Article Number Nineteen -
The Smith Family

Written by Joshua G. Borthwick and originally published
on , March 5, 1881, in the Catskill "Examiner". Copy provided by the Durham Center Museum and retyped by Annette Campbell



The descendents of Capt. Thomas Smith of Cornwallsville are very numerous, and to a stranger the line is very difficult to trace out correctly. The family came originally from Old England, but the date of their emigration cannot now be given. The Captain was born and spent his early manhood in Connecticut, town of Haddam, County of Middlesex; and probably about the year 1788 or 9 he came to this town and took up the farm now owned by Philip Embury Strong. I find his name and approximate location given in a road survey, dated June 17, 1790, which, as a matter of interest, especially to my readers in advanced years, I will copy:
     "Beginning at a Beach tree in Dice's Manor road East of Linus
     Hopson's house; this tree is marked DM; and runs nearly East
     by the open way to Augustine Shere's house, and by the West
     end thereof, and as the open way and the marked trees lead, as
     near as the ground will admit, crossing the brook to the westward 
     of Levi Steadman's house by a Hemlock tree lettered R, then
     nearly South into the Durham road, East of John Palmer's house,
     and crossing it by an Ash tree marked R in Joseph Hart's line, to
     the East of his house, and in the line to the bank of How's brook,
     then turning westward down the bank and crossing the brook,
     and then turning East up the hill into the said line, then by the
     same to the corner of Ebenezer Knapp's wheat field into an open
     way that leads from Thomas Smith's to the Batavia road near Ezra
     Loomis's
house.
    
Signed by, Ephraim Darby and Ebenezer Barker, Commissioners.
 
The "Dice's Manor road" spoken of was the road leading from the Susquehannah Turnpike, near the late residence of Smith Bear, and running westward past Mr. Mackey's, Edwin Elliott's  and Shubal Finch's, directly to William Baldwin's, then in a westerly course direct to West Durham, and so into the town of Cornwallsville, where the "manor" was located. The "Durham road" was the road from Rev. Aaron Rodger's, through Cornwallsville, to the settlement on and near Meetinghouse Hill, which at this early day was called Durham or New Durham.  This new road evidently left Dice's Manor road a few rods West of Wm. Baldwin's house, and I think followed the route of the present road to or near James Elliott's, (Levi Steadman's), then "nearly South into the Durham road East of John Palmer's house, (Bela Smith's), and so on South past Mr. Hough's, (Joseph Hart's), and Ellsworth Strong's to a point near the Newcomb place in Hervey Street.  It seems to have been built largely for the accommodation of Joseph Hart, for which he was charged eighteen shillings; which he paid. 
 
But to return; Capt. Smith in his youth was a seafaring man, and became commander of a vessel, hence the title, "Captain Smith". His wife's name was Eurana Wright.  Their first log house was East of the road, near the corner East of Embury Strong's.  The next house was a few rods South east of the present house. They had seven children---Ezekiel, Anna, Vina, Thomas, Zoath, Bela and Mercy.
 
Ezekiel lived and died in Cairo. His descendents reside there still. Anna married Jabez Hubbard and lived where David Mattice does.  Vina was not married.  Thomas, Jr.,  was married twice, and his children were Bela T., Helen and Isaac.  Zoath had nine children: Savilla, Lucy, Fletcher, Mary, Vina, Samuel, Phebe, Patty and Zoath.  Zoath's children are all dead.  Many of the grandchildren are still living.  Bela had seven children:  Bela, Rhoda, Charles, Joseph M., Mary, Thomas and James.  His wife was Rhoda Merwin, and Zoath's wife was Olive Merwin.  Mercy married Harris Giddins, who became a very able preacher in the Methodist Church.  Bela Smith also became a Reverend, and after an active Christian life in the service of his Master, he died on the 3rd of July, 1847, aged 64 years, while Rhoda his wife reached the age of 82.  These men with others of their age living in the vicinity, were a noble race of men; very active and earnest as Christians and enterprising as citizens; and their children and grandchildren are persons of like character. We hope to speak of them more fully hereafter.
 
In the neighborhood South of Captain Smith's we find a Mr. Claflin, on the farm now owned by Ira France, and Ebenezer Knapp and Ezra Loomis still farther South, while up on the side of the High Peak, Benjamin Walker and Charity his wife began a clearing, which may still be seen, and is known as "Walker's clearing".  After a time he came down from the Mountain and took up the farm now owned by his grandson, Lewis Walker, where he died at 96 years, and his wife at 94.  They ad four children:  Ezra, Sarah, Polly and Phebe.  Ezra married Lucy Smith, daughter of Zoath Smith, and grand daughter of Capt. Smith. Sarah married Isaiah Brown, and Phebe married Thaddeus Cook.  Ezra Walker  lived and died on the old farm. They had seven children: Sylvia, Octavia, Lewis, Fanny, Rachel, Wesley and Reuben.

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