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Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Family Histories

Smith Family 2nd Generation - Venango Twp. - David

Contributed by Susan Smith

The information below was written and submitted by Susan Smith. It is based on 20 plus years of research on the Thomas Smith family who settled in Venango Township in 1802. Thomas and his wife, Sarah, had 12 children with 9 of them remaining in the Erie area. Susan hopes that her contribution of detailed information about one of the SMITH families will help other SMITH researchers. Below is the 'story' of one of the children. Any comments or questions about the article or this family should be sent directly to Susan.


#8. David SMITH was born on 8 Mar 1796 Westmoreland Co., PA; died 18 July 1884 Marion Twp. Grant Co., WI; buried in Crown Hill Cem Marion Twp. Grant Co., WI. David said when he was six years old, his family moved to Erie county PA. He also said he helped to build Perry's ships during the War of 1812 but there is nothing to document this.

He married 1) abt 1820/21 Mary __?__. Her name is given variously as Mary and as Polly, a nickname for Mary. She was born 1796; died 25 Aug. 1829 Mill Creek Twp. Erie Co., PA, buried in Lowville Cem, Erie Co., PA. David's parents, Thomas and Sarah Smith were later buried on this plot. David and Mary had three children and lived in Venango township on a farm near his parents. During Lafayette's visit to Erie in 1824, "David commanded a company of militia that went out five miles to escort the party into town". In 1825 David and his brother James bought 100 acres of land in Mill Creek township just outside the village of Erie. They moved their families there and started a sawmill, which they ran together until about 1831, when they split their holdings 50/50. David bought an additional 56 acres adjacent to his property. James had the sawmill and David was now in a partnership owning a sawmill factory. The partnership, "David Smith & Low & Russell" went bankrupt following year.

David married 2) Julia RUSSELL, May 5, 1831, Mill Creek Erie Co PA, daughter of Giles Russell and Lois Cook. She was born 29 June 1810 Winsted Conn.; died 21 Sept. 1860 Marion Twp. Grant Co., WI. Giles Russell’s brothers Benjamin, Hamlin and George had come to Erie early. Benjamin arrived in 1796, Hamlin and George in 1802. Giles remained at home in Connecticut until his parents died and then brought his family and two spinster sisters to Erie in 1828.

After the failure of the sawmill factory partnership David continued on his Mill Creek farm until 1840. In the middle of April, six weeks after the birth of twins on the 4th of March, their farm sold, the family set out in a covered wagon with a yoke of oxen for Kane Co., Illinois. There they joined Smith and McNair relatives who had settled in the four years previous. They stayed in IL until 1846/7 when they moved to Fennimore township, Grant County, Wisconsin. There David purchased 200 acres of land about a mile from the Wisconsin River in Marion township from the U.S. government for fifty cents an acre. David and Julia remained on this farm for the rest of their lives. Julia’s brothers Giles, Benjamin and Edward moved to Grant Co about the same time. Giles died in Wisconsin in 1846. Edward and Benjamin came about 1849/50. Benjamin married Sophia Parker in Erie prior to leaving for Grant Co. He died in Fennimore in 1854. Edward wrote in his journal that he "went to Grant Co Wisc. with his brother-in-law David Smith in 1850 and stayed with him during the winter and spring". They ran a breaking team together. Edward had been studying for the ministry and was ordained in 1851. He went out from the Belle Valley Presbyterian Church in Mill Creek Erie Co PA and preached in southern and western Wisconsin until his health failed in 1892.

In the years following the move to Wisconsin the family endured many hardships. Mary Louisa died in 1848 and Giles in 1852. Typhoid ravaged the family in 1860. Julia died in late September. Two weeks later daughters, Caroline and Julia died in one day. Charles the youngest was also ill, but he recovered. Three sons fought in the Civil War, two were wounded one never returned. Sarah went to the Dakota Territory after 1870 and died there in 1875. By 1880 David was 84 years old. Edward was lived with him and ran the farm until David’s death in 1884. The 277 acre farm is still intact and owned by the same family that purchased it in 1893. They built a new house around 1900, but the original house remains in a dilapidated state.

Children of David Smith and Mary/Polly:

#42 1) Hettie SMITH born 22 Aug. 1821 Venango, Erie Co. PA, died 30 April 1887 IL. She married William W WILSON, her first cousin. See children of Hannah Smith.

#43 2) Oliver Barr SMITH born 10 Sep. 1822/23 Venango, Erie Co. PA died 22 Nov 1904 Merrill WI. He married Sephrona A RAVLIN 23 Sep. 1855 Kaneville Kane Co. IL. She was born 22 Nov. 1832 Clymer Chautauqua Co. NY, died 22 Feb. 1870 in Jenny (Merrill) WI of consumption. In 1844, with a party of 13, Oliver went to the pineries of Wisconsin from IL. They walked all the way as there was no railroad north of Chicago at that time. He helped to build the first dam on the Wisconsin river in 1847, and was one of the first residents in Merrill when it was a howling wilderness. Active in logging and lumbering for the rest of his life, he was one of the prominent business men of the early pioneering days. Oliver went back to Kane Co. to marry Sephrona in 1855. The following year after their first child Kate was born, they returned to Merrill in the fall. The trip took them from Chicago to Berlin, Wis., over the old Chicago and Northwestern railroad, then by boat from Berlin to Gill's Landing via the Fox River, stage coach from Gill's Landing to Stevens Point, then by canoe up the Wisconsin River to Merrill. A letter from his father’s probate file, written by O.B., indicates he bore a grudge against the children of his father’s second marriage. His father asked him to visit him in Grant Co. in the 1860’s but we don’t know if he ever did. O.B. never spoke to his children of his life before he went to Merrill. Children of Oliver Barr SMITH and Sephrona A RAVLIN:

  • 1) Kate SMITH born 1 Mar 1856 Kane Co. IL, died 22 Aug. 1925 Merrill WI. Never married
  • 2) Frank SMITH a twin, born 20 July 1858 Jenny (Merrill) WI, died 5 Mar 1916 Spokane WA. He married Lillian G. MURPHY 1885 WI. In 1904 he had an apple orchard in Longview WA.
  • 3) Fred SMITH a twin, born 20 Jul. 1858 Jenny (Merrill) WI, died Jun. Merrill WI. He married Stella DOWNIE in 1891 Merrill WI. Fred lived in Merrill and followed his father in the logging business
  • 4) Dora SMITH born 3 Dec. 1860 Jenny (Merrill) WI, died 9 Dec. 1919 Merrill WI. She married 1) _?_ COMPTON, 2) John Nagle COTTER 14 Oct. 1885 WI. John born 11 Apr. 1847 NY, died 1932.
  • 5) Charles T SMITH born 15 Mar 1863 Jenny (Merrill) Co. WI, died after 1924. He married Alice HEDLEY. Charles lived in Granite Falls WA.

#44 3) Henry S. SMITH born 22 Jul. 1826 Erie Co. PA, died 24 May 1880 IL. He married Helen REED McKinley 17 Sep. 1859 IL. Helen born 4 Mar 1832, died 3 Jan 1916 IL. She was a widow and had a daughter Ann from her first marriage. Henry spent some time in Merrill WI with his brother Oliver, in the 1860’s working with the logging crews. He spent the rest of his life in Kane Co. IL. Children of Henry S SMITH and Helen REED:

  • 1) Mary SMITH married Mr. HARROLD
  • 2) Carrie SMITH
  • 3) Nettie SMITH born 1864, died 1910. She married Fred Walter PATEE abt 1882 Kane Co IL. Fred born 1862, died 1924 Elburn IL.

Children of David Smith and Julia Russell

#45 1) Mary Louisa SMITH born 13 Feb. 1832 Mill Creek Erie Co., PA, died 21 Oct 1848 Marion WI

#46 2) Edward Bedford SMITH born 13 Oct. 1833 Mill Creek Erie Co. PA, died 6 Mar 1900 WI. He married 1) Lucinda BUTTON 4 Jul. 1859 WI. She was born 27 Sep. 1842 VT. They were divorced in 1865. He married 2) Mary Elizabeth CLINGER 15 Nov. 1868 WI. She was born 12 Mar 1847 in PA, died 1 Jan 1913 Broken Bow NE. Edward enlisted 1862 in Co. C, 20th Regt. W.V.I.; and served until the end of the war. After the war he traveled to California, and over most of the Western country. He farmed his father’s land and inherited one half of it. The other half he purchased from his brother Charles. The farm was sold in 1893 and Edward and Mary along with Evan and Emily Smith Mosely (Edward’s sister) went to the Dakotas to homestead. They returned a few years later. In 1911, after Edward and Emily had died, Mary and Evan were married and lived in Nebraska. Children of Edward Bedford SMITH and Lucinda BUTTON:

  • 1) Josephine SMITH born abt 1858. She married Mr. ABBEY
  • 2) Nellie J SMITH born abt 1861, died before 1913. She married Mr. AUSTIN.

Children of Edward Bedford SMITH and Mary Elizabeth CLINGER:

  • 1) Etta Louise SMITH born 7 Feb 1870, died 20 Feb 1943 Grant Co WI. She married Ed Smith. They lived in Boscobel WI No children.
  • 2) David C SMITH born 14 Nov. 1872, died abt 1873.
  • 3) George Albert SMITH born 1 Feb 1877 Grant Co WI, died abt 1946 Lafayette OR. He married Ida Mae CURTIS.
  • 4) Mattie Ione SMITH born 27 Apr 1878 Grant Co WI, died Aug 1957 Malta MT. She married George Delbert SABINS 17 Jun 1897. He was born 19 Apr 1877 Grant Co WI, died 3 Nov 1948 MT. They moved to Montana abt 1911-12.
  • 5) Dora Mae SMITH born 14 Jun. 1884 Grant Co. WI, died 1952 Great Falls MT. She married 1) George OATES 1 Oct. 1902 Grant Co. WI, 2) W.E. MCQUILKEN 17 Dec. 1912 MT, 3) Griff PRITCHARD.

#47 3) George Albert SMITH born 12 May 1835 in Mill Creek Erie Co. PA. George was called Albert. He married Jane -?_ before 1862. David and Albert enlisted together in the Civil War in Co. H 7th Regt. Wis. Inf. Vol. Part of the "Iron Brigade". Albert was killed 5 May 1863 in The Wilderness. A letter written by his father in 1865 says "Albert was wounded and left on the field and that is the last we heard of him." Jane and Albert had no children.

#48 4) Giles Russell SMITH born 3 June 1837 Mill Creek Erie Co., PA, died 11 Oct 1852 Marion WI

#49 5) Caroline Matilda SMITH born 22 Aug. 1838 Mill Creek Erie Co., PA, died 5 Oct 1860 Marion WI

#50 6)Julius Benjamin SMITH twin born 4 Mar 1840 Mill Creek Erie Co. PA, died 26 Jun. 1904 WI. He married Elizabeth _?_, born 3 Dec. 1847 in PA, died 31 Dec. 1915 WI. Children of Julius Benjamin SMITH and Elizabeth:

  • 1) Albert SMITH born about 1867
  • 2) Alice SMITH born 1879, died 1941Grant Co WI. She married S.C. GOULD.

#51 7) Julia Sophia SMITH twin born 4 Mar 1840 Mill Creek Erie Co., PA, died Oct 1860 Marion WI

#52 8) David Crocket SMITH born 12 Mar 1843 IL, died after 1911 his last known address Ellensburg, WA. He married Mary Rovilla SHEARER, daughter of John Shearer and Wealthy Waterman, 7 Oct. 1866 WI. Mary born 17 Jul. 1844 Pavillion, Genesee Co., NY, died 16 Oct. 1935 WI. David and his brother, Albert enlisted together in the Civil War in Co. H 7th Regt. Wis. Inf. Vol. Part of the "Iron Brigade". He was wounded at the North Anna River May 23, 1864. He later received a pension for his service. He was in Merrill, WI with his half brother Oliver around 1880. He worked as a timber cruiser. After that he farmed in Grant Co. WI. About 1890, he took a trip out west to Washington State in a covered wagon with his sons Eugene 21 and Warren 15. He deserted his wife and family in 1891 was last heard from Dec 22, 1904, in Ellensburg, WA. His son Warren last saw him at a Veterans Reunion in Boscobel, year unknown, and it was years later that he heard from his brother Gene, who was in Washington state, that David had died. His wife remained in Grant Co. WI until her death in 1935. Children of David Crocket SMITH and Mary Rovilla SHEARER:

  • 1) Sydney SMITH died in infancy.
  • 2) Julia SMITH born 1869, died as an infant
  • 3) Eugene D SMITH born 1870, died abt 1920. He went west in the 1890’s and was known to be in Washington State. He also did some mining in British Columbia.
  • 4) Warren Wilber SMITH born 21 Feb. 1876 Fennimore, WI, died Mar 1964 Licking MO. He married Margaret (Retta) BELL 25 Dec. 1900. She was born 19 Aug. 1881 Philadelphia, PA, died Jan 1954 Licking, MO. About 1891, he took a trip out west to Washington State in a covered wagon with his father and brother Eugene. Warren and Retta lived in Fennimore before moving to a farm in Missouri.
  • 5) Leona N SMITH, born 1878 Fennimore Grant Co. WI. She married T.G. SMITH. She went to live with her daughter in California and probably died there.
  • 6) Lillian SMITH born in 1883 in Fennimore Grant Co. WI.

#53 9) Emily Catherine SMITH born 11 May 1845 IL, died 22 Oct. 1904 NE She married Evan M MOSELEY 25 Dec. 1872 WI. Evan died NE. The Moseleys homesteaded in the Dakotas about 1892-95 with Emily’s brother Edward and his wife Mary. In 1911, after Edward and Emily died Mary and Evan were married and lived in Nebraska. Children of Emily Catherine SMITH and Evan M MOSELEY:

  • 1) Charlie Erven MOSELEY born 5 Jun. 1875 Grant Co. WI, died Broken Bow NE. He married Olive BENCE 9 Mar 1902.
  • 2) Earl Russell MOSELEY born 11 May 1877 Grant Co. WI, died 19 Jul. 1942. He married Edith BERGE 13 Mar 1918
  • 3) Roy Dixon MOSELEY born 5 Mar 1879 Grant Co. WI. He was known as Dick for Dixon not Richard. Never married, he lived with Julius Moseley and his wife Adah at Broken Bow NE
  • 4) Bessie Beryl MOSELEY, born 3 Jul. 1881 Grant Co, died 5 Dec. 1917 Broken Bow NE. She married Frank ANDERSON Mar 1908. Frank died abt 1920.
  • 5) Julius Smith MOSELEY born 31 Jul. 1887 in Broken Bow Custer Co. NE. He married Adah BENCE 5 Sep. 1909.

#54 10) Sarah Jane SMITH born 21 Sept. 1847 Marion WI, died Oct 1875 Sioux City Dakota Territory

#55 11) Charles Sidney SMITH born 23 Sept. 1850 Marion WI. He was living in Colorado in 1886 when his father’s will was settled. Family tradition says he went west and was not heard from again.

[Return to Thomas & Sarah Smith - Part 1]

This page was originally posted on November 2, 2001.

Last updated on  Tuesday, February 15, 2016 .

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