|NOTE OF EXPLANATION:
The writer of this sketch has included
letters pertaining to Dr. John T. Smith's life and family, because he
that the historical value of this information is of consequence; and
the references to other families might be of some interest and
to someone else undertaking a similar task. The letters also reveal
of the customs and hardships of the people in this section during this
period of time.
The letters are in chronological order,
to date and time of Dr. Smith and his family, and history as related to
Index of Letters:
Letters of Dr. J. T. Smith to Mary D.
before marriage; Letters of Dr. J. T. Smith to Mary D. Anderson after
Letter to Dr. Smith while in
from John W. Lampkin;
Letter to Dr. Smith while in
from his sister, Eliza Smith Carter, wife of Dale Carter and
of the late Governor H. C. Stuart; Letter of Dr. Smith to wife; Letter
of Dr. Smith to wife describing first train ride;
Letter of Dr. Smith to wife; Letters to
J. H. A. Smith, while in private school at Lynchburg;
Letters to wife from Richmond;
Letter to son, J. H. A. Smith, at
Letters to wife;
Letter to son, J. H. A. Smith, at home;
Letter from William A. Wade
of Mary D. Smith);
Letter to wife;
Letter to Dr. Smith from son, J. H. A.
Dr. Smith - List of Property;
Will of Dr. J. T. Smith;
Letter of Sympathy to Mary D. Smith
William A. Stuart, husband of Mary Lampkin Stuart, who was daughter of
Eliza Smith Carter. William Alex Stuart was father of the late Governor
H. C. Stuart;
Note of C. A. Smith payable to Mary D.
Guardian of J. H. A. Smith, for interest in slaves of grandfather,
Letter of Sympathy from S. T. Cox to
D. Smith. Mr. Cox was at Saltville attending the funeral of Mary
wife of W. Alex Stuart;
Statement of J. E. Evans,Attorney.
Long was the father of Richmond Long, both of whom were slaves of Dr.
T. Smith. Henry escaped and was recovered. Richmond went through the
War as a bodyguard of Major J. H. A. Smith, son of Dr. J. T. Smith. Two
Notices from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Dr. John T. Smith
Dr. John T. Smith was born at Clifton,
County, Virginia on July 5, 1805. He was the son of Henry Smith III and
Mary McCandlass Taylor Smith. Henry Smith III was the son of Henry
II and Mary Strothers Smith. Henry Smith II was the son of Henry Smith
I and Mary Crosby Smith.
It is not known where Dr. Smith
his undergraduate education. He was graduated from the University of
about 1833 with an M. D. Degree. Upon completion of his education, he
to practice medicine in Russell and adjacent counties. He also looked
his vast acreage. A portion of his lands is still owned and operated by
a descendant, a part of which was patented by Henry Smith.
Dr. Smith sought and won the affection
Mary Douglas Anderson of Elliston, Montgomery County, Virginia.
1 and 2) They were married on the 10th day of October 1833. Mary D.
was born on the 31st day of July 1816. Dr. and Mrs. Smith started
in a log house on the above-mentioned property, about 5000 feet
of present Route 19. This house stood on a beautiful knoll in a
that has always been called the "house seat boundary." It was located
150 feet from a beautiful spring.
The writer remembers a shrub or
that stood nearby the house seat until about 1938.
Written Before Marriage
Pattonsburg, July 24th 1833
I am now about to return the promise I
you in my last to inform you at what time you might expect me in
This, I am enabled to do with entire certainty, after making allowance
for accidents and unforeseen occurrences. It is my intention to leave
on the 30th inst, and allowing two days for the journey, you may expect
to see me on the 1st day of August. Should any thing transpire,
between this and that period to detain me longer, I shall apprise you
it in order to quiet every thing like mental anxiety, and relieve your
mind of the painful anticipation which you might have, as well also, as
to supersede the necessity of your trying to look too pretty. If that
all, you think I might spare myself the trouble. It is better to be
in seeing a
sweetheart at the expected time, than
neglect a patient, especially when they are so few and far between as
Though my practice, so far, has been
limited, I have some reasons to be encouraged. I have the promise of
practice of the most wealthy, and respectable families in the vicinity,
among which are the Harveys.
This is at least flattering to my
if it puts nothing into my pocket. My patient of whom I spoke in my
has been discharged, cured. This event was as highly gratifying to
and friends, as it was mortifying to my opponents. Dr. Pendleton and
are on terms of rather more sociability than heretofore, although there
is no friendship between us.
I was at the Judge's yesterday, when, I
that suspicion is on the wing. They cannot exactly see the motive of my
visit to Montgomery, especially, for so much punctuality, as I am about
to exercise. They say, they suppose I have some love affair up there,
that I always look so cunning out of my eyes when a certain name is
Aunt Taylor and her two daughters are going up soon, but I hope they
not make it convenient to go with me, although, such is the calculation
at this time -
I received a letter from Margaret some
ago, in which, she informed me that you had paid her a visit on the
of my letter, and that you expressed much anxiety to know when I would
be up, never suspecting all the while, that you had received a letter
well as herself. She says you are "so very prudent that she can get
out of you, also, that you are right artful. I wonder if she has just
that, if so, she is very much in the rear of myself. I shall show you
whole of it when I see you.
I hope you are thinking very fast, and
you will have your mind entirely made up by the time I see you, whether
my sentence is to be given in mercy or in wrath, if in the former, try
to look as angelic as possible, if in the latter, look as little like
angel as you ever did in your life. At all events do not have any set
made for me, such as, that "Candor requires you to say that you have no
warmer feeling for me than friendship. I once heard of a young lady who
after giving a gentleman his papers, said to him, by the way of
that it did
not in the least diminish her
for him. Said he, "G-d___ your friendship." -
I want you to ride out with me to the
during my stay, - and let us try the efficiency of a discussion on
I hope, it will not occupy us three days again, hard labor. Em Gardner,
and an escort will accompany us, I presume.
I understand, that Frances, and her
are about to make a match, and upon my word, when I saw him, I would
have given my chance for his, and it appears to me now, that I am at an
awful distance from a wedding. I have nearly expended my paper, and
my resources, therefore, I must conclude, by recommending you to the
protection of Heaven - Adieu.
John T. Smith
Written to Miss Mary D. Anderson,
Clifton, VA, August 30th 1833
My Dear Mary,
I have nothing to write to you about,
my object is merely to prove to you, that you are yet as fresh in my
as the day on which I parted with you. Time, which is continually
away the frail and dissoluble fabrics of earth, serves only to increase
my devotion to you. I am counting days constantly with arithmetical
Soon, will I commence counting hours, then minutes, and then seconds.
Could I believe, my Mary, that you felt
half the warmth of feeling towards me, which I do towards you, I should
enjoy a perfect Elysium on earth, but, woman is called, "uncertain,
and hard to please." Still, however, I know her to be capable of the
attachment, constant in her affection, patient and persevering under
There is but little sickness in the
at this time I therefore enjoy a state of almost perfect rest. I
yesterday from a visit to Eliza, having spent only one day with her;
said the reason I would not stay longer, was because, I wished to have
some person else to talk to me about that belle in Christiansburg.
The girls and myself were attending a
days meeting on last Sunday from Col. Bowen's, held by Mrss. M'Intyre
M'Kewen in Tazewell. The w_____ was all smiles and graces, but she did
not venture to joke me about you, although, she knew what was in
as every body else does. The report, I suppose, was first brought some
Wythe to Tazewell, by the lawyers of that place.
I had a most distressing dream about
a few nights since. I thought you had proved perfidious tome, and had
yourself to be lead away, by some worthless character. I was not
long to suffer such a state of mental torture, the effect was so
as to cause me soon to awake, and thus relieved me of the horrors of
Mary, I want to see you very much,
not for any reason in particular, but just to be in your society.
But if I cannot enjoy that happiness
the day is not far distant when I hope to experience the full fruition
of what my most enthusiastic feelings have lead me to anticipate.
I am as ever your affectionate lover.
John T. Smith
To this union the following children
First child, female, 8th day of October
Second child, male, 26th day of August
Third child, female, 21st day of
1836, near Holly Springs, Mississippi - stillborn
Fourth child, male, 7th day of June
at their place near Tallahassee, Mississippi - stillborn
Fifth child, male, 19th day of March
at their place near Tallahassee, Mississippi - stillborn
Sixth child, male, 2nd day of march
at Rosedale - stillborn
Seventh child, female, March 1842,
about 12 hours and expired
Eighth child, male, 7th day of May 1843
Rosedale - stillborn
Ninth child, male, 1st day of July 1844
Rosedale - stillborn
Tenth child, male, John Henry Anderson
born on Wednesday the 28th day of July 1857 at 8:00
o'clock A.M. He was the only child that
Eleventh child, male, 20th day of March
Twelfth child, 12th day of June 1850,
8:00 A.M., at Rosedale - stillborn
Marion, VA, June 2nd 1834
My Dear Mary,
I write mostly for the purpose of
you that, I have had a call this evening to Russell to see Scott's
She is represented as being in a dangerous way, and from the
given of the case, I am inclined to suspect phlegmasia dolens,
child bed fever. I shall start in the morning and probably will not
home before Sunday next, as I shall probably take Clifton in the way
perhaps May Tate on my return. I shall give orders for our other
to be brought forthwith, as I have offers to hire some of the Negroes
I think there is little doubt but I can hire them all without
when they come.
I have felt much anxiety about you
your departure, having heard that the waters were up, and dreading lest
our journey might fatigue you. I hope I shall bear from you by
mail and have my anxiety entirely relieved. I have been in quite a
state of spirits ever since you left me. What then is to become of me
an absence of three months? You situation is totally unlike mine. You
in the midst of your friends, relations, and acquaintances. I am in a
of total strangers. You are mistress of your own time and can command
own engagements. I am the slave of the people and must sit still or
at their command.
We held a meeting in the Court house
evening for the purpose of making some arrangements to celebrate the
anniversary of American Independence. Dr. Thorman acted as Chairman.
Pendleton was appointed to read the declaration. The orator is yet to
appointed by a committee. The honor of preparing suitable toasts for
occasion, was conferred on a committee, of which I am one. A dinner
also be given and perhaps a ball. I am, however, more inclined to think
I shall celebrate my 4th in Christiansburg. I am sure, it would be
of much more happiness to me.
I hope, my dear darling, you are
obeying my directions as to your health. If you do not, I shall reflect
on you for it. There is nothing would give me so much pain as for you
practice deception on me. I wish you to write to me and let me know how
you are doing and particularly about what I told you. If Capt. Strother
and myself should not commence merchandizing here I should like to
a house as soon as possible and let us go to housekeeping immediately.
If a female school could be made up, I think we would find it to our
to take boarders. I am entirely in favor of building on a back lot.
Give my love to all the family and
me to be your most
John T. Smith
Mrs. Mary D. Smith
Marion, June 19th 1834
My Dear Wife,
You cannot well conceive of the unhappy
of my feelings in not having recd a second letter from you. To tell you
the honest truth, for the last three or four days, I have been
in a state of distraction which has rendered me totally incompetent to
every kind of business. Have you totally forgotten the man who loves
far better than his own life? If yo have not how could you treat me
such cruelty, when you knew my extreme anxiety about your health? Is
health too bad? Then you could have got some body else to have written
Nothing but the near approach of Court
me from starting on Tuesday to see the cause of your not writing.
When the mail arrived, I was absent in
Valley but I hurried home full of expectation of finding a rich repast
in the long letter you had promised me.
I shall start down tomorrow and will
at Christiansburg by 12 oclock on Sunday. Can you meet me at Uncle
on Saturday evening. If your health will permit I wish you would as it
will abridge that much of my misery till I see you. I hope then my dear
you can account satisfactory for not having written.
I have not enjoyed any good health
you left here and I am confident that if I were seized with an acute
at this time. I should sink under it in your absence. I am compelled to
close my letter; my feelings will not permit me to continue it farther.
I remain as ever you truly faithful
And affectionate husband
John T. Smith
Mrs. Mary D. Smith
I should get down in two days but for
heard that Betty Crockett is sick, so that I must go by there.
Try my dear to meet me, if not look for
to dinner on Sunday - JTS.
Marion July 17th 1834
My Dear Wife,
I had the exquisite pleasure this
of reading your very affectionate letter which was dated on the day I
you but postmarked the 15th. From your great promptness, I am inclined
to think you must have been trying to imitate some other very
wives of your acquaintance. I am truly sorry my dear, to learn that my
absence has exercised so unfavorable an influence on your health, while
at the same time. I am compelled to acknowledge that a similar one has
been felt on my own from the same cause. My second day's journey was
performed with extreme pain to myself
on the following day I was unable to leave my bed during the early part
of the day. I am, however, much improved since that time. I found Betsy
Crockett in a much worse condition than
when I left her before. Indeed, I
her case as wholly hopeless.
My friend Dr. Watson invited me to
the day with im, also you & myself to call on them on our way home,
which I promised to do if we can conveniently - I have not been out of
town since my return until last night, when, I was called to Pendleton.
James Strother has not been here since my arrival and I am therefore
to let you know our arrangements. I understand that he is at present
by his wife. I have been called to see Mrs. Harley who has been
with abortion for a week, of a foetus of three months, in consequence
fright. I think I shall be able to save
if I can prevail on her to use any prudence. I understand that Maj.
family are sick to the number of half a dozen among them, Mary. They
not send for me I presume from the presumption of my absence. Broger is
over at Henry Taylor's also Miss Mayo whose bacon I am told he is
furiously. The Squire's house is progressing rapidly, so that, we may
to get into it by the 1 September at farthest. I am fully determined
I will not stay here another spell without you, for the truth is, I
can scarcely be said to live without
It is as you say, that we never were intended to be parted. I am not so
certain about my going down on the 1st August as I originally expected,
unless we could be ready to go to
housekeeping by the middle of that
I am unwilling, my darling, to be absent from here long at a time, as
Allen got several cases in my absence part of which I should have got
I been here. I would therefore prefer
to postpone going down, until I could
prepared to receive you here. I shall however let you know farther of
before that time. Our landlady took leave of us on Sunday for
Your last letter arrived here on yesterday.
She contemplated spending a few days in
on the way. I did not invite her to call on you and I presume she will
not. I intend going to the Saltworks on tomorrow if I can get off. I
the Squire is very anxious to see me, having sent several messages to
effect. I cannot see Juliet before the mailing of this letter, but if I
should on inquiry find it necessary, I will communicate to you, early,
whatever may be necessary concerning her.
Give my love to all the family and the
folks also and believe me as ever
Your most Affectionate
John T. Smith
Mrs. M. D. Smith (write soon)
Marion July 20 1834
My Dear Wife,
I am sitting in my room at a late hour
the night, absorbed in the most profound meditation about the absent
of my heart. Yes! Absent to my bodily eyes but continually present to
imagination. I feel that state of melancholy which is inseparable from
absence from you, and which I can only alleviate by holding this kind
intercourse with you. If I attempt to read, "thy image steals between
book and me." If I sit unemployed, you are not on my lap to beguile the
hours away with affectionate embraces and when I retire to rest, I have
no Mary to lay her head on my breast and sooth me to sleep. Ah! Mary -
you little know how my heart overflows with love to you.
There is nothing else on earth that has
charms for me or that I desire farther than it would contribute to your
I have just been reading in Byron, in
I find a great deal to admire and some to condemn, tho' I am fully of
opinion that this literary Colossus has not had justice done him by the
world. I am however not a little thankful that I am totally unlike him
in private character; still more so that you are so unlike his wife.
I have just returned from Saltville
all well, but Eliza in daily expectation. The Squire and myself did not
decided on any measure certainly tho' our views are very alike.
I called on Juliet who says that John
will be in want of clothing, but that the rest will have a sufficiency.
Mary may go down she says.
I met Maria Spotts and Ellen Bowen at
Thompson's; they came in with me and are now at Harley's -
It is said at the Saltworks on the best
that Dr. Gunn, that monster of imposture, hypocrisy, and perfidy, has
carrying off the wife of a respectable lawyer of Knoxville with him.
Frailty they name is
It is enough to raise a blush not only
the cheek of the sex, but on that of human nature.
I have not time to say more to you at
as I look for the stage ever minute.
Write my Dear on the receipt of this
add to the happiness of your ever faithful and affectionate
John T. Smith
Mrs. M. D. Smith
Marion, VA Oct. 9th 1835
My Dear Wife,
I am compelled to avail myself of the
opportunity of writing you a few lines merely for the purpose of
to you what my feelings are during your absence. I am, indeed, as
in spirits as you can possibly imagine, and if I had not already gone
far, I should be almost tempted to decline my contemplated journey
- My determination is made up never to be seperated from you again
we both live, but from the most extreme necessity - I hope my dear we
each of us duly appreciate the value of our separation and learn never
to doubt each other again in any respect whatever; in other words we
never pout at each other on any account -
John Crockett and Dr. Sayers just
here this evening to go on with us - I expect we shall not start till
I have sold our casting china and a few
trifles to Sheffy but I see no prospect of getting rid of any of the
I have the two umbrellas here which I
leave for you and Henry to take with you. I want you as you go to
to stop at Aunt Crocketts and stay as long as you can. Treat them all
great friendship and familiarity as I want you to do all our relations
you see while you are out.
Uncle Taylor's suit was just decided
in his favor after a long and tedious discussion.
Oh my darling! Is this the last word I
to say to you till I leave you for a turn, which will appear an age to
me? May God bless and protect you in my absence is the constant prayer
of your ever loving and affectionate
John T. Smith
Mrs. M. D. Smith
Lawrenceburg, Tenn. Oct 25th 1835
My Dear Wife,
You will see from the date of my letter
I am still moving Westward. I am now only 20 miles from the Alabama
and about 150 from La Grange the place where we purpose crossing over
Mississippi. We have so far all enjoyed perfectly good health and our
now is reduced to four, Major Thompson, Jno Taylor, Mr. Cunningham and
myself - The weather is as hot here now, as Aug is with us - I have
off old Davy even swap for a very fine horse that is not so well gaited
but much better able to carry me thru the mud a thing which I shall
the importance of very much when I start home - We came on from Marion
in company with a Mr. Reynolds formerly of VA to his residence in Giles
Co on Friday last, and stayed till today (Sunday) where we were very
entertained in bachelor style. I should have written from there but
not get paper enough -
The destruction of cotton in this part
the State by frost has been beyond example; the planters do not
on even a third of a crop.
I expect to write to you again from La
and after that you need not expect a letter from me till I get thru the
Chickasaw Nation as there are no Post offices in that county. I am
that his letter will not reach you directly as I fear you will have
C before this reaches you. I want you, however, to write to me at
as early as you receive this and let me know where to write to. I have
a great deal more to tell you about but it is late and I am fatigued
sleepy and will reserve it till I write to you again or see you. You
imagine, my dear, how crazy I am to see
and I shall use my endeavors to urge the company to return as soon as
Farewell my dear Wife
I am as ever
John T. Smith
Mrs. M. D. Smith
Baltimore, March 16 1836
My Dear Wife,
As Mr. Aston will start home on
I avail myself of the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you
know how we are getting along - We had intended starting to
in the morning but Mr. Morrison appears much inclined to abandon the
entirely. If any of my friends should be going to that city in a few
I may perhaps go, otherwise, I think I shall not. We had a fine sermon
today in Eutaw Church from Mr. Ridgway of the Md. Conference - In the
I went with William and all the Russell merchants to the new
German Catholic Cathedral - The
surpasses all that I have ever seen - As the house was densely crowded,
we could not sit down, but stood just within the door. Nearby us, stood
an official with his star inscribed J. E. S. and a halbred under his
to keep heretics in there place. When the congregation came to the part
of the service at which all kneel he turned to me, and told me I must
I told him, I would not, but that I could retire; he then told me I
leave the house which we all did in short order - A jolly old heretic
the hint soon
followed in our rear, and asked us if
had been ordered out, which we answered in the affirmative. I told him
I had never committed idolatry, and I was too old to begin it now - We
then went to the old Cathedral and arrived before service; we stood
enough to see the splendor and magnificence of the building, saw the
of several infant baptisms and profiting by the hint we had already
we retired more heartily disgusted with Romanism than ever - I saw so
a crowd assembled together before. Sandy is not a patching to it. It
mostly of the lowest order of foreigners who are but little above
We continued our walk to the green mount cemetery - This is the burying
ground of the aristocracy of Balto. It is indeed a beautiful place; in
the center, stands a magnificent gothic building of brown stone - The
are decorated with a variety of ornamental trees and shrubs and alas!
the marble monuments which were more impressive than all the sermons we
had heard thro' the day - Of all these there was one, which I stopped
gaze on with peculiar interest - It was a plain marble slab, on which
a beautiful little infant chiselled out of the purest white marble,
it a thin drapery through
which you could detect the prominence
its form and beneath which projected a beautiful little foot - Under
was a perfect imitation of a little bed and beneath its head a pillow
It was a solemn spectacle to a parent -
then returned to our hotels well-fatigued with much improved appetites
for supper -
On last evening Mr. Hy Aston, Tho
and myself were at Mr. Warden's. We were very kindly recd by Mrs. W.
asked many questions about her friends in Russell - Mr. Morrison
going on the plea of business - They insist on your coming in the fall
- and I have promised that you shall -
George has been complaining for two
of a very bad cold; he is quite hoarse today. Wm is well though not so
fleshy and rosy as when he was at our house. He and George both appear
cheerful and we all appear to enjoy ourselves well together - I have
seen Eldred since the day of my arrival. He is mostly at Conference
the day -
We have not made any new arrangement
my last letter from this city, namely for you to send by Nye's for us
Tuesday the 25 - I think we are both growing a little homesick, and I
be glad when the day of starting comes - Give my love to all and accept
the assurance of my sincere affection
Your devoted husband
John T. Smith
Dr. and Mrs. Smith moved from
to near Tallahassee, Mississippi about 1836 and lived there for
three years before returning to Russell County. The population of this
area at that time was so thinly settled that it was difficult for a
to live by the practice of medicine.
(Letters 10 and 11)
Dr. and Mrs. Smith employed a young
maiden to help with the house work while in Mississippi. They became
attached to the little girl and she likewise idolized them. Mrs. Smith
taught her how to read and write. Upon their leaving Mississippi, the
girl begged and pleaded to accompany them home. When they boarded a
to come up the Mississippi River, she became very hysterical and took
one of her little Indian moccasins and threw it on board the boat then
jumped into the river and drowned. The moccasin is still in
possession of the writer.
In 1839 or 1840 Dr. and Mrs. Smith
to Russell County. In 1850 Dr. Smith completed "Smithfield", the brick
house which is now occupied by the writer. This house has twelve rooms
and a large attic with no windows on the south-west or north-east. All
of the original wood was hand-hewn and put together with pegs. Cut
were used on the beautiful poplar floors. Each of the twelve rooms
a fireplace. This house took about two years to complete and cost
$5000.00. The brick were burned from clay on the farm and are of
hardness. The four corners of the house at the time it was erected
north, east, south and west. I feel sure that C. A. Smith, brother of
John T., laid the foundation for he was quite famous as a
Written to Dr. Smith while he was in
Abingdon, VA Nov 30th 1837
Your letter of the 4th Ult. was duly
and as you have probably seen, I took the liberty of publishing from it
some extracts, relating to Mr. Prentiss and the politics of your state.
As yet, I have not learned the result of
your recent elections. It seems that
and Cholson have refused to enter upon the convass taking their stand
the decision of Congress giving them their seats during the approaching
regular session. I cannot approve their course in this matter; - for,
all that I can learn, the people of your state elected them to serve in
extra session only. If this be the fact, it appears to me, that the
of Congress was an assumption of power, to which Mississippi should by
no means submit. At all events, as it is a doubtful question, Claiborne
should not have refused again to submit
claims to the decision of the people at the polls. So far as the
election is concerned, I feel some anxiety to learn the result. Should
the people of the State have elected the Whig members, will it not
Congress and the State into collision? Claiborne and Gholson will claim
their seats under the decision of Congress, at its late extra session;
and Prentiss and Ward will claim theirs under the verdict of the people
of a sovereign State. Will Congress undertake to confirm their former
opposition to the expressed will of the
of Mississippi? The question will be a novel one, but it strikes me
the people, of a State, certainly have the right to decide who shall
Your remarks in relation to the
of an Opposition Press at your place have been considered, and your
offer, to render me any service in your power, is duly appreciated. At
this time, however, I am undecided as to whether I shall continue in
place. My present business is tolerably profitable, and my friends,
wish me to remain and engage in the practice of the Law, in which they
offer to do all they can in my behalf. I do not, however, regard the
of law as very profitable in this section of country; but perhaps it
do in connection with some other business. In case I should determine
quit this place, I will write to you more fully in reference to
in your part of the country; but at present, the probability is, that I
shall remain here, for
sometime to come, at least.
As to news from this part of the
there is little that I could write you, which would be interesting.
is usually dull, owing to the great difficulty in collecting money. Our
merchants in this place, are doing almost literally nothing. Only a few
of them have laid in a stock of New Goods. The people are more pressed
for money than I have ever before known them, and Sheriffs and
seem to have their hands full of business.
In a political point of view, I think a
change has taken place in public sentiment, in this section of our
A considerable number of the old Jackson party, who were formerly so
to a U. S. Bank, seem now convinced of the expediency of such an
as well, on account of the advantages it affords to the people at large
in the way of conducting the exchanges of the country and affording a
and uniform currency - as an account of its aid in conducting the
operations of the General Government. The SubTreasury scheme does not
to be very popular with us, nor indeed in any part of our State. You
probably noticed the course of Mr. Hopkins, upon this subject. He has
farther in opposition to the Administration than I had supposed one
of his character and in his political
would do. I presume he would now, as upon a former occasion, be
"to let the people know," his real political sentiments, in full. I was
greatly disappointed in the result of the election between himself and
Humes - having no idea that Humes would be so badly beaten. I think the
individual destined to turn Hopkins out of Congress, is the notorious
M. M. of Scott. But enought concerning these folks.
Your Brother Henry, is announced as a
to represent Russell County in the next Legislature. Gray declines a
Wm. Gibson, I understand, will also be a candidate. I am surprised at
strength in the County of Russell, as developed in the last election.
was within a few votes of being elected.
From present prospects, I am inclined
think, there must be a new organization of political parties. Should,
is termed the Conservative Party, maintain its position, the remnant of
the old Jackson party still adhering to the Administration, will leave
it in a lean minority. The Administration will be compelled to retreat
from its late position in regard to the currency and fiscal schemes in
agitation and fall back, either upon the Special Deposite System, or
to the re-establishment of a U. S. Bank. The Deposite Bank scheme will
not be tried again. The Whigs will never consent to it and the
are too weak, of themselves, to revive that system again. The two
last named, should they coalesce upon the question, will always be able
to defeat the Sub-
Treasury System. The only alternative
is to resort to the Special Deposite plan, or recharter a National Bank.
At present, the former plan would be
likely to prevail. And I think it not improbable that at the
session of Congress, a sufficient number, of the several parties in
will unite and carry through this plan.
Should this not be the case, most of
conservatives will fall into the Whig ranks, and the establishment of a
National Bank take place at no very distant day. You must excuse
the political cast which I have given this letter, as I could not have
filled my sheet, without some speculations of that character. I presume
the neighborhood news which would interest you, you generally receive
the correspondence of your friends in this section - I shall, at all
be glad to receive a letter from you, and whenever I can write you
interesting from our part of the country, will take great pleasure in
doing. The direction concerning your paper, has been attended to.
With great respect, I remain
Jno. W. Lampkin
Dr. John T. Smith
Words copied as misspelled in letter
Russell County Feb 9th 1839
My Dear Brother
I deem it unnecessary to tell you how
I was rejoiced on the perusal of your letter of Nov. 27th not only
it was from one I had long wished to hear from but also because it
the very intelligence I wished most to hear. That you have found the
of great price, the very best treasure you could ever be in possession
of. What a happy thing. I dont know how to congratulate you enough. I
by this time Mary is a partaker and that she is now a living witness
our blessed Jesus. Very truly do you observe how much better is is even
in this life the difficulties and afflictions to which we are subject
this life are more easily supported beside a peace which this world
give and the longer you continue a faithful follower of the meek and
Jesus you will find that trust and that hope in Him grows stronger and
stronger and take it away from us and we would rather live not at all.
Though my dear Brother you will meet with many a sane temptation
have already had some) that will seem to almost overcome you and
feel like you will faint by the way but in such an hour let me tell you
to trust in the Lord and in every case watch and pray - I went up to
soon after I received your letter they had not heard that you had
religion. They were very much affected at hearing it tears of Joy &
gratitude flowed from their eyes. - Mother said she thought she would
see half the uneasiness about you now that she had done in days past. I
think Father said very little as he does generally about such things.
still seems unconcerned about that which involves his best interest.
salvation of his Soul. I think we ought to be mightily engaged for him
he is getting quite old and his head almost entirely white he stayed
us last night - I think there is a good work going on in our family the
female part all appear to be thoughtful and engaged. I thought Henry
serious on reading your letter. John Taylor is very much changed. I
nothing but grace could have wrought so great a change. I do not know
he professes or not, Cousin Mary is still going on in the old way I
she is the most pious woman I ever knew. Aunt Taylor is very unwell her
health has been bad for some time aunt Peggy scarcely ever leaves her.
You wish to hear the particulars of Uncles death Mother was with him
has a great hope for him as he had himself but he would have given
he had in the world to have known that he would be happy he exhorted
children and his servants and in fact every one he saw to meet him in
I am told he prayed with every breath never was a family more deeply
I suppose but it is wearing off Charles said he was ruined. It is
Sally T. will marry a Mr. Stewart before long such is the report. When
I wrote you last I thought Sally Smith would have married before this
that has all fallen through and I am in hopes it was all for good as
has another "beau who is I suppose a much better man He is the
of the Emory & Henry College I have a slight acquaintance with him
he is a Methodist Preacher I dont know what she will do with him. The
still visits Clifton occasionally...
*This was Mr. Charlie Collins 1st
of Emory & Henry College.
There has been a great revival of
about Marion I understand almost all in and near town have joind the
James Strother amongst the rest has joined and professes Religion I
Eliza professed before you left here. Aunt Strother is going fast with
her cancer it has eaten considerably about her face. I believe I have
you all the news that I can think of at this time and will therefore
a long and hastily written letter.
Mary has given me a lone message for
and her Aunt Mary too tedious to write she says she wants to see you
bad. Henry is at his Grandfathers and John is at home quite sick and
but is getting better. I hope you will write to me soon again they are
complaining at Fathers of your not writing. I hope you will remember me
the weakest and most unworthy of all creatures that ever took the name
of Jesus give my love to Mary and may the Lord help you to go on may he
bless and guide you and at last save you in his kingdom is the earnest
prayer of your truly affectionate Sister E. C. C.
Mr. Carter sens his respects to
E. C. C.
As previously stated, due to the
area, Dr. Smith was forced to ride horseback and practice over a large
area of Southwest Virginia. Letters attached will indicate that he
ride into Scott county, then over to Washington County and on through
Wythe, Pulaski, and into Montgomery County. He would always stay with
Andersons at Elliston, his wife's people. As you can see from the
letters he did quite a bit of consultation and surgery on his circuit.
As has been said, Dr. and Mrs. Smith's
living child was J. H. A. Smith I. Mrs. Smith was kept in bed for three
or four months before his birth. He attended Emory and Henry College
private schools in Lynchburg.
He entered the Civil War at about the
of 18 as a Captain in command of a company of volunteers from Russell
He was promoted to major in 1864.
Dr. Smith was one of the first doctors
inoculate for smallpox by removing a scab from an infected person,
a small cut on the person to be inoculated and tying the scab onto the
cut. It was successful so I was told but the lack of antiseptic
very often made quite a sore. He also wrote a paper which was delivered
before the National Medical Board on the prevalence of enlarged thyroid
(commonly called goiter) in women in this section of the country. He
he was not sure but that he felt the cause was due to the lack of some
element in our soil and he thought it might be iodine. This paper was
the possession of the writer but has been misplaced.
Clifton VA April 9th 1840
My Dear Wife
I have just retired from the noise and
at a large crowd to answer your sweet affectionate letter just rec'd by
todays mail, hoping that I may be able to get an opportunity of sending
it to Abingdon on tomorrow thereby enabling you to receive it on
The wedding as you know took place last night. There was quite a
little company over from Abingdon and every thing so far has gone off
well. I could not enjoy myself for want of you. I think I never have
to see you so badly before in my life but circumstances put it entirely
out of my power to do so earlier than the 20 or 21st Inst. When you may
look for me with certainty and I hope you will be well prepared to
me. Henry and family came over last Friday. I was down at home when
came. I have been living with old Mr. Williams ever since I went down
kept me from being as lonesome as I might have been. He is however
moving now to another place. I shall go tomorrow or next day with Dr.
to Tazewell to operate on a tumor which will consume a whole week.
This throws me so back that I cannot
time to go earlier than I tell you. I wish therefore if any dinners are
to be given to George they may be given immediately after the wedding
we cannot be at this. John Taylor reached here on last Thursday from Mi
with no news more than we have heard. Mary Fulton's son died a few days
I do not remember any thing more than
interest you at this time. Give Mr. and Mrs. Anderson my
for the happy consummation of that event which has contributed so much
to their enjoyment.
Accept my warmest love from your absent
John T. Smith
Excuse my short letter - it is
to tell you why. J. T. S.
Dr. John T. Smith died in Lynchburg
1862 on his return home from visiting the battle fields in and around
Virginia. He was buried in an iron casket on a beautiful knoll about
feet west of the Smithfield house. His favorite saddle horse was buried
close by his grave. Also buried there was the ranger referred to in the
letter from Dr. Smith's son, one Yankee soldier whom he treated while
his home who became ill on the march from Tazewell to Saltville and
to the doctor's home seeking medical attention, all of his negro slaves
who preceeded him in death, and a few other white people.
(Letters 13 through 30)
Richmond VA March 10th 1856
My Dear Wife,
Well, you see I am in the great
of our native state, having arrived a few minutes after three today -
I have been here too short a time to give you any account of the city,
I shall defer that and try to entertain you with a sort of description
of our trip down. When we reached the seven mile ford, I felt a good
indisposed and hypochondrical, and felt somewhat like going back home.
I thought, however, I would venture as far as Christiansburg and if I
felt homesick, I could only return from there. These inquisitions
to haunt me till I reached the depot, when a sight of the great "iron
and his monstrous train dispelled them like chaff before the wind - How
little idea had I of a railroad car or locomotive! and how strange that
I have never seen any person who could give me an adequate conception
them! I must be the greatest admirer of the works of nature and art in
the world, or the most childish man that ever lived. I wish you could
partaken of my enthusiasm, or even witnessed mine when I first entered
the car. Instead of a little narrow pent up affair, resembling a large
mail coach in which the passengers sit cramped up together, you are to
imagine a building quite as long as our house and wider than our
with rows of fine walnut, cut velvet spring-bottom seats on each side,
each one sufficiently large to contain two persons, with a spacious
in the middle, with a glass window to every seat a blind and a curtain;
and the backs of the seats to constructed that they can be inverted in
a moment, so that you can ride with your face forward or backward, or
can sit and vis a viz. The whole interior of the car is finished in a
ornamental style and is admirably warmed by a stove fire. You may guess
that as green a gentlemen as I was, highly dazzled with these first
but my enthusiasm had not yet attained its acme.
In a few moments the huge monster in
began to bellow forth the signal of departure - then the monstrous
followed in the rear with a speed which seemed to leave all the world
- On we went at one moment with a yawning gulf beneath us at another
a frowning precipice over-hanging us then, darting into a tunnel of
darkness then suddenly emerging into light.
How much did I regret that you and son
Sarah had not all been along. Can you imagine how I felt when I saw old
Settensones well known mill-dam, and still more, when I reached the
leading up to Aunt Polly's and cost a wistful look at the old place.
we reached the station at Capt. Kent's - I looked out and saw George
a lady into the cars. We had but one minute to converse but he told us
that Eldred had gone on two days before, and that he, himself, would be
on today. When we meet I shall be able to tell you something more.
We reached Lynchburg Saturday at 5
P. M. and met Mr. F. G. Morrison of the Depot who took us home with him
and treated us very hospitably till this morning. Miss Martha promises
to go home with us on our return. We went to the episcopalian church on
yesterday. It is a very fine building and contained a very fashionable
I am determined to take you all on a
trip this summer if we live. Tell son I have wished for him throughout
my journey. We shall spend the day here tomorrow - and leave next day
Balto. I have met with Mac, and various other fiends here who appear
to see me. I hope you will push the work with your might. Enquuire how
the stock are doing and if they are kept out of mischief -
Tell Wm that flax seed is dull at this
and he had better be cautious how he buys - One keg of butter either
or Carolines we do not know which is still on hand - we shall know in
morning - it is said to be injured by too long delay -
Give my love to Sarah and son and
and William also Mr. Morrison - and believe me your truly
John T. Smith
Alleghaney Springs VA Aug: 13 1858
My Dear Wife,
Douglass and I reached here on the day
yesterday, after spending twenty four hours at the White Sulphur.
I found our friends all well on our
on Saturday. On Sunday, I was reattacked with diarrhoea which harrassed
me till the following Tuesday, since which time I feel in my usual
Annie has so far given general satisfaction to all her friends in this
quarter. Hamilton and John are devoted to her beyond measure. I met
my old friend Dr. Bourland, whom I knew in Mississippi whom I
at first sight and who appeared overjoyed to see me. He has removed
N. Orleans and been greatly damaged by the flood. He introduced me to
second wife whom I found a charming lady from Norfolk. I regretted to
with him. I found Henry Taylor and wife, Virginia Crockett and Mrs.
here. We shall go to Christiansburg tomorrow and stay till Monday among
The Company, here, is not large and
of the rather plebeian order, so upon the whole, we do not pass our
I received Mr. Morrison's letter last
informing me of the happy termination of Caroline's labor. Tell him
I entirely approve of his selection of a name, and I think he could not
bestow it more worthily. I cannot say any thing about going home, but I
shall probably remain at least a fortnight longer.
May Kent's wife died lately, also, the
Give my love to all our friends and
the assurance of my sincerest devotion
From Your Affectionate Husband
John T. Smith
Rosedale VA. Sept 17th 1860
My Dear Son:
I have the pleasure of informing you
I reached home on last Wednesday (the 12th Inst) and found all well. I
spent one day and two parts of days at your Uncle George's, one at
one at Dr. Radfords, and from Saturday to Tuesday at Wytheville. I
our friends all well and very glad to see me.
Your mother recd a letter from Mr.
on Thursday informing us that you are very diligent at your studies.
was very gratifying to me indeed. Nothing would give me so much
as to see you a head and shoulders above all the other boys of your
By patience and perseverance, you may surmount all difficulties which
your path. Besides intelligence, I want you to cultivate good manners,
as no person is ever acceptable in good society without these. Attend
to cleanliness of person, by washing your face, hands and neck
and cleaning your nails daily; also, have your hair neatly trimmed when
necessary. Do not lean back your chain or lounge in it, and when in
attend closely to the conversation, so that you may learn something,
at the same time be prepared to answer any question addressed to you.
Above all be on our guard against bad
as nothing is so likely to deprave the morals of boys as that. Be kind
to your fellow students, and above all, be very obedient and respectful
to your teacher.
Let me again enjoin on you to be very
that I may see your improvement when I see you; never goto school with
your lesson half-learned.
Let not the word Can't be found in your
Learn, throughly, whatever you undertake, and look in your dictionary
every word whose meaning you do not know, and as you progress in Latin,
endeavor to understand the derivation of words.
We have had a glorious peach season
has just ended - We have had some so large that they would not go in at
the mouth of our cans - Your mother is very much pleased with the new
I brought, and has them all filled. Tell your Uncle Morrison that we
furnish him with the feathers early in October. Ask your Aunt Caroline,
if she would like to have as much as fifty pounds of butter at that
or less; either will suit us.
Tell your Uncle Morrison that Henry
paid $30 during my absence - and Calvin Griffith paid me $20 on
Your mother and myself send our love to
and all the family.
I am affectionately
Yours and Jno. T. Smith
Rosedale Russell Co., VA Nov 8th 1860
My Dear Son,
I write you a very few lines to inform
that your mother reached home on yesterday about 5 o'clock. When
she came in sight of Lebanon, she met our friend Wm. Samples in his
who kindly volunteered to bring her home, and but for this fortunate
she would have been detained there all night, as the coach horses had
out and were unable to bring her further. Of course, she gave me an
surprise, as I had ceased to look for her after hearing of the
on the Railroad. She distributed the various presents among the
last night, all of which were very acceptable. I was happy to
of the progress you are making in your studies, and hope you will be
to still further exertions. Nothing but hard labor will ever make you a
man of intelligence. I do not mean that you should not allow yourself
for exercise and recreation.
It is unnecessary to say any thing to
about the election in this County, as you will see a more correct
in the papers that I can give you. Your horse and dog are well. Stewart
has not noticed your mother since she came home; he seems a little
Give our love to all Mr. Morrisons
and accept our most affectionate regards.
Your Affec Father
John T. Smith
We shall send down some things as soon
the railroad damages are repaired - Your mother says you must be
never to go to bed with cold feet and when the weather gets colder, get
you a warmer cravat.
Write to us soon.
J. T. S.
Get your Aunt Sally to sew string to
shawl so that you can tie it up around your throat.
April 8 1861
My Dear Wife,
I arrived here on Friday about 3
in company with Mr. Thomas Alderson, without any unpleasant occurrence
except the loss of my trunk at Lynchburg. When we arrived there, one of
the agents of the Orange & Alexandria road met us to knew if we
take that route, and being answered that we would, he called for our
and assured us he would deliver our trunks at the depot immediately. We
went to the place, and bought our tickets and waited for our baggage
we become fearful it was lost, when Mr. Alderson went over and got his,
but could not find mine. The car then started and when I arrived here,
I wrote to Mr. Morrison and on Saturday I recd a telegraph from him
my trunk was forwarded that morning. I went to the Depot this morning
it was not there. I then telegraphed again but have no answer yet.
I have met many of my old
and been in the Convention some time. The Union men still have a large
majority, though many of them have yielded since they came here.
I have placed Cynth in the Hospital and
Doctors think she will be very easily treated, but advise that she
be kept under treatment for some weeks to insure the impossibility of
She is greatly admired by all who see her, and one man on the Cars
hard to buy her.
I could sell her at this house the
Hotel) if she were sound. She is very desirous of being sold here and I
think I shall give them the refusal as they appear to be very clever
Tell John Henry to study very
till I get home and let me see that he has learned a great deal.
I want to leave here about the last of
week for Lynchburg and stay a few days there, but I do not think I
stop any where else on a/c of the cars passing after night. I shall
know more about it after I reach Lynchburg.
You may guess I was in a pretty bad fix
my wardrobe after losing my trunk, but I soon found Will and we went to
a clothing store, and I rigged out in the way of shirts, collars, and
Will and family are all well. I spent
evening with them. It has been raining every day since Saturday, and is
Give my love to son and accept my
regard, from your
Richmond VA April 12th/61
My Dear Wife,
I am still here, hoping to recover my
but I am about to abandon all hope. The Agent telegraphed yesterday but
has received no answer this morning. I have accordingly bought another
and if I do not get off tomorrow, I shall do so by Monday. Yesterday
the first dry day since I have been here, and today, it is almost
again. I took tea with my excellent friend Eckol, night before last and
was introduced to his lady and who do you think she is; the widow
whom we met at the Alleghany, and whom we admired considerable. I did
recognize her until after tea, when Mr. E. casually mentioned to me who
she was, when I could at once see a resemblance, though she is a good
broken - She is the same modest, retiring lady she was when you knew
I enquired for our friend Mrs. Hubert and Ella and expressed a wish to
see them; upon which, they insisted on my going, and Mr. Eckol promised
to go with me. We went on yesterday and met with a very cordial
Ella is large as Lucy Fuller. Mrs. H. is as youthful in appearance as
She has a splendid organ in her house which made the finest music I
heard. We parted with an invitation that I should spend a day with them
before leaving the City. She made many enquiries for John Henry and
as Ella had grown too fast for him that she had a niece he might have.
I went to the slave auction on
and determined they should not sell one for me unless they became worse
than any we have. I am on a trade today with the proprietors of the
and I think they will give me $900 for Cynth, as she is, and pay all
I am willing to take less for her privately, than to sell her publicly.
These men, too, are very kind to all their servants.
I cannot say when I shall be at home,
will write from Lynchburg. I do not think I shall stop any where else
a/c of the night travel. I shall sue the Company at Lynchburg if my
is not found by the time I get there. Give my love to son and urge him
to learn a great deal by the time I get home.
Your Affectionate Husband
John T. Smith
Richmond VA April 13/61
My Dear Wife,
I write to inform you that a telegram
here today about 3 o'clock announcing the capture of Fort Sumpter by
troops of the Confederate States - The attack was made on the previous
day about 4 A.M. and on yesterday it surrendered.
There is a perfect furor of enthusiasm
among the secessionists. Cannon has been firing ever since the news was
announced in Capitol Square - And all men are wondering was it to be
denouement. The secession feeling is growing in the East but our
members are as firm as rock yet.
Another dispatch has announced that
is appointed Sec'y. of War, but this is considered somewhat doubtful. I
failed in disposing of Cynth, as I hoped, on account of the fears
of her disease. I shall leave her in the hospital with directions to
Eckols to dispose of her to the best advantage.
I rec'd a telegraph from Mr. Morrison
evening that no news can be heard of my trunk.
I shall leave here next Tuesday for
and when I arrive there I shall see the Company. I have become heartily
tired of City life and long for my retired life. Mr. Eckols is still my
constant friend ever ready to wait me in every thing needful. I am
to dine with him tomorrow.
This is the second dry day since I have
here and it rained the entire night most tremendously. It is so warm
as to make fire unnecessary. I say to you again to urge John Henry to
in learning. Tell him he can never shine among gentlemen unless he is
I am very affectionately
John T. Smith
Lynchburg, VA April 17th 1861
My Dear Son:
I arrived here last night at 10 oclock,
been delayed from failure to connect at the Junction. I suffered
all day from influenza which made its appearance on Sunday morning. I
not suffer so much today with headache, but I am still very poorly. The
news is of the most thrilling character. I should not be surprised if
State secedes this week. Instead if she does not the people will compel
them to do it. A dispatch arrived this morning that the President has
the Navy Yard at Gusport. If this be true, I do not doubt that any army
will be marched immediately to capture it, and also, Harpers
You will see that Lincoln had ordered
volunteers to be mustered into service to subjugate the Southern
This is goading the Virginians to madness and there is now but one
and that for separation.
I am very desirous to get home but as I
too unwell to turn out this cold weather I shall probably stay here
I feel better.
The excitement here is tremendous, all
for fight - Flags are waving from almost every house.
I want you to have all the corn ground
and when necessary ploughed over by the time I get home.
Your Uncle Morrisons family are as well
usual and very glad to see me.
I shall write to you when to meet me. I
not time to write you any more till the mail closes so give my love to
your mother and accept my sincere and affectionate regard.
John T. Smith
Lynchburg, VA April 18th/61
My Dear Wife:
I am still very unwell today, more so
yesterday. Still, I cannot forbear coming down to hear the latest news.
A dispatch has reached here today that Harper's Ferry has been captured
by the VA troops. Every body, here, seems to be on fire. The very women
are talking of joining the army.
The soldiers are all in readiness to
at a moments warning. We cannot hear any thing from the Convention as
are still in secret session. But, there is no doubt but we are out of
infamous Union with Yankees. Tell all our neighbors to be rubbing up
guns and to prepare to march when called to repel Lincoln's 75,000
I cannot tell when I shall be at home,
I am too unwell to think of turning out yet, and what is more, I would
rather wait till the Sup. Court passes, as I should be summoned there
day. Urge the hands to have every thing ready for planting by the time
I get home. Have the old orchard cut down broke up and harrowed for
cane. Give my love to John Henry and believe me as ever.
Your Affectionate Husband
John T. Smith
Lynchburg, VA April 20th 1861
My Dear Wife:
I write to inform you that by a
last night, we learn that a bloody engagement took place on yesterday
Baltimore between the citizens of that city and a Boston regiment which
was on its march to Washington, in which a hundred or more of the enemy
were killed and 800 made prisoners while only about 20 of the
lost their lives.
This event has been hailed here with
of joy. Our troops are moving on Harpers Ferry and Gusport Navy Yard
other important places. The companies here are burning for a call to
conflict. We send you the latest news by the papers of today. I hope
will impress on our neighbors the war spirit to revenge the outrages
by Lincoln against our country.
I feel greatly better today than at any
since I have been here, and I shall go to George's tonight. I shall,
stop at Christiansburg and Wytheville, and get to Lebanon on Friday
but of this I shall write to you again. I want to get home, but I
very much to leave the great lines of communication, while events of so
thrilling a character are going on. Give my love to son.
I am Your Affect Husband
John T. Smith
Spread the news.
Lynchburg, VA June 14th 1861
My Dear Son:
I recd your letter of the 10th inst. On
day before yesterday, and though very feeble from an attack of
I avail myself of today's mail to answer you. I reached here this
at 5 « A.M. and find all well.
The news which you will have read
this reaches you of the battle of Bethel Church is fully confirmed. The
victory is a most glorious one to the Confed. States. It is now
proved that the enemy lost about 300 men, while we lost but one man,
that through his own fool hardiness.
It is, also, reported on good authority
a second battle has been fought at Phillippi, with a loss of about 100
to the enemy, and a very slight one on our side, whilst our troops have
recaptured the village, all the arms lost before, and several cannon
All here is enthusiasm, and all are
over our victory. Troops are arriving from the South at the rate of
10,000 per week. They are greeted every where along the road with the
of a grateful people.
As I received no letter from Richmond,
think I shall go down there on Monday. I wrote to Will to write me a
at this place; he has written one to Mr. Morrison entirely
Write to me again at this place on the
of this. Give my love to your mother and my respects to our neighbors
accept the assurance of my affectionate regard from
John T. Smith
Christiansburg, VA 19th August 1861
My Sister Mary
Be not alarmed when you behold the
appended to this humble communication. It is not my intention to
for a few moments the bonds of silence which hitherto have kept us in
profound silence with regard to each others condition; but now to renew
a correspondence, long since abandoned for reason,
I presume unknown to each; that we may
advised in all time to come as to our conditions. I have heard from you
occasionally, mere simple statements that you and all with you were
and such information is but little gratification to those united by the
ties formed by nature.
I have not received any direct
from you since Bro. John was pleased to favor us with a visit (at which
time my wife fell in love with him) and I am growing anxious to hear
We have been, and may now be called in
family yet, inroads are being made upon our ranks and will be until
be but one left on Earth, to keep green in the memory, recollections of
former years, places and persons. With the forcible demonstration we
had evidenced the great futility, prospects and aggrandizement of
accumulations, an instance has occurred reminding us of the
of the declaration "that all flesh is as grass," formed but to wither,
created but to expire, set afloat on the boistrous sea of time. To sink
and rise in the vast ocean of Eternity, were it not for these ruptures
of feelings and association, intended doubtless by God for our immortal
and external well-being, we would conclude all mortal save ourselves,
the unwelcome and starting thought of dissolution would never haunt our
imagination, or flush the streams of life that course our veins, no
would we think that "corruption, Earth and worms, would have a work to
accomplish in refining these vile, frail tenements that enshrine the
jewel. Shaped by the hand of Omnipotence, to form the Savior's diadem
Heaven. "Death enters and there's no defense." - I will not attempt a
of that which sickens the heart - the announcement of departed friends,
- let it suffice me to say that it seemed to me the hour of darkness
I mourned beneath its power; - here are distresses, losses, partings,
every thing calculated to incite despondency, and cruel the sprit
a load too pondrous to be bourne but "there is a land of spirits bright
which obey faith I see," where nothing of this kind is known to the
thanks be to God for that land, Eternal Glory be to Christ, for the new
and living way which has been made accessible; for the fountain for his
most precious blood opened for sin and uncleanliness, whereby sin in
deepest dye may be washed away, and man eventually saved, O, Jesus
than I should forget thee let this stammering tongue, and these limbs
stilled in death. Let me forget my nearest and dearest Earthly friends,
even her who bore me, but never O never let me forget thee and what
hast done for me.
There is consolation in the thought
we all may meet, where the "weary are forever at rest" and by divine
I am determined to make my home in that blessed place, there I desire,
to meet not only those who have already passed from sorrow, but all who
composed the family on Earth.
I must give you some of the news of the
Some time since I thought Ellerbe had
night run his race and would shortly enter into the joys of Eternity,
looked as tho' his flesh would soon be unable to hold the spirit, not
he was prostrated on a bed of sickness; but evidently he grew daily
but now he is improving tho' unable to walk about much. Yet I think he
will be spared some years to accomplish good on the Earth.
Doubtless you have heard of the death
All the rest of your friends are well.
Polly appears to be enjoying very good health now and looks much better
than she has for some time.
My wife joins in love to you, Sallie,
Jno., Jno. Hen. & all.
Let me hear from you soon.
Your aff and devoted bro.
Wm. A. Wade
Several of Aunt Esther Douglas'
Gilson and Anna who was married in Jan to a Mr. Pawley) were here this
month and Eliza Anderson went home with them.
Winchester, VA Dec 21st 1861
My Dear Wife:
I arrived here on yesterday morning
a rather wearisome journey from Lynchburg. We left the Junction about
and reached Strasburg at 10 P.M., and after a nap of two hours on a
bed in a dirty house, we were roused up to take the hack for this
I am now in the Hotel formerly kept by Taylor but is at this time a
rough place. My first inquiry after breakfast was for our army which I
found encamped three miles from here. My old friends were all very much
gratified to see me among whom were the Rays, Howard and Marshall: all
of whom are well except Ira Ray who is down with jaundice.
I accidentally learned during the day
John was in town in the employ of Maj. Truhart, and on my return, I
to work to search him out. I inquired for the Ordinance Dept. And when
I found it I was told that he was out, whereupon, I was about to leave
him my card, but at that moment he turned a corner of the street, saw
and ran to me in double quick time. Maj. T. soon came in, and I was
to him and found him a very polished gentleman. I took John over to the
hotel and introduced him to Rob and John Lampkin.
The news from Great Britain is most
and the first reports are fully confirmed by the papers of this
I enclose you three papers just arrived from Richmond, which may
more than our others.
Read the resolutions of Vallandigham,
is a trap laid for the rogue, to get them committed so that they can't
back out. I am going out to the Camp again today and tomorrow John and
I are going to Martinsburg to see Ham & Henry who have been ordered
there recently with a view to destroy the Chesapeak & Ohio Canal. I
learn they are succeeding in accomplishing their object. The people
as in Lynchburg, are all excitement at the recent news. I have nothing
more worth writing at present but may have some thing more interesting
by the time I write again.
Give my love to Sarah, John Hand,
the affectionate regard of your husband,
John T. Smith
Rosedale December 24th 61
You will doubtless be surprised to hear
one of the Kanawha Rangers has died in our house since you left. They
in a drunken frolic, Dr. Thornton was in the pulpit pretending to
while there he was shot through both legs, wishing you to be his
he made them bring him here immediately believing you were at home. He
was brought here Tuesday, the day you went to Abingdon and died Friday
evening. He requested Mother to let him be burried on the farm. We
him an intelligent gentleman, much liked by all the company who said he
was a perfect gentleman when sober. He was from Kanawha County, was
wealthy, but had spent his property drinking, etc.
Dr. Atkinson, has been with us ever
we came from Abingdon, left this morning for Tazewell and said he would
return tomorrow. The cavalry in this county has been ordered to Bowling
Green, KY, and will leave in a few days. We have formed the
of many of the soldiers stationed at the church, and find them very
intelligent gentlemen. We are all well and send much love to you. We
expect a letter from you tomorrow.
Your affectionate son
John Henry A. Smith
Census - Inventory of Property
(Added by WGS)
Sam, 46; Richmond, 22; Horace, 20;
7; Romulus, 3; Remus, 3; Henry, 3; Stanley, 1; Due, 46; Glouvina, 38;
24; Camilla, 22; Aurelia, 21; Alice, 18; Leanah, 19; Cynthia, 21;
16; Dora, 16; Felicia, 14; Lydia, 11; Sophia, 9; Mary, 6; Caroline, 4.
Whites males: 1 - 55, 1 - 12; Females, 1 - 44, 1 - 24; Amount of grain:
Corn: 1200 bushels; Wheat: 157 bushels; Rye: 87 bushels; Oats: 89
Horses: 12; Cattle: 60, Hogs: 31, Sheep: 57. Value of Land in Russell
44,000 and Land sold but not deeded: 4,500.
JOHN T. SMITH: 778 acres residence
232 acres Joining same on Price Mountain 464.00; 116 acres joining 778
acre tract 400.00; 75 acres joining Jefso Vermillion Fuller, Jr.,
200 acres Clinch Mountain Davis place, 900.00; 15 acres same place
116 acres joining A. F. Kindricks Kinser, 500.00; 1800 acres Keats
Immel, Tazewell, 2250.00; 330 acres both sides N. F. Clinch of Taylor
182 acres joining same 728.00; 770 acres on Keats Ridge Guison Senrs'
70 acres on north side Clinch R. Hoburn 280.00; 35 acres opposite mouth
Musics Branch 122.00; 44 acres Keats Ridge of Kindricks heirs 100.00;
acres Warder tract 656.00. A. B. 80 acres of Warder land to be added to
the above. 87 acres John Jones Place and various other acreages.
Will of Dr. John T. Smith
In the name of God Amen. I John T.
of Russell County and State of Virginia do make this my last Will and
as follows that is to say:
1st - I desire all my just debts and
expenses to be paid as soon after my death as it my be conveniently
2nd - I give to my wife Mary D. Smith
place on which I now live including all the land adjacent thereto
her natural life.
3rd - I give to her also all my slaves
their increase until my son John Henry A. Smith shall attain the age of
twenty one years.
4th - I give all my other lands to my
John Henry A. Smith on my decease, also on amount of my slaves which
be equal in value to two thirds as soon as he attains the age of Twenty
one years to him and his heirs forever.
5th - I give to my son John Henry A.
the place on which I now live with all the adjoining lands thereto on
decease of my wife Mary D. Smith to him and his heirs forever.
6th - Should my son John Henry A. Smith
before attaining the age of twenty one years, I then give to my wife
my lands and all my slaves and all my other property of ever kind to
and her heirs forever.
Lastly - I do hereby appoint my wife
D. Smith executrix of this my last Will and Testament. In Testimony of
the foregoing I have hereinto set my hand and affixed my seal the 3rd
of June 1859.
John T. Smith
At a court held for Russell County
4th day of February 1862
A writing purporting to be the last
and Testament of John T. Smith deceased was produced in court by Mary
Smith the executrix therein named, and there being no subscribing
thereto, Dale Carter, Henry D. Smith and John W. Lampkin were sworn and
severally deposed that they were well acquainted with the Testators
and verily believe the said writing and the name thereto subscribed to
be wholly written by the Testators own hand. Whereupon the said writing
is ordered to be recorded as the true last Will and Testament of the
John T. Smith deceased. And on the motion of Mary D. Smith the
therein named who took the oath of an executrix prescribed by law and
into and acknowledged her bond in the sum of Fifty thousand dollars
Henry D. Smith and John W. Lampkin as her security conditioned as the
directs. A Certificate is therefore granted her for obtaining probate
the said Will in due form.
R. H. Lynch
R. H. Lynch
Letter in sympathy in the passing of
Saltville Jany 29, 1862
Dear Aunt Mary,
I embrace the first leisure I have had
my return from Richmond a few days ago, to offer you my sympathy and
- Your bereavement I know is a heavy one - The sympathy of friends, and
all else that Earth can give, must afford very little comfort, to a
borne down under such a heavy stroke of Divine Providence. But it is
we mortals can offer - It appears to me that much of consolation is to
be found in the circumstances of the death of a friend, where they are
such as to lead us to believe that to him "Death was the gate to
joy" - We can then I think resign our last ones - and not even desire
return to this world of sorrow - In this view of the subject I think we
all have such great cause for thankfulness to the Great Disposer of
events in granting out departed and lamented friend, his reasoning
on a dying bed, a clear view of his approaching end - a praying heart -
and above all the hope and resignation of a dying saint - When I think
of the lot of many who mourn the loss of a departed companion, I really
feel as if I could congratulate you on the lightness of your affliction
compared to theirs - taking in view the comforting circumstances of the
death of yours - That it may suffice somewhat to lighten your
I will mention one instance which is fresh in my mind - My sister Mrs.
Headen a few days ago heard of the death of her husband Dr. Headen - He
became a lunatic some 6 or 8 years ago - His lunacy was unexpected to
and all his friends, and came on while in his sins - The hope and
prayer of my sister (who was a praying woman) was that he might have a
lucid interval before his death that he might make his peace with God -
But this boon for Wise purposes no doubt was withheld - How hard does
lot seem compared to yours - And yet hard as it is I believe that "He
tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb" hath given her grace to submit -
and even to kiss the afflicting rod -
I trust and indeed have no doubt that
faith, with the grace which our Heavenly Father gives his children
severe trials, has enabled you to bear up successfully, under this the
greatest affliction of your life - How sweet to the afflicted is that
"As thy day so shall thy strength be"
We mortals frequently live to see the
and goodness of the Lord in afflicting us and our friends - We
see Him snatch from a family one that is prepared to go - and then see
that affliction sanctified in the saving of other members of the
who before were thoughtless and even wicked - But whether we behold in
this world or not the good that is designed for us, or our friends in
and afflictions, we must with resignation submit to them - and rest
that in another world we shall behold the good designed us by these
- and beholding, shall feel a fresh incentive to praise the Good Author
of them. Let us pray that this affliction may lead to the turning of
friends and relatives of the Dr.'s from the paths of sin to the way of
holiness - and especially of that son of his upon whom he doated -
Many joins me in love to you and John
- We are all well -
W. Alex: Stuart
Dec 16th 1881 Sent to
Judge Burn's this day
One day after date I bind myself my
to pay Mary D. Smith guardian of her son John Henry A. Smith the sum of
two thousand seven hundred & fifty dollars for his interest in the
slaves of his grand father's estate they having been this day divided
his for being valued at that sum by persons chosen for that purpose , I
have the privilege of holding this money until John Henry arrives at
age of twenty one or to make payment at any time previously in current
Witness my hand, and
Seal April 26th 1863
C. A. Smith (Seal)
My dear friend
being here at Mr. Stuart's (having come
to the burial of Mary) I concluded to drop you a line. But what shall I
say? That I was greatly shocked to hear of Mary's sudden demise you may
believe truly! But when did death not come unexpectedly? But I am quite
assured she sleeps peacefully and that her spirit now basks in the
of Paradise. How little did any of us dream that she and her Uncle John
would so soon have met! Our Julia too has gone! Yes! Death has come to
our little circle and stolen perhaps the brightest gem! You knew Julia.
She knew and loved you all, but her joyous spirit has left the bright
of this beautiful earth and gone to a purer clime. I feel that she is
while I am left to struggle on. I am now teaching near Chilhowie
Smyth Co., VA, 7 mile Ford is my P. O. But why need I tell you, you
never write me a line. Ah! How I have sighed for a good long talk as in
the olden times! But it seems that I always miss seeing you. No one
you as does my Paxton, she has so often recounted me pleasures of her
to your house. She has always been a sick child, her baby Paul a noble
fellow is very feeble, and I doubt it he Survives the Summer. All the
praise your boy as being smart & noble. I do so desire to see him.
Give him and Sarah my love and a kiss and believe me your friend and
S. T. Cox
July 5th 1862
Pages 50 to 77