Moving West: Thirteen Generations of a Smith Family
John Smith and Mary Partridge
John Smith, son of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Smyth , was born in 1637 in Wethersfield, Connecticut and died on 30 May 1676 at age 39.
John married Mary Partridge on 12 Nov 1663 in Hatfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts. Mary was born in 1647 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut and died on 20 May 1683 in Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts at age 36. They had five children: John, Samuel, Benjamin, Marah, and Joseph.
John Smith was born on 15 May 1665 in Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts and died on 20 Jan 1723 at age 57.
Samuel Smith was born on 7 Dec 1667.
Benjamin Smith was born in 1673.
Marah Smith was born in 1677.
Joseph Smith was born on 16 Nov 1670 in Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts and died on 5 Feb 1752 in Hatfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts at age 81.
John Smith appears to have lived alternately and had businesses in both Wethersfield and Hadley. Land records show that John and his brother Philip bought their father's homestead in Wethersfield in December 1668, probably because one or both of them had a business in Wethersfield. They also show that John's sons, John Jr. and Benjamin, were owners of land in Wethersfield with John Jr. selling his interest to John Dickinson in 1710.
John's interests lay in both Wethersfield and Hadley. As early as 1667 he and Samuel Porter had a boat on the Connecticut River and carried grain downstream. John owned a bolting mill (flour mill) in Hadley and in 1672 Wethersfield admitted him "an inhabitant to set up his trade of tanning in this town." He and his brother Philip were authorized "wolf killers" in Hadley, and were paid 40 shilling a head bounty.
John Smith, together with his brothers Philip and Chileab, signed a petition 19 Feb. 1669 against imposts and customs, and another in October 1772 asking the General Court to permit an enlargement of their township.
In September 1671 John Smith was one member of a special jury to try Dr. John Westcarr for selling liquor to the Indians. Westcarr objected to the courts regular Jury, seeing that Lieutenant Samuel Smith, John's father, and Peter Tilton, both Deputies to the General Court, had bound him over. Westcarr did not appear personally at the trial but submitted his case in writing and John Smith of the Special Jury replies. The jury adjudged Westcarr not legally guilty.
John Smith was an active soldier in King Philip's War. He was in the Falls Fight May 19, 1676 under Captain William Turner where the Indians, caught asleep, suffered great loss. The survivors, though badly weakened, were enraged and resorted to the stratagem of circulating a false report that King Philip was coming with great reinforcements. This terrified the settler army and it virtually bolted for home. On May 30 the Indians caught the settlers unaware at Hatfield with the soldiers dispersed. About two dozen men from Hadley rushed to their aid. In the fight that followed John Smith was killed along with four other men. Cotton Mather, writing of the battle said:
"...yet the English lost not one man, till within about an hundred rods of the town, when five of ours were slain; among who was a precious young man whose name was Smith, that place having lost many in losing that one man."
A month later a force of about 450 militia from Connecticut, almost half of them friendly Indians, appeared on the scene. Major John Talcott was their leader. The campaign that followed was a trying and costly one but it brought an end to King Philip's War. It also resulted in the towns along the river fortifying themselves, Hadley voting to fortify its meeting house and to require all male inhabitants to bring arms and ammunition to all meetings under penalty of a shilling's fine for each failure to do so.
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