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John Smith, Sr
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Birth: 1619
Death: Mar. 15, 1692
Bristol County
Massachusetts, USA

The primary background regarding John Smith of the Town of Plymouth and later Dartmouth, Mass. was first published in 1898 by Melatiah Everett Dwight in "An Account of Some of the Descendants of Richard Kirby of Sandwich Massachusetts," with reference to John O. Austin's "One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families." Included in Dwight's book is a genealogy of "Lieut. John Smith, Jr.", based on a manuscript by H.H.H. (Humphrey Henry Howland) Crapo Smith, a son-in-law of one of John Smith's descendants. Unfortunately, the portion concerning John Smith contains more errors of substance and required corrections to dates than this memorial can encompass.

The principle error regarding "Lieut. John Smith, Jr." are that he was called John Smith, Jr. at Plymouth only because he was the younger of two John Smiths that resided at Plymouth for many years, and both Mr. Crapo Smith and Melatiah Dwight badly confused them. He was called John junior only in the records of the Town of Plymouth, Mass., but when he resettled at Dartmouth, Mass. he was known simply as John Smith.

The second error is permanently identifying John as a Lieut. In 1600s New England, a man's military rank generally followed him to his grave as a personal identification, often being called by his military title in a personal will. As a known Quaker, and against the Friends' beliefs, John was appointed Lieut. of the Dartmouth town militia for a very short time, from 1674-76 preceding and during the King Philips War against the Narragansett Indians of Rhode Island. And, during that period John also served as one of Dartmouth's three town selectmen. No man was appointed Capt. of the Dartmouth town militia. During that war the majority of Dartmouth was burned by the Indians. It is evident from town records that during the King Philips War some military-titled person was needed to act in at least an administrative capacity regarding operation of the town's government. Immediately following that war, John Smith of Dartmouth is never again recorded with a military title.

Who John Smith's parents were is unknown. He d. testate at Dartmouth, Mass. on the "15th, 1st month (March), 1692, in (his) 74th y.", latter shorthand for "in the 74th y. of his age" (DVRs). This record indicates he died Ætatis 74, and 73 years old, b. on or after Mar. 15, 1618/19. He is purportedly interred at what is now known as the private Smith Family Burying Ground located behind a private residence in South Dartmouth, Mass. But, in the 1600s as Quakers frowned on erecting gravestones as symbols of personal vanity, no actual gravestone marks his internment. There are gravestones of Smith descendant family at this burial ground, but they are 5 generations later when Quakers were permitted to erect small plain gravestones with minimal personal detail.

Peter Rounds' brief summary of John's will, dated June 8, 1691, proved Nov. 12, 1692, contains a material error. The subsequent estate record follows:

• Wife Ruhamah. Six sons: Judah, Gershom, Eliazer, Hezekiah, Deliverance Smith & one son not named [i.e., youngest son Eliashib]. Daus. Hassadiah wife of Jonathan Russell, Mehitabel wife of John Russell, Hannah Smith, Sarah Smith & Deborah Smith. Grand children: James son of my son Eliazer Smith, James Russell son of Jonathan Russell & Mic[hael] son of my son Hezekiah Smith. Seth Pope & my brother-in-law Recompense Carby [Kirby], Execs. (sic) Witns.: Benjamin Howland & Vallentine Hudelston. [Bristol County PR 1:55].

NOTE: the actual will names son Deliverance and wife Ruhamah as co-executors; Pope and Kirby as overseers, who both later refused to serve. Pope was a prominent Congregationalist. By the time John Smith's will was probated, brother-in-law Recompense Kirby, a Quaker, had already or soon moved to Quaker dominated Burlington County in the then Province of West Jersey.

• Receipts for legacies from the Estate of John Smith, dated Jan. 10, 1693/4, by daughter Hassadiah Russell & husb. Jonathan Russell, by dau. Mehittabell & husb. John Russell and by daus. Hannah Smith & Sarah Smith. [Ibid, 1:161/2].
• An acct. [final] of Deliverance Smith, Exec. of the Estate of John Smith of Dartmouth, dated Dec. 1, 1696, was filed of record [based on the estate inventory filed in 1693]. Mentions wife Ruhamah, son Deliverance Smith, daus. Hassadiah wife of Jonathan Russell, Mehitabel wife of John Russell, Hannah Smith, Sarah Smith & Deborah Smith (latter under age). [Ibid, 1:161/2].

John Smith was twice married. He m. 1) Jan. 4, 1648/9 at Plymouth, Mass., Deborah Howland, dau. of Arthur Howland and his wife Margaret, the former widow Reed. The date of Deborah's birth is unknown, but she is presumed to have been b. either at Plymouth or Marshfield, Mass. and was at least 18 years of age when she married. She. d. at Dartmouth, Mass. by 1666. Deborah's paternal uncle was John Howland, the 1620 Mayflower passenger, but her parents did not arrive at Plymouth until the 1630s.

John Smith m. 2) by mid-1666, Ruhamah Kirby, dau. of Richard Kirby and his wife Jane, of Sandwich, Mass. Richard Kirby first appears in the New England records in 1636 as an inhabitant of Lynn, Mass. In 1637, together with others he moved to Cape Cod, and began the settlement of the Town of Sandwich. When the Society of Friends, or Quakers, first appeared in New England, Richard was "sympathetic" to them although there is no record of his becoming an actual member of that Society.

The children of John Smith are outlined in their respective mother's memorial.

Edited 7/19/2015
Family links: 
  Deborah Howland Smith (1630 - 1666)
  Ruhamah Kirby Smith (1645 - ____)
  Eleazer Smith (1654 - 1733)*
  Deliverance Smith (1678 - 1729)*
  Hannah Smith Shearman (1681 - 1744)*
*Calculated relationship
John has no actual gravestone. An engraved metal plaque mounted on a stone post at the entrance to this old private family cemetery reads:

Near This Stone
Lies Ye Body of
Lieutenant John Smith
Born 1618
Died 1692
Smith Family Cemetery
Bristol County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: Don Blauvelt
Record added: Mar 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49388621
John Smith, Sr
Added by: goose
John Smith, Sr
Added by: Don Blauvelt
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Blessings to my 8th Grandfather-you are remembered. Rest in Peace!
- Carol Gammon
 Added: Mar. 2, 2017

 Added: Jan. 3, 2017
So nice to find you 8th Great Grandfather! Descended through daughter Hassadiah Smith Russell (Deborah Howland Smith) AND son Deliverance Smith (Ruhamah Kirby Smith).
- Raven Davis Cotter
 Added: Oct. 15, 2015
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