indian after the surrender. The prisoners were taken down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and on the way down the other young Smith (Joseph) who had survived the disaster at the fort, died. Only five prisoners survived the trip. Capt. Smith and two others were then sent to France and he alone returned to America after two years. When the treaty was signed at the fort, Capt. Smith was so cautious as to secure the paper by ripping open the lining of his coat and sewing it between. On arriving at Paris, he produced the agreement and was promptly released.
He lived until the Revolutionary War began and he was greatly distressed when he was refused because of his advanced age. He was 78. He died shortly after this at Smithlands, the residence of his son Daniel, two miles north of Harrisonburg, Va.
He and his wife Margaret had Abraham, b.1722 in Ireland m. Sarah Caldwell Daniel, b.1724 in Ireland, died 1781 Henry, b.1727, m. Amy ______, John Jr. b.1730, killed at Fort Vause, June 25, 1756 Joseph, b.1734 in Chester Co. Pa., taken prisoner at Ft. Vause Margaret, b.1741, m. Hugh Reece Bowen
John Smith prepared a will dated 7 May 1753
I, John Smith of Augusta County and Colony of Virginia being very sick in body but in perfect Senses do make this my last will and testament, first of all, I leave to Margaret my beloved wife, all my stock of Horses and Cattle, Household Goods, and all of my Moveables Whatsoever. She shall also make choice of any one tract of land that I have, which she is to hold during her Life and at her said Death, , the land to fall to my daughter, Louisa. I also constitute and appoint Daniel Harrison, Silas Hart, and my son, Abraham Smith to be my Executors, and it is my will that they shall sell all or as much of my land, excepting above tracts, as will pay all of my Debts and funeral charges; and what Ever of my Land Remains unsold to pay my Debts, to be divided Equally between my sons William, Joseph, David, Jonathan and James Jordan, my Executors to pay Five Shillings to my sons Abraham, Henry, Daniel and John, & I do hereby Revoke, make null and void all other wills made by me before this date, and thereby Pronounce and Publicly Declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, in Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal this Seventh Day of May, One Thousand Seven Hundred & Fifty Three.
In presence of
James Patton O Smith
Robt Renick --
Humphry Madison Jn
According to John Houston Harrison's Settlers By The Long Gray Trail
Captain John Smith, will dated 7 May 1753, mentioned:
Abraham, b. Ulster, Ireland, 1722, married Sarah Caldwell of Augusta Co., Va.
Henry, b. 1722, married Amey Camey
Daniel, b. Ulster, 1724, m. abt. 1751, Jane, d/o Capt. Daniel Harrison
John, Jr., b. 1730, killed at Fort Vause by French, 25 June 1756
Joseph, b. 1734 in Chester Co., Pa., died as POW of French, 1756
Daughter, Margaret Louisa, b. 1741, married Hugh Reece Bowen, he died 7 Oct 1780.
The following is from Cecil B. Smyth's book, The Smith/Smyth Family in America:
John Smith was born in England in 1701 and later settled with his parents in Ulster, Northern Ireland. He married Margaret (maiden name was possibly Schoenhester) in 1719 and they arrived in the Colonies at Philadelphia between 1730 and 1732 with five sons: Abraham, Henry, Daniel, John and Joseph Smith. Before 1738 John and his family were living in what is today Augusta Co., Va., on the Middle River northwest of the Beverly Manor Patent.
In Orange County, Va. on 26 June 1740, John Smith made oath that he imported himself, Margaret, his wife, Abraham, Henry, Daniel, John and Joseph Smith, and Robert McDowell as his own charges from Ireland to Philadelphia and from thence into this colony and that this is the first time of his proving his and their right in order to obtain land.
Another son, Patrick or William was born before 1741. While living in the Middle River, three more children were born, David, Jonathan and Louisa. They were baptized at the Old Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church. The youngest, James, who is an ancestor of the author, was born after the Smiths moved to Botentourt County, Va.
In 1742 John was a militia Captain and commanded Militia Company # 1. He was an agent for the James River and Roanoke Land Grant of 100,000 acres and because of this, moved to the James River area in about 1749 and resided near the present town of Buchanan for the rest of his life. He acquired several tracts of land along the James River and elsewhere, including 400 acres in what is now downtown Roanoke, Va. He was an Anglican (Episcopal) faith and was a vestryman from 1747 to 1756 and from 1758 to 1769.
"Capt. John Smith born 1698, in England, settled with his parents in Province of Ulster, Ireland; is said to have been an officer of the British Army, & married in 1719 to Margaret Schomhaeffer, immigrated to America about 1730 with his wife & children, settled, 1st in Chester Co. PA about 1740 moved with the McDowells & others, to what is now Augusta Co. VA, then Orange Co. & on 26 Jun
1740 proved the importance of himself, His wife Margaret, & their son Abraham, Henry, Daniel, John &
Joseph from the colony of Penna. 26 Jun 1742, John Smith qualified at Orange Court House as Captain of the Militia for Augusta Co.
As a protection against the inroads of Indians. He had several crude forts, or block houses,
constructed in the Valley, one of which was in the county of Botetourt, on the James River, where
Pattonsburg was subsequently located. This fort became the scene of memorable events.
Capt. John Smith, with 17 men, held a fort called Fort Vause/Vass/Vance/ Vaus, which was
located on the headwaters of the Roanoke River, about 10 miles from where Christianburg now stands. This fort was attacked by 300 French & Indians, & after a brave resistance for 3 days, the garrison agreed to surrender the fort, upon stipulation allowing them to return to their homes. Astonished & mortified at finding so few men in the fort, the enemy disregarded the terms of surrender & held the survivors, now only 9 or 10 in number, as prisoners. 2 of Capt. Smith's sons were with him: John who was wounded during the siege, & killed by an Indian after the surrender. The other prisoners were taken down the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, & on the way down, the other reach New Orleans. Capt. Smith & 2 others were sent to France, & Capt. Smith returned to America alone after a 2 year absence."When the treaty was signed at the fort, Capt. Smith was so cautious as to secure the paper, by ripping open the lining of his coat & sewing it between, which defeated the most diligent search for it. On arriving in Paris, Capt. Smith produced the agreement & upon exhibiting it to the proper authorities, was promptly released, & with his 2 companions was sent to London, where he received quite an ovation, a street being named in his honor. He told them of the immense territory of the Southwestern country.
Mr. Waddell, in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography , says: ' Capt. John Smith
commanded a company in the disastrous Sandy Creek expedition, sent out on Feb. 18, 1756, and it I
wouId seem that after his return he was stationed at Fort Vause: also, that while Capt. Smith was detained as a prisoner and absent two years, his pay during that time, and also that of his son, Lieut. John Smith, Jr., up to the time he was killed at Fort Vause, on June 25, 1756, was provided for by an
Assembly, passed by the House of Burgesses.-Hening's Va Statutes.' As further proof of the accounts given by Mr. Waddell, & Benjamin. H. Smith, the Editor of the Virginia Magazine of History. and Biography, adds: " A register of the persons who have been either wounded, killed, or taken prisoner by the enemy in Augusta county, as also such as have made their escape and among many other names and dates are found the following: " June 25th, 1756, at Fort Vause, Capt. John prisoner returned 1758, Lieut. John Smith (Jr.), killed, Joseph Smith, prisoner, died on the way to New Orleans.'
After his return to this country, probably in impaired health he seems to have taken no
active part in Military affairs. He survived until the Revolutionary War began, & he applied for a commission & was refused on account of his advanced age, then 78 years, which greatly offended him. He died shortly after this at Smithland, the residence of his son Daniel, 2 miles north of Harrisonburg, VA.
His sons Abraham, Henry, & Daniel, were also prominent in the French & Indian War. His
son-in-law Hugh Reece Bowen, was killed at the battle of King's Mountain, near the close of the fight as a Lieutenant of Campbell's Regiment of Riflemen, Virginia Militia, on Oct 7, 1780 & left many highly
respectable descendents in southwestern Virginia, Tazewell, Wythe, & Montgomery Counties.
Capt. Smith was one of the first Vestry members for the Parish of Augusta; their first meeting was held Apr 5, 1747, at which date John Smith & others took the oath appointed by the act of
Parliament as such. He was present at all meetings from 1747 to Nov 23, 1756 ; this meeting John Matthews Jr. was chosen Vestryman in place of the captured Capt. John Smith, on Nov 20, 1758, Capt. John Smith having returned to Virginia was chosen Vestryman, which position he held until May 25, 1760. Capt. John Smith, having received from the colony grants of land for his service as early as 1754.
On March 30, 1745 John Smith, Gentleman had patented 400 acres of land in the great
survey on Mossy Creek & 400 acres on Spring Creek; for many years the records of Augusta show that he & his sons handled many thousands of acres of the best land in the Shenandoah Valley."
Source: " Gleanings of VA History" by Wm Boogher, Genealogical Pub. Co. Baltimore, 1965, pp 330-334, The story of the Smith, Harrison, & Cravens families in VA.
-------------------- Col. John Smith had many colorful adventures during the French and Indian War, at one point being captured and held prisoner by the French for two years. He was born in England, moved with his family to Ulster, Ireland, where he met and married his wife in 1819. She was a refugee for religious reasons from Holland. They then moved to the new world, eventually settling in Virginia.