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14 Wharfside StreetCharleston, SC 29401
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14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Jan 17, 2019
After I had discovered that Henry Smith was the brother of Jane Smith Johnson McCoy from the letter of my grandfather, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr., grandson of Jane, I decided to look into the descendants of Henry and Mary Smith and the enslaver of Henry Smith, John Skinner Smith of Laurens County, SC. When working with African American genealogy, I knew I was so fortunate to have been given more clues with yet another interview.
Reverend Ulysses Rice lived in Washington, DC, and I lived in Hopkins, SC at the time I interviewed him. We were introduced by James Martin Wall, a double Johnson-Vance cousin. Rev. Rice sent me an interview conducted by Pat Whitehead, granddaughter of Howard Smith, son of Henry and Mary Smith. Rev. Rice is a grandson of Minnie Smith Young Summers, daughter of Henry and Mary Smith.
The “History of ‘Smith’ Family Name” was a portion of an
interview of Rev. Ulysses Rice conducted by Pat Whitehead. The plantation,
located in Laurens, SC, known as the Smith Plantation. Henry, a Cherokee
Indian, was enslaved. He was known at the time as a “houseboy.” The Smith’s
paid for Mary Bosch (spelling maybe incorrect), an Irish woman, to come to the
United States and work at the plantation until the debt was paid.
The plantation owner vowed to lynch Henry after it was
discovered that he and Mary were involved and had fallen in love. Henry ran
away and hid in the woods for weeks. The plantation owner, John Skinner Smith,
sent word to Henry that if he would come in and only be involved with Mary, he
would let him live.
Henry return and married Mary. They gave birth to sixteen children.
Mary brought two children of her own into this marriage.
I was able to find John Skinner Smith with his wife, Mary, and family in 1850:
I started to make my mental list of all the place I would
need to search next to find Henry, Mary, and my great great grandmother, Jane
within this family. I went to bed and woke up Sunday thinking about this. I
mentioned it in my prayers. A voice told me to look down at the side of my bed.
“Greenwood County Sketches: Old Roads and
Early Families,” by Margaret Watson was laying there.
I was told to pick it up and look for Skinner Smith. I
thought back to when I received this book last October at the Charleston, SC
Family History Center. Delsa Biorn had invited me to take a look at books that
were duplicate copies in the center. I browsed through and was elated to find
this book. It is no longer being published, but I have used it to put together
my family and others. I expressed a heartfelt thanks to her.
Now, I was again about to open the book. John Skinner Smith was the fifth child born to
William and Lucy Wright Smith and first to be born at Stony Point in what is
now Greenwood County in 1795. I found two generations of ancestors and two
marriages of Skinner Smith, one to Jane Franklin and the other to Mary Ann
Hallum. With the genealogy of his children also given, hopefully I can find
more on my family.
I will make a list of the family members of John Skinner
Smith who may have had dealings with Henry or my great great grandmother, Jane,
using “Greenwood County Sketches: Old
Roads and Early Families,” by Margaret Watson. Have you ever been fortunate
enough to make the same sort of list? Let us know on the Facebook Group.
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