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John Smith (abt. 1618 - 1692)

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Lieutenant John Smith
Born about in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Plymouth, Plymouth,
Husband of — married in Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Profile last modified | Created 21 Oct 2017 | Last significant change: 8 Oct 2018
21:49: Kerry Fisher edited the data for John Smith. (Merged Smith-167333 into Smith-140131: Clear duplicate.) [Thank Kerry for this]
This page has been accessed 706 times.




On 25 July 1633 at Plymouth, Massachusetts, John Smith, an apparent 14 year old boy was formally apprenticed by the Plymouth Colony Court to John Jenny for the full term of 7 years beginning 24 June 1633 [1]. Essentially this was until he reached the majority age of 21 years. Identified as John Smith, Jr. in his early years, he was the younger of two John Smiths residing in the town of Plymouth at the same time. He would become John Smith of Dartmouth, Massachusetts and die there testate on 15 March 1691/2, "aged" (i.e., Ætatis suæ) 74, but only 73 years old, born on or after 16 March 1617/18.

Disputed Parents

The present, or former, claim of this WikiTree page that John Smith is the son of Christopher Lawrence Smith (or Smyth) and Elizabeth Townley, born 24 September 1624 in England, is not possible. In addition, the Great Migration Begins (1633-1634), p. 1623 and the link in Source 3 to an article [1] are both inadequate and inaccurate. John Smith, Jr. of the town of Plymouth, later John Smith of Dartmouth, has a documentable 59 year history (1633-1692) in Massachusetts, was twice married and fathered twelve children.


He "was married unto Deborah Howland the 4th of January" 1648/49 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony.


John Smith and Deborah Howland had the following children b. of record in the Town of Plymouth, Mass.:
  1. Hassadiah Smith, b. 11 January 1649/50; m. Jonathan Russell.
  2. John Smith, b. 1 October 1651.
  3. Eliezer Smith, b. 20 April 1654; m. Ruth Sprague.
  4. Hezekiah Smith, b. 28 November 1655; m. Mary ___.


He married 2nd, by 1667, Ruhamah Kirby


John Smith and Ruhamah Kirby had the following children likely all b. in Dartmouth, Mass.:
  1. Deliverance Smith, b. before 4 March 1667/8; m. Mary Tripp.
  2. Mehitable Smith, b. ca. 1669; m. John Russell, Jr.
  3. Gershom Smith, b. ca. 1671; m. Rebecca Ripley.
  4. Judah Smith, b. ca. 1673; m. Mary ___.
  5. Hannah Smith, b. before 1 December 1678; m. Philip Shearman (q.v. Sherman).
  6. Sarah Smith, b. before 1 December 1678.
  7. Eliashib Smith, b. 7 March 1676/7; m. 1) Dinah Allen, 2) Audry Gifford.
  8. Deborah Smith, b. after 1 December 1678 (on 1 December 1696 per brother Deliverance in his accounting of his father's estate, Deborah was not yet 18 or otherwise married, and not eligible to receive her legacy given in her father's will. Thus, she could NOT have been the wife of Stephen Streeter, Jr. of Cambridge, Massachusetts.)


Despite being a known Quaker, John Smith received appointment as Lieutenant of the Dartmouth town militia on 4 March 1673-4 [2].

Will and Estate

Will of John Smith [abstract, not a true copy of the actual will on file in Bristol County Probate Records, Book 3, Page 55]

"[55] Will of John Smith of Dartmouth dated 8 June 1691. "In the first place I Desire my Soule may return to god that gave it me & I rest with him for Ever ". To "my well beloved wife Ruhamah Smith" all my stock and moveables "untill the Day of her Decease"; also my two sons Judah Smith and Gershom Smith shall maintain said stock with the produce of the land that I have given them. To my daughter Hassadiah, wife of Jonathan Russell, one cow and two ewe sheep; to my daughter Mehitabell, wife of John Russell, same; to my daughter Hannah Smith one cow, one bed and bedding together with what I have already given her; to my daughter Sarah Smith one cow, two ewe sheep together with what I have given her already; to my daughter Deborah Smith, same." I Give my son Eliazer Smith his Son James Smith & unto Jonathan Russell his son James Russell Equally between them that Twenty accers of land that lyeth at the head of my aforesd son Eliezer Smith his land " * * said land to remain to the aforesaid James Smith and James Russell. To my two sons Judah Smith and Gershom Smith that two acres of salt marsh that I have by exchange with my son in law John Russell. Wife Ruhamah Smith to be "sole Executrix together with son Deliverance Smith Executor". Legacies to be paid after death of said executrix or before, and all undivided lands in the town of Dartmouth, I divide unto my six sons, except ten acres which I give unto my grandson Mical Smith, the son of Hezekiah Smith, and I have given to every one of them lands by deed, which is sufficient for them. '* I Desire my trusty & well beloved freinds Seth pope & my brother in law Recompence Carby (sic, Kirby) them to my overseers of this my last will & testament and to be assistant unto my said Executrix and Executor". Witnessed by Benjamin Howland and "uallantine hudelston" (sic, Valentine Huddleston). I also give to my two sons Hezekiah Smith and Deliverance Smith all my acre and three quarters of meadow that I had by exchange with my son Deliverance, lying on the northwest corner of Hezekiah Smith's land. The two witnesses made oath to the said will, 12 Nov. 1692, before Seth Pope, justice of the peace, and also made oath before John Saffin (no date). Entered Jan. 26, 1693-4 by John Cary, Regist*.[3]

Executor's Account

[161] Account of the moveables of the estate of John Smith late of Dartmouth dec'd rendered December 1, 1696, by Deliverance Smith on behalf of himself executor and his mother Ruhamah Smith executrix, according to the inventory of said estate which was given into the Registry December 19, 1692. They have paid out the following legacies according to the will, viz : To Hassadiah wife of Jonathan Russell, to Mehittabell wife of John Russell, to Hannah Smith and to Sarah Smith, Deborah Smith not being of age to receive her legacy. Above account allowed by John Saffin Judge of probate- John Cary Regist' : Entered December 2, 1696 by John Cary Regist' :[4]
Whereas John Smith of Dartmouth in his will dated June 8, 1691 did bequeath to his daughter Hassadiah Russell wife of Jonathan Russell one cow and two ewe sheep to be paid at or before the decease of his wife Ruhamah Smith, and did appoint his said wife Ruhamah Smith and his son Deliverance Smith his sole executrix and executor, said Jonathan Russell and Hassadiah his wife having received said legacy hereby acknowledge receipt thereof and discharge said Ruhamah Smith and Deliverance Smith in all respects concerning said legacy. Receipt dated Jan. 10, 1693-4 and witnessed by Joseph Ripley and Ichabod Damon. Recorded Dec. 2, 1696 by J. C.[4]
"[162] Similar receipt given same day by John Russell and his wife Mehittabell, a daughter of said John Smith, for one cow and two ewe sheep.[4]
"Similar receipt given same day by Hannah Smith, a daughter of said John Smith, for one cow and one bed and bedding.[4]
"Similar receipt given same day by Sarah Smith, a daughter of said John Smith, for one cow and two ewe sheep."[4]

Probate and Inventory

John Smith, Jr. signed his will on 8 June 1691, and his will was probated on 12 November 1692 in Bristol County. Also, the date of inventory was "the 19 of the 10th month called December" 1692.

His heirs

His will provides for daughter Hassadiah, wife of Jonathan Russell; wife Ruhamah (still living); mentions 6 sons, but only names Hezekiah, Deliverance, Eliezers, Judah, Gershom; daughter Mehitable, wife of John Russell; daughters Hannah, Sarah and Deborah Smith; son-in-law John Russell; grandson Mical Smith, son of Hezekiah; grandson James Smith, son of Eliazer; grandson Jonathan Russell, son of John Russell; friends Seth Pope and Recompence Carby (sic, Kirby), brother-in-law.


John Smith died on 15 March 1691-92 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Bay Colony

Research Note

Robert Charles Anderson states that nothing is known about John Smith's origins, birth or death. There were at least two John Smiths at Plymouth at the same time, and maybe three.

"There seem to have been two John Smiths in Plymouth in the early 1630s. On July 25, 1633, John Smith agreed to serve John Jenny for seven years, for which he would have twelve bushels of Indian corn and 25 acres of land. On January 2, 1633/4, John Smith, who had bound himself to Edward Doty for ten years, was able to renegotiate his contract down to five years, with two suits of apparel at the end.

Since the times of service overlap, two different men must be involved. The next record referred to John Smith, laborer, who was before the court on November 8, 1638, for fathering an illegitimate child by Bennett Morecock. The couple married on December 7, 1638. Assuming this was father not a third John Smith, it is more likely the marriage of the John Smith, servant to Edward Doty, who would have been completing his service about then, but this hypothesis is far from proved.

Plymouth births records in the 1650s referred to both John Smith and John Smith, Junior as fathers. The designation “Junior” does not indicate a family relationship, but differentiates men of the same name by their relative ages. It is possible that neither of these married men are the 1630s John Smiths. In the absence of further evidence, the histories of the John Smiths of Plymouth Colony remain a puzzle." [5]


Descendant of yDNA group NE89 John Smith-6949 (c1620 -1691 Dartmouth MA) m Deborah Howland-116 & Ruhamah Kirby-176. See SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project.[6][7]


  1. Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, 1:16
  2. Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, 5:138
  3. Internet Archive, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGR 62, 1908, Boston, MA, p. 181.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (NEHGR) Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGR 63 (April 1909): 133.
  5. Robert Charles Anderson, "Pilgrim Village Families Sketch: John Smith" at John Smith
  6. SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project, haplogroup R1b NE89 John Smith
  7. GRP-R-M269-97 on
  • The Kirbys of New England,By E. Melatiah..[2]
  • Ricketson, Daniel. The History of New Bedford, Bristol County Massachusetts Incl. a History of the Township of Dartmouth and the Present Townships of Westport, Dartmouth, and Fairhaven, from Their Settlement to the Present Time. New Bedford, 1858, p. 32. It discusses about the appointment of John Smith as Lieutenant of the military company in Dartmouth. Note: Ricketson misstates both the actual date of the appointment and court order volume and page. John Smith of Dartmouth was appointed Lieutenant at the 4 March 1673-4 court, as recorded in Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, Vol. 5, page 138, not page 96.
  • Grace Williamson Edes, William Ricketson, William Ricketson, Jr., and their descendants, vol. 1 (Boston, 1917), p. 39, which has a brief but good discussion of Lieut. John Smith.

John was born in 1618. He passed away in 1692.


  1. Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, 1:16
  2. Plymouth Colony Records, Court Orders, 5:138
  3. Internet Archive, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGR 62, 1908, Boston, MA, p. 181.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (NEHGR) Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, NEHGR 63 (April 1909): 133.
  5. Robert Charles Anderson, "Pilgrim Village Families Sketch: John Smith" at John Smith
  6. SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project, haplogroup R1b NE89 John Smith
  7. GRP-R-M269-97 on

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

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On 11 Sep 2018 at 03:23 GMT Blake Romenesko wrote:

Smith-140131 and Smith-167333 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicate

On 20 Oct 2017 at 22:58 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:

I sent this message to Eowyn: There was apparently a bad merge done sometime for John Smith-6949 because he is now Unknown-382633. Can we change his number back to John Smith-6949?

Thank you! Kitty

On 20 Oct 2017 at 22:49 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:

Disconnected Christopher Lawrence Smith and Elizabeth Townley as his parents because descendants from each line have different yDNA and do not match.

On 20 Oct 2017 at 20:52 GMT Kitty (Cooper) Smith wrote:

Why is his Last Name at Birth now listed as Unknown? He was Smith-6949. Why was this changed?

On 6 Oct 2017 at 00:06 GMT Darrell Parker wrote:

The Kirbys of New England By E. Melatiah


On 18 Aug 2017 at 15:33 GMT Anonymous Blauvelt wrote:

Corrected Daniel Ricketson's (History of New Bedford, etc.) misstated date and source regarding John's appointment as Lieutenant.

On 18 Aug 2017 at 14:45 GMT Anonymous Blauvelt wrote:

Deleted the purported source "Cutter, William Richard. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial. Baltimore, MD: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1913. p. 815. States his birth, death, and settlement of Dartmouth." John Smith is not found that page and neither John Smith of Dartmouth, his two wives (Deborah Howland and Ruhamah Kirby), nor any of the known children are included anywhere in the 4 volumes of the cited reference.

On 18 Aug 2017 at 13:56 GMT Anonymous Blauvelt wrote:

Added first two explanatory paragraphs to the biography

On 13 Aug 2017 at 13:58 GMT Anonymous Blauvelt wrote:

Material changes made to the data and biography of my ancestor John Smith. However, he was NOT the child of the current parental linkage, which is fictitious. John's recorded death in the Dartmouth Vital Records clearly defeats the current parental claim in this Wikitree. Corrected the fictitious and biologically impossible claim regarding daughter Deborah that she was the daughter of 1st wife Deborah Howland and wife of Stephen Streeter, Jr., son of Stephen Streeter and Ursula Adams.

On 13 Aug 2017 at 13:14 GMT Anonymous Blauvelt wrote:

Smith-48441 and Smith-6949 ARE the same person, but their purported fathers on Wikitree are fictitious. John has no documented parentage. He was called Jr. in his early days at Plymouth, Mass. because he was the younger of two men named John Smith who resided there at the same time, the records distinguishing the two from each other.

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