Does David Smith, US Revolutionary War General, have a profile? (Plus some other things.)

+8 votes

I've not moved ahead on actually creating a category for US County namesakes yet. I have been preparing for it in the meantime by gathering information. I've assembled a spreadsheet of all the people US counties are named after, about 1400 all told; and am in the midst of checking which ones already have WikiTree profiles and whether they are connected to the larger tree. I have some questions in that regard:

1. David Smith, Revolutionary War General. He's got a county in Mississippi named after him, but I don't have his dates. It's a common name, but not so common among Generals and probably limited to the South. I thought I'd check the 1776 project, but it is, for me. a bewildering array of categories. I don't know where to look. This is what prompted this post.

2.. Numerous counties are named after Native Americans, most all of whom don't have first and last names, and really not last names at all. I've searched various ways but with very limited success. I found Powhatan, but have not succeeded in finding others. I've searched in a variety of ways, but am not yet confident about this. I'm particularly cautious because there tend to be alternate spellings - not surprising for names originating in non-written languages. I suspect it might be impossible to do much with many of these. Here's a list I have not found profiles for (yet?):

  • Atoka (Choctaw leader, no dates, Oklahoma)
  • Ben'wah (Coeur d'Aline, no dates, Idaho)
  • Black Hawk (Sac & Fox, 1767-1838, Iowa) - he has a war named after him
  • Chief Logan (Mingo, 1723-1780, West Virginia)
  • Mahaska (Ioway, 1784-1834, Iowa)
  • Montezuma/Moctezuma III (Aztec, 1466-1520, Colorado)
  • Newaygo (Chippewa/Ojibway, no dates, Michigan)
  • Ouray (Ute, 1833-1880, Colorado)
  •  Pocahontas (1595-1618, Iowa, West Virginia)
  • Sanilac (Wyandotte, no dates, Michigan)
  • Sequoyah aka George Guess (Cherokee, 1770-1843, Oklahoma) - he invented the Cherokee alphabet, though I'm not convinced we should try and use that alphabet on WikiTree.
  • Solano (Suisune, c1798-c1851, California)
  • Stanislaw (aka Estanislao, indigenous alcalde in CA, c1798-1838, California)
  • Tishomingo (Chickasaw, 1734-1838, Mississippi) There's a town named after him in Oklahoma, too
  • Wabaunsee (Potawatomi leader, c1760-1848, Kansas)
  • Wahkiakum (native leader, no dates, Washington state)
  • Winneshiek (Winnebago, no dates, Iowa)
  • Winona (Wee-no-Nah, no dates, Minnesota)

3. I've found many royals and aristocrats, but there's some I haven't got yet. These people are a challenge - mostly they're recorded in history by names like Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, which are mostly not adequate search terms. Pennsylvania has a county, Dauphin, named in honor of their son, crown prince Louis-Joseph (1781-1789.) Perhaps I could find the profile, but wouldn't mind a little help. And then there's the Viscount Duplin, Thomas Hay, who has a county named after him in North Carolina. And Lady Grace Talbot, sister of Lord Calvert - no dates! (Maryland) In time, I'll offer up a fuller list.

4. Not sure what to do about the saints. Lots of things are named after them, but I have my doubts if it's worth making a profile for someone like San Augustine or St. Francis &c. (Or St. Joseph!) At present, I'm inclined to skip them, even if I have dates and a birthplace. Perhaps I'll offer up a list for help sometime later, too.

5. There's a few counties named after fictional characters. Those, I'm inclined to mark the author who created the character. (e.g. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for Evangeline County in Louisiana.) Then there's the unusual case of Henry Schoolcraft. Not only is a county named after him in Michigan, there's also a bunch of counties with pseudo-Indian names made up by Schoolcraft - e.g. Alcona, Allegan, Alpena and numerous others in Michigan. Weird! Not sure whether to add this tidbit to his bio or not. Goliad County, Texas, is an anagram for Miguel y Costilla Hidalgo (1753-1811) who has two counties named after him: Goliad in Texas, Hidalgo in New Mexico.

Most people with counties named after them are known for other reasons: There's a lot of Senators and Generals, for example. Robert Fulton, inventor of the steam engine, transformed things as surely as the railroad did some decades later. He's got 7 counties named after him, mostly in the Mississippi River basin. Quite a few of the profiles are Project Protected, including Fulton. I see people hesitant to do ANYTHING to PPP profiles. My working hypothesis is that adding a Category tag and a sentence to a profile about things named after them is not a "major change" requiring consultation.

There's other things, but this query was mainly motivated by wanting help with American Revolutionary War General David Smith, who might have ties to Mississippi. I went ahead and added some other things I'd not quite resolved, too. I'll probably offer up a query to help look for profiles of saints & aristocrats later, too.

I'm having fun with this. It's interesting.

in The Tree House by Living Winter G2G6 Mach 7 (72.3k points)
edited by Living Winter

3 Answers

+3 votes
It does sound like an interesting project.  I was born and raised in Franklin County, Ohio (Benjamin Franklin I believe) and lived afterwards in Knox County, Ohio (Henry Knox) but i don't know offhand what the county I live in now (Maricopa County, Arizona) was named for.

I'd think a good place to look for the origin of a county's name would be in one of those old county histories which often have a discussion of the story behind the name.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (411k points)

Hi Dave --

Not all the counties are named after a person, including Maricopa. (At that link, you can also click to all the other states near the bottom of the page.) Connecticut, Hawaii & Delaware don't have any. At this point, I'm pretty much up to speed on the counties and who they are named after. The help I'm seeking is determining whether they already have profiles on WikiTree. I'm not full confident on my searching abilities for some of the more challenging cases. A lot of the profiles I have found took several rounds of searching to locate.

Franklin (23) & Knox (9) both have counties named for them. George Washington has the most at 31, more if you count the ones named after Mount Vernon, his plantation. There's also a different Benjamin Franklin, a judge, who has a county named after him in Texas.

I know not all counties are named for people.  That why I said what instead of who when talking about Maricopa county. But thanks for the list of
Arizona counties and where their names came from.
+3 votes

1.  "Major David Smith, for whom the county is named, was born in 1753 in Anson County, NC.  Smith served as a private in the battles of King's Mountain, Cowpens, and Euthaw Springs, becoming a hero of the Revolutionary War.  He first married in 1776 to Sarah Terry, and later, in 1791 married Obedience Fort.  He moved with his family to Mississippi, settling in Hinds County not long after that region was yielded by the Choctaws.  His son, Benjamin F. Smith, served as the first representative for Hinds County in the Mississippi Legislature.  Major Smith died at Jackson, Mississippi in 1834.  Aurelia Smith, his daughter, married Governor Runnels."  

{{DAR-grs|A105080 | David Smith |Jun 23, 2016}}

David Smith-2916   

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (588k points)

Excellent! Thanks, Kitty. I only have about 800 more to go now! Meanwhile: not long after the area was 'yielded' by the Choctaws is an interesting take on the Trail of Tears.

Apparently no relationship to me but I do live near Fulton county in Net York :)
+3 votes

We have a DAR Chapter in Colorado - Uncompahgre Valley.  Ouray was the Chief of the Uncompahgre Ute tribe in Western Colorado. 

The Meeker Massacre led to an order by the U.S. Congress to remove all Ute Indians to Utah. Chief Ouray of the Uncompahgre Valley Utes worked with the U.S. Government to secure a peace treaty, realizing that war would be devastating to the Utes. A treaty was signed but the government refused to let the Utes remain in Colorado.

Ouray needs a history on the person as well as the place.

by Elizabeth Townsend G2G6 Mach 2 (20.3k points)
So you are of the opinion that Ouray does not yet have a profile? Next thing would have to be how to enter his name, since he doesn't have a Last Name at Birth in the sense employed at WikiTree.

Of course, as you say, there needs to be more story. But that comes later. It didn't make sense, with that long list, to put a bio on each one for this query. All that comes after being sure he doesn't already have a profile, of course, and figuring out the right way to enter his name. It's the same problem I've had with the searches. You have to have a LNAB, but he never had one. (Black Hawk had two names, but that's an English translation, and not first and last names.) That makes for problems doing searches - you have to have the LNAB to do a search, but I don't know what to put. Given that, I've been unsure about searching adequately enough to make sure he's not got a profile already.

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