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Christopher Smith d June 1676 Newport Rhode Island

Rhode Island and Providence Plantation Biographies

(The Smith Line.)

Arms  --  Quarterly, first and fourth, barry argent and gules; second and third, quarterly, first and fourth, gules on a chevron or, between three bezants, as many crosses formee fitchee sable; second and third, azure a fesse between three urchins argent.
Crest  --  Out of a castle a wolf's head sable.
Motto  --  Boutez en avant.
Smith as a surname is found in various forms  --  Smith, Smyth, Smythe, Smithe, etc.; and like many English names of early origin, has undergone numerous changes in spelling.  The 'y' in Smyth is the almost invariable spelling in the early rolls and registers, and so cannot with justice be styled a modern affection in all instances.  In his 'Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames', the late Charles Wareing Bardsley, M. A., states that in 1901 there were three hundred thousand Smiths in England. In point of numerical strength the Smiths outrank every other surname in use among English speaking people.  The name is of the occupative class and signifies 'the Smith'.  It is common in every village in England and America, north, east, south, and west.  We find it at a very early date in the American colonies, and among the first to bring the name to these shores was the famous Captain John Smith, of the Virginia settlement.  It was well represented among the founders of Plymouth and the Rhode Island Colony, and the progeny of these early immigrants is large and influential in New England to-day.  Little Rhode Island alone had eight Smiths among her early settlers, five of whom bore the distinction are known in the records respectively as John, of Newport; John, of Prudence Island;  John, of Warwick;  John, the mason; and John, the miller.  The other Smith founders were Christopher Smith, head of the family herein under consideration; Edward Smith, and Richard Smith.  The descendants of these men have played honorable and in some cases prominent parts in the life and affairs of Rhode Island for more than two and a half centuries.

(I)  Christopher Smith, immigrant ancestor and progenitor, was a native of England, whence he came to the American colonies at a date unknown.  He is first of record in Providence on September 2, 1650, when he was taxed three shillings, four pence.  In 1655 he was admitted a freeman, and on April 27 of the same year served as juryman.  On March 16, 1656, he was granted a share of meadow to be laid out beyond the meadow called World's End, in lieu of a share formerly laid out to him beyond Great Meadow and Pawtuxet Path. On July 27, 1658, he took up sixty acres and a share of meadow.  On February 19, 1665, he drew Lot 65 in a division of lands.  On June 1, 1667, he subscribed to the oath of allegiance.  On August 21, 1668, he and his wife, Alice, sold Asten Thomas twenty acres.  On November 28, 1672, he and his wife sold to Shadrach Manton a parcel of lowland.  Christopher Smith went to Newport at the outbreak of King Philip's War, and died there in June, 1676, as declared by the records of the Society of Friends, which call him an ancient Friend of Providence.  The surname of his wife, Alice, is not known.

(II)  Thomas Smith, son of Christopher and Alice Smith, was a resident of Warwick, R. I., at an early date.  He was a tailor by trade. On December 20, 1661, he witnessed the confirmatory deed of Roger Williams to his associates.  On July 9, 1666, he and his wife, Ruth Wickenden, received a deed from her father, William Wickenden, of certain land on the south side of the Pawtuxet river, bounded partly by Benjamin Smith's land.  Thomas Smith and his wife, Ruth, were drowned in the Pawtuxet river near their home on January 16, 1670, the wife losing her balance and falling into the water in an attempt to save her husband.  The intentions of their marriage were published January 27, 1659.  She was the daughter of William Wickenden.

(III)  Joseph Smith, son of Thomas and Ruth (Wickenden) Smith, was born in Warwick, R. I., February 18, 1669.  He was but a year old at the time of his parents' death.  In the testimony given at the inquest to determine the cause of their death, John, his oldest brother, was the principal witness. The records tell us that he went to a neighbor for help, 'having with him his brother Joseph in his arms and his brother William by him'  Joseph Smith was brought up by his aunt, Plain Wickenden, who became the wife of Samuel Wilkinson, of Providence.  On March 24, 1697, he had a deed of gift from his kinsman, Samuel Wilkinson, and his wife, Plain, and John Steere, Jr., of eighteen acres of land which had formerly belonged to his grandfather, William Wickenden, deceased. He followed the trade of carpenter.  On June 16, 1713, he was taxed six pence.  He owned a forty foot lot and a third of a right of commonage, which he deeded to Joseph Smith, son of Edward, March 28, 1716.  On February 11, 1730, he purchased the interest of his son, Joseph, in the land deeded his mother, Elizabeth, deceased, by her father, John Hawkins. Soon afterward he removed to the town of Glocester, R. I., where on April 27, 1731, he deeded his son, Waite Smith, for love, etc., forty-five acres. He died November 8, 1739, and on the following day administration of his estate was granted to his son, Joseph Smith, of Smithfield.  Joseph Smith married (first) April 4, 1669, Elizabeth Hawkins, daughter of John and Sarah Hawkins, of Providence.  The Christian name of his second wife was Mary.

(IV)  Sarah Smith, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Hawkins) Smith, was born in Providence, R. I., and on October 29, 1727, became the wife of Amos Hopkins, of Providence.  (See Hopkins IV).


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