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Maj Robert Riddick Smith
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Birth: Jan. 10, 1808
Virginia, USA
Death: Sep. 13, 1845
Virginia, USA

Husband of Sarah Jackson Powell.

Birth: 4th of twelve known children of father, 4th of seven of mother's, likely (?) in Somerton, Nansemond county, Virginia.

Robert was at least, the third generation of Smith family to operate the ordinary now called Somerton Inn, current address 8442 Arthur drive (view, two lower right), was a state legislator and a Major for Nansemond county prior to being murdered, eighteen miles northeast of home, in Suffolk, outside the Washington Hotel*, by a tenant, Hunter Hill, September 13th, 1845.

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.

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 1643 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.

Census: 1820, age ten thru eighteen Nansemond county, Virginia with widowed father, six siblings, two free persons of color and twenty-one slaves.

Robert was around sixteen years of age when his father and step-mother were keeping the ordinary (Somerton Inn), currently at 8442 Arthur drive, Saturday, 26th February 1825, when Marquis de La'Fayette paid the ordinary a visit during his congressional invitation to tour the then 24 states stopping in Somerton on his way to Murfreesboro, Hertford county, North Carolina. Washington and Mary served him fine food and drinks, as his parents were known for, during his stay at the ordinary before the muddy trip south to Henry Ramsey's where another gala-event took place into the wee hours of the Sunday.

Census: 1830, age twenty thru twenty-nine Nansemond county, Virginia with father & step-mother, four siblings, four half-siblings, two free persons of color & twenty-nine slaves.

Appointed Somerton Postmaster 28 MAY 1836.

Census: 1840, age between 30-39, Nansmond county, Virginia which is confusing as to who was in his household, consisting of following: MALES: one each 0-4 & 5-9, three 15-19 & two 30-39, FEMALES: one each, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29 & 30-39, NO free person of color, BUT, twenty-seven slaves listed. Listed also in 1840 is George Godwin with thirty-three slsves in whose household Robert's three sons are found on 1860 census, following his 1845 murder.

Reportedly his father built him a home at now 8441 Arther drive, The Robert R. Smith House is located at the southwest corner at the intersection of Pittmantown Road and Arthur Drive. The three bay, two-story Federal style dwelling rests on a continuous brick foundation and is covered with a gable roof clad in standing seam metal with a bracketed cornice. It was built in the early 1800s by Washington Smith for his son Robert R. Smith. Like many of the other houses within the district, the exterior walls of the house have been covered with clapboard siding. The dwelling features a variety of windows including double hung nine-over-six wood sash, double hung four-over-four wood sash, and four light casement windows. The center window of the second level fašade with its transom and sidelight surrounds is evidence of a second story porch which was removed in the early 20th century. Two end chimneys flank the house at its east and elevations. The chimney on the west end may have been added or altered during renovations which took place c.1870 as a result of heavy vandalism during the Civil War. A one-story frame dwelling from outside of the district was appended to the rear of the original dwelling during the late 20th century. The brick pier foundation and clapboard siding are consistent with the style of the original part of the house. The addition is covered by a hip-on-gabled roof. The addition features double hung four-over-four wood sash windows on the main level and several four light wood frame casement windows. The house has served as a single dwelling throughout its history and continues to serve the same purpose today. There are also two outbuildings located on the parcel, both contribute to the district.

A 19th-century dairy is located to the west of the dwelling. The building rests on a concrete block foundation that is not original. The wood-frame shed is clad in clapboard siding and topped by a tarp roof. The building serves as a storage shed today but still retains its historic integrity.

Death: by being stabbed in the heart at Suffolk, Nansemond county, Virginia, burial in Smith Family cemetery, south, across the street from the Smith Inn, shown south of Robert's home along Arthur drive, reportedly located in the land between the then Methodist church and his 8441 Arthur drive house ~ ~ now a field without markers when viewed December 2012 by Jeff Rau.

Major Smith had traveled eighteen miles to the Washington hotel* in Suffolk on 13 September 1845 and was sitting on its porch when a tenant of his, Hunter Hill, asked him to step out to discuss something, resulting in Smith being stabbed in the heart which later proved fatal. Hill was captured in the state of New York, returned to face a trial which commenced 13 October and provided a verdict on 21st October of guilty of murder in the first degree, with a sentence to die. The Major's murder and resulting trials resulted in quite a lengthy legal battle.

*Francis David Holladay
16th Virginia Infantry, Company B, Major Holladay was born in Suffolk on June 8, 1817. He was a hotel keeper before the war and ran the Washington Hotel. He married Emily Susannah Pinner (1817- 1900), the daughter of Dixon and Emily Pinner. Holladay died July 3, 1868.

Father: Capt Washington Smith b: 11 AUG 1772 Nansemond county, Virginia.
Mother: Nancy Anne Riddick Cunningham b: 13 OCT 1781 likely (?) Gates county, North Carolina.

Marriage: Sarah Jackson Powell b: 13 MAR 1808 New Kent county, Virginia.
Married: 18 MAR 1834 Virginia.

Known Children

Washington C Smith b: around 1840 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Henning Ezekiel Smith b. 23 JUL 1843 Nansemond county, Virginia.

Robert Riddick Smith Jr b: 13 DEC 1845 Nansemond county, Virginia, three months following father's death.
Family links: 
  Washington Smith (1772 - 1835)
  Nancy Anne Riddick Cunningham Smith (1781 - 1816)
  Sarah Jackson Powell Smith (1808 - 1868)*
  Washington C. Smith (1840 - 1865)*
  Henning Ezekiel Smith (1843 - 1913)*
  Robert Riddick Smith (1845 - 1925)*
  Robert Riddick Smith (1808 - 1845)
  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# 101006595

- Lance
 Added: Mar. 14, 2013

- NJBrewer
 Added: Jan. 9, 2013

- bill
 Added: Nov. 20, 2012

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