Ali Smith is the son of Ericus Smith (1734 - 1792) and Brita Anderson (1733 – 1793/1797) who were born in Wilmington, New Castle Co., Delaware, and settled in Southwestern Virginia by 1770. Ali appears in records of Russell County until 22 Feb 1808 when he and wife Jane Denny sold their land on Thompsons Creek. Twenty-two days later he bought land from brother-in-law Robert Glenn in Campbell County, Tennessee – described as “land in lot K of Henderson & Companies Powells Valley survey.”
He served in the Revolutionary War - first entered service in VA Militia in 1778 or 1779,. Eli (Ali, Aly) Smith "private and Indian spy in the Virginia Militia in the War of the Revolution...under Col. Campbell, Capt. Scott, and Capt. Thompson...Served a full 3 years under the above-named officers, the greater part of the time as a spy and woodsman...He was drafted in the same expedition that the battle of King's Mts. was fought, but [the Col.] being apprehensive of Indian hostilities, he was sent back to guard the frontier." Excerpts from Rev. War pension file #R9751. He is also listed in 1780 as Ely Smith, one of "The Militiamen Employed as Guards, Drivers, and Laborers in Building the Road Over Cumberland Mountain into Kentucky During the War." Burgess: Virginia Soldiers of the Revolution, p.1272
Research notes from a 1950s interview by descendant Sarah Harrison White (shared with Leslie Smith McConachie in the 1980s by her husband Gifford White) with Dr. George Ridenour, historian and author of The Land of the Lake, 1962. Dr. Ridenour stated that "the Eli Smiths were great horsemen. They built the first horse track in Campbell County and used to hold races there on Saturday mornings. They raised horses and took them into 'Kaintuck' to sell."
On April 8, 1783 in Washington County, VA, he married Jane Denny (1765 – circa 1852) (Find a Grave # 104324112)
daughter of Revolutionary War soldier Patrick Denny (1743 – 1797) and wife Elizabeth.
Naming note: His first name is variously spelled on documents and records left during his lifetime as "Ali," "Aly," "Ale," "Eli," "Ely." This is a traditional Swedish name and is not a nickname for "Alexander." On no document or historical record whatsoever is he called "Alexander." The name "Ale" celebrates a semi-mythological early Swedish king known as "Ale" (also spelled "Onela" depending on the time period and translation) who appears in the saga of Beowulf.
The following children are named in probate of the estate of Ali Smith:
1. Ericus III (1784 – 1850) (Find-A-Grave #104324221) m. Anne Kincaid
2. Patrick (1786 – 1814) m. Lucy Fuller
3. William (1788 – 1862/1870) m. Jane Miller, Nancy Bratcher, and Margaret (no last name)
4. Ali II (1791 – 1872) m. Hannah Murray & Mary "Polly" Glenn
5. James (1793 – 1856/1860) m. Jane Kincaid
6. Elizabeth (1796 – aft 1860) m. Jacob Sharp
7. Nancy (1799 – 1881) (Find-A-Grave #49150318) m. William Archer
8. Mary “Polly” (circa 1801 – 1860/1864) (Find-A-Grave #113233758) m. Bowling Baker
9. Jane (1802 – 1834) (Find A Grave# 13070138) m. John Kincaid
10. Alexander D. (abt 1809 - 1838/1839), unmarried