Smith Official DNA & One Name Study

Smith Official DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA


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Take the case of Lawrence Smith. We knew that a sister of Warner's wife had married a Smith and so we were interested to find that the first mention of Lawrence Smith in Virginia was as a headright of his in the list of October 26, 1652, where the name of Mary Warner also appears. Lawrence Smith's first grant of land was in Gloucester on Mobjack Bay and, a later grant, part of which had been sold to him by Warner, lay across the North Branch of the Severn River from Warner. Lawrence Smith was conforming to the pattern of settling near the man who had brought him to Virginia. Later he became influential as a surveyor and military commander and large landowner. Some have supposed that he came from Totnes, Devonshire on the strength of a coat of arms on the tomb of his great-granddaughter Mildred Smith Jameson (1735-1778) at Temple Farm. Weighing against this is the fact that the Totnes parish registers do not reveal the baptism of any Lawrence Smith between 1620 and 1640, only four Smiths being baptized in this period of twenty one years; three girls and one boy not named Lawrence. Now, as Major Lawrence Smith was closely associated with Warner and even named a son Augustine, presumably in his honor, it seems possible that the relationship involved a family tie. By some it has been supposed that Smith married a daughter of Warners named Mary. I suggest that Lawrence Smith, like Lawrence Townley, was a nephew of Mary Townley Warner. The line of reasoning is this.: According to Dugdale, Elizabeth Townley of Stone Edge, an older sister of Mary Townley, married first Richard Halstead of Windlehouse and second Christopher Smith of Stannihurst (Stoneyhurst), gentleman, by whom she might well have had a Lawrence. We have not been able to verify her marriage to Christopher Smith of Stoneyhurst. Stoneyhurst is in the parish of Mitton, but a check of the Mitton registers has not revealed a Christopher Smith-Elizabeth Halstead marriage, nor a Christopher Smith baptizing children there, though there was a burial of a Christopher Smith there April 16, 1638. However, in the Burnley parish registers, where many records are found of the Halsteads of Windlehouse, there is a Christopher Smith marrying an Elizabeth Halstead May 3, 1624. The possibility that the Elizabeth Halstead of this entry was marrying for the first time was checked by looking into the baptisms of Elizabeth Halsteads who would have been of marriageable age by 1624. The two who were found died before reaching maturity and thus the Elizabeth Smith of the 1624 marriage could have been the widow or Richard Halstead. The marriage record does not give Christopher Smiths' place of residence, but we infer it was Stonirakes from the face that after that marriage a Christopher Smith residing there baptized at Burnley: John September 12, 1624, Lawrence, March 29, 1629, Christopher January 29, 1631/2, a child whose name is obliterated in the record but known from other sources to be Richard May 24, 1635 and Thomas December 17, 1637.....
... Our hopes of more positive evidence were raised by noting that an Elizabeth Smith of Stonirakes, widow, had left a will in 1679, still at the Lancashire Record Office.... The will was made January 28, 1675/6 and probated January 5, 1679/80. All five of the Smith sons are named in the order of their baptism and interspersed are the names of two women, Elizabeth Scarborough of Summerhouse, County York, widow and Blanche Smith, son John's daughter who was baptized March 7, 1651/2. Son Christopher is stated in the will to be of Windlehouse (the seat of the Halsteads) and son Thomas to be of Stonirakes, the location of sons John and Richard is indeciperable. The most pertinent item is that son Lawrence is designated as "late of Stoniriakes" and to him is left a bequest which he may have (as we reconstruct the passage) if he shall come '& lawfull demaund the same") Not only Lawrence's absense from Stonirakes at the time but also the expectation that he might return, fits in well enough with the history of Lawrence Smith of Virginia, for he made a number of trips out of Virginia to judge form the fact that he lists himself as a headright once in 1666 and twice in 1671 and definitely made a voyage to England in 1686. We know from the poll tax of 1660 for Brierclliffe that no Lawrence Smith was then at Stonirakes when Christopher Smith is listed with his wife Elizabeth and two sons Richard and Thomas and a servant Isssabell Hargreaves.  
.... A few Smith entries refer to Summerhouse. William and Elizabeth Smith of Summerhouse baptized a son Stephen February 14, 1664/5 (designated as of Cowling) they patzied four more children- John, William, Ellen and Mary. ... Perhaps the Smiths of Summerhouse had some connection with the Smiths of Stonirakes which could account for Elizabeth Scarborough living there in her widowhood. 
... Although the facts presented are not conclusive proof hat that widow Elizabeth Smith was Elizabeth Halstead, and thus proof that Elizaqbeth Smith of Stonirakes was born Elizabeth Townley of Stone Edge, they certainly make it seem likely. 
The hypothesis that Lawrence Smith of Virginia was from Lancashire, he son of Elizabeth Townley Smith and nephew of Mary Townley Warner, is not absolutely proved but seems a strong possibliity. It is in line with this hypthesis that he named a daughter Elizabeth, though there is no record of his having had a son Christopher
Footnote: A Christopher Smith was on the quitrent rolls of King and Queen County in 1704 for 200 acres (Wertenbaker, Planters of Colonial Virginia p 229). Was he related to Lawrence Smith? Later in 1728, a Christopher Smith of Hanover County received a grant in Spotsylvania County (Virginia Land Grands Book 13, p 738) Lawrence Smith's son William died in Spotsylvania in 1734. 

Lawrence and Christopher Smith

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
Vol. 81, No. 3 (Jul., 1973), pp. 319-367 by McCurdy
The Townleys and Warners of Virginia and their English Connections

Linked toFamily: Smith/Townley (F7320)

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