Rev Henry Smith

Rev Henry Smith

Death 9 Aug 1648 (aged 48–49)
Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 32446228 · View Source
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A description of Henry Smith by his son, Samuel, in a letter to Samuel's son, Ichobod: "....He was five foot ten inches tall and spare of build, tho not leane. He was active as the R'd Skin Men & sinewy. His delighte was in sportes of strengthe, & withe his owne hands he did help to rear bothe our house and the firste meeting house in Wethersfield wherein he preacht yeares to fewe. He was well Featured & Fresh favored with faire Skin & longcurling hair (as near all of us had) with a merrie eye & swete smiling Mouthe, tho he coulde frowne sternlie eno' when need was...I remembered ye sweetnesse & ye Charity of my firste Farther."

A Henry Smith married a "Miss" Cornish about 1610 in Norwich, Norfolk, England, but it is not clear if this is the same Henry Smith. Some sources say he married Dorothy Cotton in 1619. Could this have been the same person? The name "Cotton" was used to name children for several generations down

He studied at Kings College in Cambridge, England in 1619-1620, and was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough on June 8, 1623.

Henry came with his wife, four children, four men servants, and four maid servants on a ship with John Driver, master, sailing from Weymouth, England in 1636, perhaps to escape Laudian persecution. They settled first in Watertown, Mass., and in March of 1636, Rev. Smith and six other men were appointed commissioners, giving them full power by the Massachusetts legislature to govern Connecticut for one year. On December 5, 1637, Henry and his wife were admitted to communion at the Watertown Church.

In 1637/8, the family removed to Wethersfield, Conn. and Rev. Henry was the first ordained minister there. His homelot consisted of five acres and was bounded by the Wethersfield Green and the burying ground. According to an article in the "Connecticut Nutmegger", there was great dissatisfaction with the leadership of Rev. Smith (the wealthy ruling elder of the church, Clement Chaplin, incited rebellion in the flock against Rev. Henry and the people brought grievances against him), and because of this, the Connecticut legislature asked that he "lay down his place, if it be done according to God". Rev. Henry refused to resign, and the court found that there was no basis to the complaints. As a result, Mr. Chaplin and others were fined for what they had done against Rev. Smith.

In 1637, Henry Smith from Wethersfield was one of 90 men who joined in the Pequot-Narrigansett War in Rhode Island.

The year after Henry's death (1649), widow Dorothy Smith married John Russell, father of Rev. John Russell who was sucessor of Rev. Henry Smith as minister of the Wethersfield Church.

According to his son, he died of the great fever just before the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth. Rev. Henry Smith's will was dated May 8, 1648, giving Dorothy full power to dispose of his estate. His will instructed that Samuel was to have his house lot which was intended for his eldest son, Peregrine, deceased. Henry left five acres each of meadow to sons, Samuel & Noah. The rest of the children were not named in the will but were to receive 20 pounds each, and the children of his two married daughters were given five pounds each. His estate was inventoried by James Boosey & Samuel Smith, and totaled a little more than 370 pounds.

The daughter of Rev. Henry & his first wife, PHILIPPA SMITH, who married DEACON JOHN BIRDSEYE, was my ancestor.

From FAG contributor, Donna Hasbrouck:
"Possible relationship between Francis Smith of Stratford on Avon (dau Mary Smith, married Gov Geo Wyllys) and the Smiths of Fenny Compton. In 1644 Gov Wyllys wrote to his son Henry in England.

Rev Henry Smith may have been among them, conjecture only. At the time of Gov Wyllys' death, Rev Henry Smith was in debt to Gov Wyllys and George Wyllys Jr. The Subsidy of Fenny Compton, 1628, the first name is George Wyllys, second, Henry Smith, promising clues.

Source: TAG Vol 10:7-13, The Rev Henry Smith of Wethersfield"
More to consider concerning the possibility that Dorothy Smith's maiden name was Cotton:
On orders from Jamestown in 1635 Capt. Thomas [Graves] and the Reverend William Cotton (who married Ann Graves) were ordered to form a vestry and build a church on "the North Side of Hungars Creek". The church was to be completed by "Christyde next" (coming of the new year). The assembly ordered the establishment of a burying ground on the Eastern Shore on land at the mouth of Hungars Creek. The old church is still standing (this being third structure built by 1742) and holding services to this day, it is known as Hungars Episcopal Church. The cemetery is still on the Eastern Shore. Captain Thomas Graves died in the Spring of 1636. Henry Smith became the first pastor in 1637/8. Apparently there was a connection between the Graves, Cotton, and Smith families.

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  • Created by: V. Nareen Lake
  • Added: 27 Dec 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 32446228
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Henry Smith (1599–9 Aug 1648), Find a Grave Memorial no. 32446228, citing Wethersfield Village Cemetery, Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by V. Nareen Lake (contributor 46613568) .