James Smith
of Hale township, Hardin county, Ohio, d. 1878.

After his marriage in 1822 to Mary Ann Taylor, James Smith was a farmer near West Liberty, Logan county, Ohio. On 29 November 1843, they moved to Hardin county, Ohio [Smith Family Records].

Date of birth: Probably 1800.
Place of birth: Virginia.
Various records agree on his date of death as 21 April 1878 (see below under date of death for citations), but disagree about his exact age at death. The Hardin county death records give his age as 77y, 5m, 14d, the Smith family records give 77y, 3m, 21d, and the cemetery inscription might give 77y, 7m, 14d (but legibility was a serious problem when I checked the inscription). This calculates to 7 November 1800, 31 December 1800, and 7 September 1800 respectively for the date of birth. In addition, a family group sheet sent to me by Mildred L. Littler has the birth listed as 24 November 1800, with the source for the sheet listed as "records of Clara Dille Cessna and Esta Cessna Littler" (a granddaughter and great-granddaughter of James Smith). In any case, 1800 seems like the probable year of birth.

Date of death: 21 April 1878.
Place of death: Hardin county, Ohio.
Place of burial: Pioneer Cemetery, Mount Victory, Hardin county, Ohio.
[Hardin co., OH death records, 1: 128; Smith Family Records; Pioneer Cemetery inscription, checked personally by compiler; see also the comments above on date of birth]

Father: John Smith, of Logan co., OH, d. 18401.
Mother: Rebecca Carrick, living 17 October 1817.
See the comments below.

m. Logan co., OH, 4 July 1822, Mary Ann Taylor, b. VA, 7 October 1804, d. 10 January 1881.
[Logan co., OH marriage records, 1: 22; A: 14]

Unless otherwise specified, information comes from Smith Family Records, apparently based on a family Bible.

William W. Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 2 April 1823, living 1880, Hardin co., OH;
m. (1) Hardin co., OH, March 1850, Melissa Wheeler;
m. (2) 9 November 1856, Sarah Perry.
The middle inital comes from the 1850-1870 censuses [1850 cen., Hardin co., OH, 141; 1860 cen., Hardin co., OH, 355; 1870 cen., Hardin co., OH, 386]. He was still living in Hardin co., OH in 1880 [1880 cen., Hardin co., OH, 89].

Frances R. Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 22 January 1826, d. Stockton, Rooks co., KS, 8 or 11 July 1913, bur. Stockton cem.;
m. Hardin co., OH, 19 March 1846, John W. Baldwin, b. Logan co., OH, 10 August 1822, d. 5 March 1907, bur. Stockton cem.
John and Frances (Smith) Baldwin moved from Ohio to Iowa in 1856, back to Ohio in 1860, again to Iowa in 1877, and to Rooks co., KS in 1879 [Lest We Forget (2 vols., Rooks County Historical Society, Stockton, Kansas, 1980), 1: 22 (gives birthdate of John W. Baldwin)]. Smith Family Records give 8 July 1913, as the death date of Frances Smith, her gravestone gives 11 July 1913 [Stockport Cemetery inscriptions, checked personally by compiler (also the source for John W. Baldwin's dates)].

Margaret Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 10 July 1828, d. Kenton, Hardin co., OH, 26 October 1906;
m. Hardin co., OH, 16 or 17 June 1847,
William Henry Baldwin, d. Hardin co., OH, 26 August 1903.
[Obituary of William Henry Baldwin, Kenton Daily Democrat, 28 Aug. 1903] Smith Family Records give the marriage date at 16 June 1847, the Hardin co. marriage records as 17 June 1847 [Hardin co., OH marriages, 1: 194]

James Milton Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 9 February 1830, d. Keokuk, Iowa, 19 October 1862 (Civil War);
m. Hardin co., OH, January 1856, Eliza Elder.

Nancy Ann Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 31 July 1833, d. Grassy Point, Hardin co., OH, 21 October 1913;
m. Hardin co., OH, 17 December 1851, Joseph Munson Dille, b. 12 September 1827, d. 25 February 1879.
The dates of Joseph Munson Dille are from Dille family records, sent to me by Mrs. Mildred L. Littler.

Mary Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 6 March 1836, d. Toledo, OH, 1910;
m. Hardin co., OH, 21 April 1859, Thomas N. Barkdull, b. October 1836, d. 17 January 1913.
The birthdate of Thomas N. Barkdull is from the 1900 census. His death date is from a handwritten addition to Smith Family Records.

Almond Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 11 Oct. 1838, d. as infant.

John Tyler Smith, b. Logan co., OH, 4 May 1841, living 1900, Norton co., KS;
m. Rushsylvania, Logan co., OH, 24 June 1869, Rebecca Jane Williams, b. OH, July 1852, living 1900.
John and Rebecca Smith were living in Rooks co., KS in 1880 [1880 cen., Rooks co., KS, 442r], and in Norton co., KS in 1900 [1900 cen., Norton co., KS, ED92, p. 12].

Charles W. Smith, b. Hardin co., OH, 16 August 1844, d. Kenton, OH, 24 August 1924;
m. Hardin co., OH, 28 August 1865, Mary A. Haines, d. bef. 1900.
Mary was deceased by the 1900 census [1900 census, Hardin co., OH, ED83, p. 6].

Sarah Etta Smith, b. Hardin co., OH, 15 November 1847, d. Paulding co., OH, 3 October 1874;
m. Hardin co., OH, 21 Dec. 1870, Nicholas Warren Baldwin, who m. (2) Paulding co., OH, 20 January 1876, Alice C. Porter.
[Paulding co., OH marriage records]

Finding the parentage of James Smith

Although a reasonable candidate for the father of James Smith surfaced fairly early in my attempts to find his parentage, it took longer to find the necessary proof. A good starting point for James Smith is the 1910 history of Hardin county, Ohio, which includes a biographical sketch of his daughter Mrs. Joseph M. Dille, written when several of the children of James Smith were still alive. It states that James Smith was born in Virginia, came to Ohio as a boy, married Mary Taylor, was a farmer in Logan county, Ohio for some years, came to Hardin county in 1843, and died in 1877, at the age of 77 [Hist. Hardin co., OH, 1910, 850-1]. As noted above, he in fact died in 1878, and all indications are that he was born in 1800. The marriage records of Logan county show that he and Mary Ann Taylor married there on 4 July 1822 [Logan co., OH marriages, 1: 22; A: 14], and he appears in the 1830 and 1840 censuses of Monroe township, Logan county, Ohio and the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses of Hale township, Hardin county, Ohio.

Looking for possible relatives in the same censuses, the one that stood out at first glance was Isabella Smith, who is enumerated adjacent to James Smith in the 1840 census of Logan county, aged 50-60. However, closer investigation showed that she was Isabella (Burnside) Smith, widow of Robert Smith [Hist. 1st Presb. Ch. Bell., 130], and that Robert Smith and Isabella Burnsides were married in Bath county, Virginia, on 14 January 1806 [Bath co. mar., 31-2], and thus would not be the parents of James Smith. However, the History of the First Presbyterian Church of Bellefontaine, Ohio reveals that Robert Smith had a brother, John Smith, who also came from Virginia to Ohio, settling on the Mack-a-Cheek creek. John Smith appears in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 censuses of Logan county, Ohio. On 24 May 1841, Peter Kelly was granted letters of administration to the estate of John Smith of Monroe township, Logan county, Ohio, Harriet Smith the widow of the deceased having relinquished her right to the administration [Logan co., OH Administrator's Dockets, C: 287, FHL film #545,336]. The records of this administration also include a list of items sold at a public sale on 14 June 1841 with their buyers. Smiths who bought at the sale were James Smith, Saml. Smith, Jacob Smith, and Wm. A. Smith (of whom Jacob and William appear to have been unrelated), and other buyers of interest were John Hill, Peter Kelly, and Nathl. Kelly [ibid., 291-2].

Additional clues to the parentage of James Smith came from three old photographs which were identified on the back as being pictures of sisters of James Smith. The pictures were of Jane Conklin, Betsey Hill, and Peggy Brown, who were identified as being sisters of "Grandpa Smith" in the handwriting of Clara (Dille) Cessna, a granddaughter of James Smith. Copies of these photos were sent to me in the late 1980's by Mrs. Mildred L. Littler of Andover, Ohio, whose husband was a descendant of Nancy Ann (Smith) Dille, and inherited a number of old family records and photographs. Of these three women, only Betsey (Elizabeth) Hill turned out to be easy to find (Conklin and Brown were second marriages, as I later discovered), and initial searches also failed to reveal proof of her parentage.

For several years, I failed to make progress. I considered John Smith to be a plausible candidate, but had not found proof, partly because the indexing of the Logan county deeds was not as helpful as it should have been (and I had not yet done an exhaustive search of the hundreds of Smith deeds, something I still have not done). Finally, one day while searching the Logan county deed books, I was checking the index under individuals whose initials were "S. S." (hoping to find useful information about the above Samuel Smith), when I noticed that there were a bunch of deeds there in which the grantor was the sheriff of Logan county. (Don't ask me why these deeds are indexed under "S. S.") One of these deeds had the grantee listed as Peter Kelly, the same name as the administrator of John Smith's estate. Deciding to check the deed, it turned out to be exactly what I had been looking for. As the deed stated, on 5 June 1841, Peter Kelly and Sarah his wife filed a petition against James Smith, John Hill and Elizabeth his wife, Nathaniel Kelly and Margaret his wife, Harvey Wilson and Jane his wife, Richard Minshall and Rebecca his wife, David Woltz and Isabella his wife, Robert H. Smith, and Samuel Smith, children and heirs at law, and Harriet Smith, widow of John Smith [Logan co., OH Deed Book P: 202, FHL film #545,367]. Thus, a deed of crucial interest to the genealogy of the Smith family had been indexed so that Smith researchers would have difficulty finding it. I eventually checked through all of the early Logan county deeds that had the sheriff as the grantor, and also discovered two important deeds involving the family of John Smith's brother Robert Smith [Logan co., OH Deed Book I: 538, FHL film #545,363; J: 618, #545,364]. The discovery of the deed involving John Smith's children led quickly to the second marriage of Margaret (Smith) Kelly to Samuel Brown on 20 January 1867 [Logan co., OH marriages, C: 488, FHL film # 534,836], and eventually to the second marriage of Jane (Smith) Willson to Zela Konkling in Grundy county, Missouri, on 22 January 1846 [Grundy co., MO, marriages, A: 41, FHL film # 1,007,639], giving clear confirmation that James Smith son of John Smith was the same person as James Smith of Hardin county. Further details on the family of John Smith appear on the page of John Smith. Later, I found another deed mentioning the children of John Smith [Logan co., OH Deed Book R: 595, FHL film #545,368]. Although the name of Harriet Smith was miscopied into the deed book as "Hannah" Smith (under which name it was thus wrongly indexed), I should have found this deed earlier than I did.

If this story has a moral, I guess it would be: "Don't count on indexes to always catch all items of interest."

Reference abbreviations

Bath co. mar. = Constance Corley Metheny and Eliza Warwick Wise, Bath County Marriage Bonds and Minister's Returns 1791-1853, (Warm Springs, VA, 1978).

Hist. Hardin co., OH, 1910 = A Twentieth Century History of hardin County, Ohio (Lewis Pub. Co., Chicago, 1910).

Hist. 1st Presb. Ch. Bell. = History of the First Presbyterian Church of Bellefontaine, Ohio (Press of the Index Printing & Publishing co., Bellefontaine, 1900).

Smith Family Records = Typescript record of births, marriages, and deaths of the children of James and Mary Ann (Taylor) Smith. This record appears to have been copied from a family Bible, and was sent to me by Mrs. Mildred L. Littler of Andover, OH, in 1987. Her husband was a great-grandson of Nancy Ann (Smith) Dille (see the above list of children of James Smith).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 24 August 2009.

Minor revision uploaded 14 October 2009.