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Henry Smith (1599 - 1648)

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Wethersfield, Connecticutmap
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Henry's Story and Documents

The Story of Henry Smith from his son, Jan 1698/99

Colonial Days and Ways, as Gathered from Family Papers
by Helen Evertson Smith. Publication date 1900 p. 47

"In the diary of Juliana Smith, 1779-81, there exists a copy of a fragment of a reminiscent letter, written in 1699 by the Rev. Henry Smith's son, Samuel Smith of Hadley, Massachusetts, to his son, Ichabod Smith, residing in Suffield, Connecticut, apparently in reply to some inquiries which the latter had made."

" ' Hadley, Massachusetts Colony, Jan. ye Firste, 1698/99

" ' My Dear & Dutiful Son : . . . I was of so tender an Age at the death of my beloved Father that I am possessed of but little of the Information for which you seek. My Revered Father was an ordained Minister of ye Gospelle, educate at Cambridge in England & came to yis Land by reason of ye Great Persecution by which ye infamous Archibishop Laud and ye Black Tom Tyrante, (as Mr. Russell was always wont to call ye Earl of Strafforde,) did cause ye reign of his Majestie Charles ye First to loose favour in ye sight of ye people of England. My Father & Mother came over in 1636/37, firste to Watertown which is neare Boston, & after a yeare or two to Weathersfield on ye great River, where he became ye firste settled Pastor.

" 'Concerning of ye earlie days I can remember but little save Hardship. My Parents had broughte bothe Men Servants & Maid Servants from England, but ye Maids tarried not but till they got Married, ye wch was shortly, for there was great scarcity of Women in ye Colonies. Ye men did abide better. Onne of em had married onne of my Mother's Maids & they did come with us to Weathersfield to our grate Comforte for some Yeares, untill they had manny littel onnes of theire Owne. I do well remember ye Face & Figure of my Honoured Father. He was 5 foote, 10 inches talle, & spare of builde, tho not leane. He was as Active as ye Red Skin Men & sinewy. His delighte was in sportes of strengthe & withe his owne Hands he did helpe to rear bothe our owne House & ye Firste Meetinge House of Weathersfield, wherein he preacht yeares too fewe. He was well Featured & Fresh favoured with faire Skin or longe curling Hair (as neare all of us have had) with a merrie eye & swete smilinge Mouthe, tho he coulde frowne sternlie eno' when need was.

" 'Ye firste Meetinge House was solid mayde to withstande ye wicked onsaults of ye Red Skins. Its Foundations was laide in ye feare of ye Lord, but its Walls was truly laide in ye feare of ye Indians, for many & grate was ye Terrors of em. I do mind me y't alle ye able-bodyed Men did work thereat, & ye olde & feeble did watch in turns to espie if any Salvages was in hidinge neare & every Man keept his Musket nighe to his hande. I do not myself remember any of ye Attacks mayde by large bodeys of Indians whilst we did remayne in Weathersfield, but did ofttimes hear of em. Several Families wch did live back a ways from ye River was either Murderdt or Captivated in my Boyhood & we all did live in constant feare of ye like. My Father ever declardt there would not be so much to feare iff ye Red Skins was treated with suche mixture of Justice & Authority as they cld [could] understand, but iff he was living now he must see that wee can do naught but fight em & that right heavily.

" 'After ye Red Skins ye grate Terror of our lives at Weathersfield & for many yeares after we had moved to Hadley to live, was ye Wolves. Catamounts was bad eno' & so was ye Beares, but it was ye Wolves yt was ye worst. The noyes of theyre howlings was eno' to curdle ye bloode of ye stoutest & I have never seen ye Man yt did not shiver at ye Sounde of a Packe of em. What wth ye way we hated em & ye goode money yt was offered for theyre Heads we do not heare em now so much, but when I do I feel again ye younge hatred rising in my Bloode, & it is not a Sin because God mayde em to be hated. My Mother & Sister did each of em kill more yan one of ye gray Howlers & once my oldest Sister shot a Beare yt came too neare ye House. He was a goode Fatte onne & keept us all in meate for a good while. I guess one of her Daughters has got ye skinne.

" 'As most of ye Weathersfield Settlers did come afoot throu ye Wilderness & brought with em such Things only as they did most neede at ye firste, ye other Things was sent round from Boston in Vessels to come up ye River to us. Some of ye Shippes did come safe to Weathersfield, but many was lost in a grate storm. Amongst em was onne wch held alle our Beste Things. A good many Yeares later, long after my Father had died of ye grate Fever & my Mother had married Mr. Russell & moved to Hadley, it was found yt some of our Things had been saved & keept in ye Fort wch is by ye River's Mouthe, & they was brought to us. Most of em was spoilt with Sea Water & Mould, especially ye Bookes [Foot-note by Juliana: "My Father hath one of these books — The vision of Piers Plowman. It is so ruinated with damp and mould yt no one can read ye whole of it."] & ye Plate. Of this there was no grate store, only ye Tankard, wch I have, and some Spoones, divided amongst my Sisters wch was alle so black it was long before any could come to its owne colour agen, & Mr. Russell did opine yt had it not been so it might not have founde us agen, but he was sometimes a littel shorte of ye Charity wch thinketh no Evil, at ye least I was wont to think so when his Hand was too heavy on my Shoulders & I remembered ye sweetnesse & ye Charity of my firste Father, but on ye whole said he was a Goode Man & did well by my Mother & her children, & no doubt we did often try his wit & temper, but it was in his house yt ' — " Here," writes the copyist, " there is a break " — probably where the sheets of the original had been burned.

The Will of Henry Smith 1648

The last Will and Testament of Mr. Henry Smith, late of Wethersfeild, deceased. I Henry Smith, of Weathersfeild, being at present in health of body and soundnes of minde, considering my mortallity, and knowing it to bee my duty to prouide for my family and settle my estate, that I may leaue no occasion of trouble to my children when I am gonn, and that I may free myselfe from distractions of this kinde, if it shall please God to visitt mee with sicknes before I dye; I doe therfore leaue this testimony vppon Record, as my last Will and Testament. First, I doe professe my faith and hope to bee in the free grace aloane of God in Jesus Christe, whose I wholly am, and to whome I haue for euer giuen vpp my selfe, both soule and body, being fully perswaded of his vnchangeable love and good will, both in life and death to mee and mine, according to his covenant, viz : I am thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee. Then for my owtward estate, wch because it is but little, and I haue well prooued the difficultyes of this Country, how hard a thinge it will bee for a woman to mannage the affaires of so great a familye as the Father of Mercyes hath blessed me withall ; and haue had allso experience of the prudence and faithfullnes of my deare wife, who shall, in parting with me, parte allso with a great parte of her liuelihood ; I do therfore bequeath and giue vnto her, the full power and dispose of all that estate wch God hath giuen mee, in howses, lands, cattells and goods whatsoeuer, within dores and without ; onely providing, that in case shee marry againe, or otherwise shee bee able comfortably to spare it from her owne necessary maintenance, that shee giue vnto my sonne Samuell that parte of my howselott that was intended for my sonne Perrigrine, lyinge next to the burying place, and the land I haue beyond the great Riuer eastward ; and allso, to him and my second sonne Noah, fiue acres apeece of meadow, with vplands proportionable therevnto, and to the rest of my children vnmarried twenty pounds apeece, at the age of one and twenty yeares, or at the time of her death, wch shall come the sooner. And for my two daughters that bee married, my desire is, that they may haue twenty shillings a peece, and euery one of theire children, fiue shillings a peece, either in bookes or such other thinges as my wife shall best please to parte withall. And I desire the Church, whose seruant I now am, to take the care and ouersight of my family, that they may bee brought vp in the true feare of God ; and to see that this my will bee faithfully prformed. In witnesse hereof, I haue subscribed my name, the 8th May, 1648. Henry Smith.[1]

Inventory of Henry Smith

The Inventory of Mr. Henry Smith of Weathersfeild, lately deceased.[1][2]

Item Amount
Imp: wearing clothes 20. 00. 00
It: Bookes ...
It. 3 feather beds, with all thinges belonging to them, two sutes of linen 40.00.00
It: 2 flock beds, with two sutes of Linnen, and all things belonging to them . . 08.00.00
It: Table linnen, 4/. It: one carpett, 1/. It: chests and truncks, 1/. 10s. 06.10.00
It: 4 cushion stooles, 15s. It: 9 cushions, 1/. 10s., ... 02.05.00
It: Tables, chaires, stooles, and other things belonging to them, ... 01.10.00
It: Cob irons, trammells and other fire irons, 02.08.00
It: Brass, iron potts, & pewter and such like, 15.00.00
It: Beare vessells, tubbs, and other wooden vessells, 02.00.00
It: Armes and Ammunition, 04.00.00
It: Axes, howes and other husbandry tooles, 03.10.00
It: in Corne, 14/. 10s. It: in Maulte, 21, 8s, 16.18.00
It: Meate and Bacon, 61. It: Bees, 8/., 14.00.00
It: Howses and lands, 180/. It: a Horse and Mare, 23/., 203.00.00
It: 3 Cowes, 15/. It: one last yeare heifer, 1/. 10s.. 16.10.00
It: one sow and 2 piggs, 01.10.00
It: due to the estate in debts, .. 40.00.00
Owing from the estate, 026.02.06
The sum remaining is ....... 370.18.06

Jeames Boosy, Sammuell Smith.

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Will of Dorothy (____) (Smith) Russell

Will of Dorithy Rufsell (clerks copy)

I Dorithy Rufsell of Hadly in ye County of Hampshire in New Englaand being at prfent through mercy of god of Sound mynde, memory, & understanding yet being Senceable of my Own Mortal[ity] & not knowing how Soone my Natureall life may Expire doe make & ordaine this my last Will & tes[ta]ment in manner & form ffollowing Vz—
Imp I Comitt my full Soule & Body into ye hands of ye almightie & Eternall God whose I am & into ye ar[mes] of Jesus Christ my dare redeemer on whome I desire ever to repose & stedfastly to believe for Rightousnefs life & Salvation. My body I Leave to be decently & in a christian manner interred in afor[ ]ed hope of a blefsed Refurrection thorough ye Mercy of god Unto Eternall life at ye glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus at ye last day; And for that outward Estate the Lord hath given & blefsed me withall my Will is that, after my just debts being payd & funerall expences discharged as ffollows ~
It I Doe give & bequeath to my Son Samll Smith all my House homestead Land & Lands Lot & alottments of whatever Nature or kinde peffell or perfells, meadows or uplands lyeing within ye town or township of Hadly Sittuate & being on the East & Southeast side of the great river called Qiniticot river to him & his hers for ever ~
It I Doe give & bequeath to my loveing daughter Dorithy Hall my Lot in great ponfett wch is on ye West of Northwest side the great River being four acres three roodes & feventy pole more of Lefs to her & her [heirs] forever ~
It I Doe give & bequeath all my moveable Estate of what ever Nature or kinde to my two Daughters Dorithy Hall & Mary Smith wife to my Son Samll Smith to be Eqeallie shared & Devided between them & ~
I make & Ordaine my Loveing Son Samll Smith as my Sole Executor of this my Last Will & testamentadnulling & making voyde any former wills & bequests at any tyme by me willed given granted or bequeathed as Witnefs my hand & Seale this Sixsteenth day of feberuary Anno domini One thoufand Six hundered Eightie One ~
Dorithy Rufsell and a Seale
Witnessed by Nehemiah Dickenson, Peter C(?)itton Senr. 22 December 1694. Witnesses swore to will. An inventory of household goods and 145.15.00 worth of land, taken 22 Dec 1694, was valued at 183.06.00. Son Samll Smith swore to the inventory. [3]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Trumbull, J. Hammond. (transcriber). The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut Prior to the Union with New Haven Colony May 1665. (Hartford: Brown and Parsons, 1850.) AKA Colonial Records of Connecticut. Volume I. 1636-1665 Will p. 502; Inventory p. 503
  2. Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts. Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut. Notes: Probate Packets, Smith, E-Smith, J, 1641-1880. Henry Smith Wethersfield 1648 #4959 Hartford Probate District. Accessed at Ancestry ($)
  3. Probate Records, 1660-1916; Index, 1660-1971; Author: Massachusetts. Probate Court (Hampshire County); Probate Place: Hampshire, Massachusetts. Probate Records, Vol 1-4, 1660-1780 Dorithy Russell (clerks copy p. 14) Accessed at Ancestry ($)

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