Marlboro County, SC
Biographies - Alexander SMITH

 

Alexander Smith
Of
Green Pond, Richmond Co., NC

by Harold Johnson, © 2006

The earliest record we have found of William Smith is a deed from 1787 - Daniel Sparks to William Smith, 125 acres, Marlboro Co, SC, recd. in book A1 pg 172. Another deed recorded in 1794 in book AA, page 401, names Frances as William’s wife. A careful study of the census records shows that William and Frances possibly had six sons and six daughters. It is not known where William Smith lived prior to the records shown above. William’s original will dated 1814, Aug. 4, as found in the Probate Judge’s office in Marlboro Co, names sons Peter, Alexander and John. No other children are named and neither is Frances, his wife. Perhaps she is dead at the writing of the will. Other evidence suggests that the remaining sons names are Harbard, James and William Jr.

Alexander Smith, the youngest son of William Smith, is found in the 1820 census of Marlboro Co. with a young wife. He was about seventeen at this time and his equally young wife was Elizabeth Hodges, daughter of Sion and Rebecca Hodges, of Marlboro Co., SC. Alexander and Elizabeth lived in Marlboro County for some eight years before Alexander bought the first of several tracts of land totaling 1061 acres in the Green Pond area of then Richmond County, NC. The 1830 census shows that the couple had three sons and three daughters at this time and there is an older female living with them, most likely Elizabeth’s mother.

On March 22, 1836, a newspaper article in the Cheraw Gazette reads, "At his residence at Green Pond, near the Cheraw road, Richmond County, NC, on the night of the 17 inst., dying of small pox, Alexander Smith ….leaving a widow and several small children". Other accounts relate this tragic death to three wagoners from the high country who were passing through when one of them became ill with smallpox. He was taken in and nursed by the Smith family and soon died, but not before passing the dreaded disease on to Alexander Smith. Just two days before Alexander’s death, Elizabeth had given birth to a son and apparently in memory of her late husband she named this infant Alexander. It is not known where Alexander Smith is buried.

As was the custom and law of the time, Elizabeth received one third of the land as her dowry, and the rest was divided between the children. Alexander’s personal property, including household items, was sold at auction… the proceeds divided between the eight children, leaving for each heir three hundred and forty seven dollars and thirty seven cents. The irony of this custom is that Elizabeth had to buy back enough of the household items to stock her house again! Elizabeth, only thirty-four at the time of her husband’s death, would soon marry a second time to an older man, Henry Covington II (whose first wife was Sara Hunter). It is thought that they had two or perhaps three daughters, although proof has not been found as of this writing. Elizabeth, by buying land herself, was able to amass a sizable estate, including some holdings left to her by her second husband. Upon her death, the division of this estate created considerable rift among her heirs as court records show. Elizabeth died August 1, 1886 and is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery located about 400 yards NW (toward Hamlet) of the intersection of Hamlet Road (#381) and Jessie Smith Road, and lies on the opposite bank of the CSX Railroad right of way. It is now much overgrown.

Alexander Smith and Elizabeth Hodges had eight children, Anna, Lucy, Martha, Duncan, John H., Frances, Anderson and Alexander. Duncan Smith married, c1846, Jane (unknown) and had nine children, William, Moranda, Robertson, Sarah, Eli, Martha, Alexander, Daniel and Laurence. John H. Smith married first, c1852, Mary Ann Stephens and had eight children, Archibald, Henrietta, Lucinda, Walter, Alminia, Roswell, Robert E., and Maggie. After Mary Ann’s death, John H. Smith married second, c1884, Honor Gibson and they had one child, Mollie. Frances Smith married, c1844, James P. Covington, son of Henry Covington II and Sarah Hunter. Frances and James had six children, Victoria, Alexander, John, Lucy and Martin Luther. Anderson Smith married, c1860, Jane Catherine Stephens, sister to Mary Ann Stephens mentioned above, and they had nine children, Ella, Benjamin, Yancey, Brantson, Delilah, Bascome E., Colen Frederick, Augusta M. and Ida. Alexander Smith married, c1860, Jane Smith, a distant cousin, and they had six children, Jane, John W., Henry, Elizabeth, Sara Frances and Luther M.

Perhaps of all the children of Alexander Smith and Elizabeth Hodges, John H. Smith was the most notorious. While he and his two brothers, Anderson and Alexander were able to amass sizable estates and land holdings, John H. Smith lost his because of a shooting incident. A newspaper article from The Richmond Rocket, Sept 25, 1884 reads: "Shooting affair, On last Friday, 18th inst., a Mr. Smith, known as Green Pond John Smith, shot a man named Mudd, making a serious if not a mortal wound through the neck. The weapon used was a shotgun. It occurred in the neighborhood of Green Pond at the house of Smith, in this County. We have no particulars except the statement that Mudd, who is a boisterous and offensive character when drinking, was under the influence of liquor, and by persistent annoyance, of which he had been guilty many times before and in the face of Smith’s repeated warning, provoked the latter to the unfortunate act."

John H. Smith was arrested and then released on a one thousand dollar bond posted by his two brothers, Anderson and Alexander Smith along with a gentleman named E. W. Manship. We know John appeared in Court on Friday, and then on the following Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 1884, he failed to appear for trial for murder. Research indicates that he fled to Florida were he died Sept. 5th, 1885, the very next year!

Sources:
Census records of Marlboro County, SC.
Census records of Richmond County, NC.
Court House records of Marlboro County.
Court House records of Richmond and Scotland Counties, NC.
Cemetery Records.

Submitted by: Harold Johnson, 2006

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