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Dr Mayo Gerrish Smith

  • Birth 19 Aug 1816 Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 20 Feb 1901 Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
  • Plot Block 0000K 000038 - 0000NE
  • Memorial ID 35151534

I wish to thank Mariah for transferring this memorial to me. Ben

Dr. Mayo Gerrish Smith lived a full life of many interests and accomplishments.

He was or has been called a physician, surgeon dentist, daguerreotypist (although he is not listed in Craig's Daguerreian Registry), author, adventurer, world traveler, spiritualist, entrepreneur, Forty-niner, a nude ice-cold bathing enthusiast, etc., etc.

He was one of the first students of Oberlin College in Ohio (1836).

He was employed by his intimate friend Horace Greeley on the New York "Tribune."

He was associated with Samuel F.B. Morse in establishing the first telegraph line in the world between Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Ha placed advertisements in newspapers offering his services as a Daguerreian photographer shortly after the discovery of the process in 1839.

As an alumnus of Oberlin College he was one of 33 petitioners to ask that the College admit people of color. Oberlin became the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students.

He was among the first workers of the Five Points mission in New York.

He was twice blessed by the Pope in his journeys around the world.

He was master of the first ship that sailed out of San Francisco after it became a port of entry.

He was a companion and friend of Mark Twain and the inspiration of the novelist's doctor in his non-fiction book, "The Innocents Abroad."

He joined, as a passenger only, George Jones Adams' journey sailing from Boston to Jaffa on the Nellie Chapin to establish a colony of Americans in Palestine.

He was known to bath in the nude in ice-cold water and to run through the woods nude in the winter.

Dr. Smith was the son of Foster Smith & Jane Gerrish Smith who were married in Newburyport, Massachusetts on 27 or 28 January 1816.

Foster Smith, second son of Stephen and Achsah (Foster) Smith, was born July 19, 1790, in Thornton, where he resided, engaging in agriculture and dealing in cattle. He acquired a competence by his industry, shrewdness and thrift, and retired from active business at a comparatively early age, settling in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was a Presbyterian in religion, and politically supported the Democratic party; was a soldier of the War of 1812.

Jane Gerrish, born October 15, 1794, in Newbury, Massachusetts, was the daughter of Mayo and Betsey R. (Lunt) Gerrish.

Dr. Smith had the following siblings: Eliza Jane, baptized April 29, 1824, at the First Congregational Church of Newbury; Justin, born August 18, 1825; Wooster, November 27, 1828; Elizabeth Gerrish, October 15, 1831. The family record also gives a daughter Caroline. I have been unable to trace a burial memorials for any of the family.

Dr. Smith was married three times. First in 1842 to Euphemia Mary Vale, born 1824 (several references are to 1817, but I believe this to be in error) in Hastings, East Sussex, England. This marriage ended in a bitter divorce and his former wife later married another dentist Dr. Daniel S. Blake who had lived with the Smith family earlier (1850 census).

On 18 May 1858 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Dr. Smith married his second wife, Harriet M. Hall, born in Weston Virginia, the daughter of James and Matilda Bennet. At age 28 she was 13 years his junior. I have been unable to trace Harriet M. Hall Smith after this marriage nor do I know how the marriage eventually ended, but a mere 2 years later Dr. Smith was living in Newburyport with his parents (1860 census).

Then at age 60 Dr. Smith, on 12 September 1876, again tied the matrimonial knot by marrying Anne Corina Colby, age 28, and 32 years his junior in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Born in Wecobury, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of George J. and Sarah Colby.

More details of his colorful life to follow soon


Family Members

Gravesite Details Buried: 2/20/1901, Source: City of Colo Spgs cemetery data 3/20/09