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Mary Powell Smith
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Birth: 1800
Virginia, USA
Death: unknown
Virginia, USA

2nd w/o Capt Washington Smith.

Birth: in Nansemond county, Virginia

CLICK on image for caption.

NOTE: All save one of the buildings associated with La'Fayette's 1825 brief visit have disappeared through the years--a disastrous fire destroyed the Castle Inn, the Nansemond County Courthouse, and the Holladay Hotel in 1837 and the Indian Queen is also gone [as of 1890]. Only Washington Smith's Ordinary [Somerton Inn], has survived almost untouched through the years, but it is now threatened to be demolished by the City of Suffolk. The City of Suffolk has, around August 2012, ordered the Smith home, "Somerton Inn"(Ordinary), at 8442 Arthur drive, be demolished if extensive repairs are not made, to wit: Owned privately and occupied until just recently, the original portion of the Ordinary [Somerton Inn], is solid and virtually unchanged from its early use as a tavern. However, the deteriorated condition of the addition, when brought to the attention of the City of Suffolk, precipitated an order for extensive repairs to be made within 30 days or the City would demolish the entire building, sending the bill to the property owners who are descendants of the tavernkeeper, Washington Smith. View article. It is most encourging when we discovered the Inn being restored on visit January 2013, with, in part, funds from the very active Suffolk-Nasemond County Historical Society.

The village of Somerton began in the 17th century when Sir Thomas Jernigan (also spelled Jarnigan) of Somerleyton, Suffolk county, England came to Virginia and was granted 250 acres in what now is Suffolk. New Norfolk County is said to have been formed in 1636 from that part of Elizabeth City County lying to the south of Hampton Roads, and extinguished in 1637 by the formation of Lower Norfolk and Upper Norfolk Counties. Upper Norfolk County was extinguished in 1646 when Nansemond County was organized following legislation the previous year. My 10th great,grandfather, Robert Boggus, is documented 1 April 1644 ("Norfolk. Co. Va., Deed Bk, B: 37a") as living in the then newly created Nansemond county. Nansemond is an extinct independent city which was located in the State of Virginia in the United States from 1972 until 1974. It was created from Nansemond County, Virginia, and is now part of the independent city of Suffolk, Virginia.

Mary's father-in-law, Thomas Smith, wanted to keep the business in the family, so he passed the ordinary, currently at 8442 Arthur drive, picture at right, down to his son and Mary.

It was on July 12th, 1824 that widowed La'Fayette, with son and his entourage, boarded at Le Havre arriving in New York August 15, 1824, at invitation of the United States Congress, which was a personal triumph for Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la La'Fayette (1757-1834), the last surviving general of the Revolutionary War. From 1824 to 1825, Lafayette visited all twenty-four states in the Union. Along the way he was treated to numerous dinners and balls in his honor. He listened to speeches, he attended plays, he visited Revolutionary War veterans, and he laid the cornerstones to several monuments to the American Revolution including monument of the Golden Anniversary for Bunker Hill, June 1825. No expense was spared in celebrating the return of the hero. He was uniformly welcomed and celebrated as a returning hero. In his memoirs, Walt Whitman would recall his excitement, as a child in Brooklyn, when La'Fayette pressed him against his heart. La'Fayette navigated the Hudson, the Mississippi and the Alabama rivers on steamboats, and took a ride on a balloon in New York; he received gifts ranging from swords to Indian artifacts to a black bear, which was sent to France and became the first of its kind to be displayed in a French zoo.

La'Fayette was enjoying his tour following trips from Washington city after February 9, 1825 when Adams won the presidency by Henry Clay giving him his electoral votes, ~ ~ to Mount Vernon to visit his friend, George Washington's tomb, to Williamsburg, then to relive the victory of Yorktown, after which to visit several days with old friend Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, next to dine with James and Dolly Madison at their Montpelier, then finally to return to Norfolk by steamboat where he had previously spent October 19 to 27, 1824, leaving there by stage coach for Suffolk to spend Friday night, February 25, 1825 at Castle Inn where in Suffolk, Nansemond county, Virginia a welcoming speech by Joseph Prentis,II following introduction by John Cohoon then fed fine food prepared at the Holladay Hotel across street from the Castle Inn, so after his dinner, he spent Friday night at Castle Inn, which now, following 1837 fire, is 341 north Main street, known as the Joseph Prentis home. He ventured on southwesterly another eighteen miles, stopping in Somerton for a late lunch, on his journey to Henry Ramsey's Indian Queen Hotel in Murfreesboro, Hertford county, North Carolina for another night of rest.

Washington and Mary were the Somerton Inn Keepers, Saturday, 26th February 1825, when Marquis de La'Fayette (1757-1834), the last of the American Revolution's Generals, at his demise in 1834, stopped by their ordinary for an afternoon lunch of the fine food they had become known for with drinks in their basement kitchen, dinning and bar area where Dr Thomas Wood Borland's group met him to escort him on his journey south where their coaches and wagons were nearly mired down in the muddy road, of Virginia's February winter weather, on way to the Indian Queen hotel/inn with another gala-event taking place into the wee hours of the following morning before he got some sleep.

NOTE: The back part of the house had not been added before 1825, nor had the porch. The front was then the side opposite the chimneys. Each chimney has a large fireplace at the base where the cooking was done, the cellar being the kitchen. SOURCE: the Daily Roanoke-Chowan News "The Roanoke-Chowan Story" Ch 14.

Census: 1830, age 30 to 39 Nansemond county, Virginia with hubby, five step children, her then, four children, two free persons of color & twenty-nine slaves at Somerton Inn.

Somerton Inn remains today within Somerton Historic District, as one of its oldest structures.

This pre-1800 ordinary, now at 8442 Arthur Drive, exhibits many unique architectural details, including a double chimney with double shoulders and a pent roof with a window, reminiscent of Georgian style, a lunette window in the attic, and a three-part window on the second story facing Arthur Drive. The interior of the house is a side-hall plan and features detailing reminiscent of the Federal era. The mantles throughout the first floor feature elaborate detailing for such a rural dwelling. Throughout history, the dwelling served as both an ordinary and as a residence. It began as the "Thomas Smith Ordinary" and was later named the "Washington Smith Ordinary".

It was their last born son, Thomas Washington Smith, husband of Harriott Godwin Borland, who had the Confederate Statute erected in the Cedar Hill cemetery, Suffolk, Virginia.

Death: date and location currently unknown, with burial most likely (?) next to husband in Smith Family Cemetery, south, across the street from the Smith Inn, shown located, south of Robert Riddick Smith's home, now 8441 Arthur drive, in the land along Arthur drive, between the then Methodist church and step-son's house his father built for him ~ ~ now a field without markers when viewed December 2012 by Jeff Rau.

Father: (currently unknown).
Mother: (currently unknown).

Marriage: Capt Washington Smith b: 11 AUG 1772 Nansemond county, Virginia.
Married: around 1820 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Known Children

James Edward Smith b: 1822 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Benjamin Devania Smith b: 14 FEB 1824 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Elizabeth Frances Smith b: 1827 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Mary Cornelia Smith b: 25 FEB 1830 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Thomas Washington Smith b: 1 JAN 1832 Nansemond county, Virginia.
Family links: 
  Washington Smith (1772 - 1835)
  James Edward Smith (1822 - 1882)*
  Benjamin Devania Smith (1824 - 1869)*
  Elizabeth Frances Smith Brewer (1827 - 1854)*
  Thomas Washington Smith (1832 - 1912)*
*Calculated relationship
Smith Family Cemetery
Suffolk City
Virginia, USA
Maintained by: NJBrewer
Originally Created by: Bill
Record added: Nov 20, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100954747

- Summer
 Added: Dec. 8, 2013

- NJBrewer
 Added: Jan. 9, 2013

- bill
 Added: Nov. 20, 2012

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