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The John Smiths of Early New England

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Surnames/tags: smith bland pgm
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This page seeks to help researchers and descendants distinguish the multiple John Smiths of early New England. We draw from a number of sources. Serious researchers of this era and name are welcome to add information here. Currently managed by a few Smiths-- Ellen, Jillaine, & Kitty


Distinguishing the John Smiths of Watertown

This section extracts info from Robert Charles Anderson, "John Smith of Watertown," in The American Genealogist, vol. 61 (1985): 18-31. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .)(subscription)

Background. In 1631, there were 7 towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: Watertown, Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Charlestown, Cambridge and Lynn. Expansion in the Great Migration went along these general lines:

  • Cambridge to Hartford, CT
  • Watertown to Wethersfield, CT & Concord, MA
  • Roxbury to Springfield, MA
  • Dorchester to Windsor, CT

The port towns of Boston and Charlestown had less of an exodus than these inland towns. Additional migrations from Watertown went to Dedham, MA; Sudbury, MA; Hampton, NH; Martha's Vineyard; and Lancaster, MA.

  1. John Smith alias Bland b abt 1580-1591 Colchester; may have been associated with Francis Smith of Reading-- both of them were associated with the Mayhews of Martha's Vineyard. He lived initially in Watertown, Massachusetts (where he went by John Smith Sr), but after he removed to Martha's Vineyard by 1645, he started going by John Bland. He made his will 2 Nov 1663, naming wife Joanna and two daughters Anable and Isable.[1] We know that John Bland of Martha's Vineyard is identical with John Smith Sr of Watertown from a 1691 deposition name him as such. John Smith's Watertown property was adjacent to Jeremiah Norcross and his son-in-law William Barsham.[2] John Smith Sr m2 Isabel Drake; she died in Watertown as Isabel Smith 12 Oct 1639, age 60. Children:
    1. Anabel b abt 1613; m. William Barsham of Watertown about 1634
    2. Isabel b abt 1615; m1. Francis Austen of Watertown, Dedham and Hampton; he died by 1642 when she m2. Thomas Leavitt of Hampton. They had a son John. Isabel died 9 Feb 1698/9, age 87.
  2. John Smith, b abt 1615 or earlier; Anderson makes the case for him being the son of Adrean (_____) Smith Norcross (wife of Jeremiah Norcross): Adrean (female) m1 _____ Smith; she m2 Jeremiah Norcross. This marriage was probably the 14 Sep 1611 marriage at Saint Luke in Chelsea between Jeremy Norcroste and Audrie Smithe, wyddow.[3] She was too young to have been the mother of John Bland/Smith. This John Smith first appears in MV records 1653/4; clues point to his origins being Hampton, NH; he died Martha's Vineyard shortly after 14 Feb 1670 when he made his will, which names wife Deborah (daughter of George Parkhurst)-- John Smith married Deborah Parkhurst in Watertown; probably removed to Hampton initially, then to Martha's Vineyard by the mid-1650s; children:
    1. John Smith, later lived in Hampton NH [check]
    2. Samuel,
    3. Philip,
    4. Deborah; m Nathaniel Batchelder
    5. Abigail.
  3. John Smith of Lancaster; initially in Sudbury in 1647; d. Lancaster, Massachusetts 16 Jul 1669, leaving a will. His origins are unknown; there is no record of him in Watertown; he was not the same person as John (Bland) Smith, was not a son of John (Bland) Smith's alleged mother Adrian, and was not the husband of Alice Smith who arrived in New England on the Planter in 1635. The 1928 Miner Genealogy[4] stated that Alice Smith, age 40, arrived in America on the Planter on 10 April 1635 with children Mary and Hannah, both age 18, Richard 14, and John 13, and asserted that "the names of her children makes her identification as the first wife of John Smith (of Lancaster) almost positive; Hannah was probably the child later known as Ann." Anderson pointed out that Alice and the four younger Smiths did not appear together on the list of passengers of the Planter. Alice's name was separated from the name of John Smith, 13, by the name of Elizabeth Cooper, aged 24, and the other names (Richard Smith, 14, servant of Martin Saunders, and Hannah and Marie Smith, both age 18) appear on a different list dated 6 April 1635 and are scattered within a list of individuals (not family groups). He concluded "There is no justification for considering these five Smiths to be part of one family unit." He concluded that Alice and John were related, but the others "have all the appearance of being servants, or on their own." He identified Alice as the wife of Francis Smith of Watertown and 13-year-old John as that man's son, born in England in 1621.[5] Mary wife of John Smith died in Lancaster 27 Dec 1659; children:[6]
    1. John m 1647 in Sudbury
    2. Richard m 1647 in Sudbury
    3. Alice born about 1629
    4. Ann who m. in Sudbury 1654 John Moore.
    5. Not Mary who married Amos Richardson. She is identified as his child in the Miner Genealogy, but is not his child.

Additional Smiths of the Time/Place

Anderson summarizes the following who may have been related to the Johns above:

  • Francis Smith m Alice and had son John bc 1621 England; and son Benjamin b New England 1637. Alice and John appear on the manifest list for the "Planter" on 10 Apr 1635. So, it appears that Alice and John came to join Francis, already in Massachusetts. Then, within two years, they had a son Benjamin. This Francis Smith was in Watertown but by the early 1640s, he had removed to Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Jeremy Norcross m Audrie/Adrean Smithe (est b aft 1580), a widow, in Saint Luke in Chelsea (now in London) on 14 Sep 1611. Adrean m1) unknown Smith and had son John Smithe between 1600 & 1610. Adrean could not be the mother of John Bland Smith
  • Thomas - there is no hint whatsoever that he was connected genealogically with any of the above Smiths (Thomas Smith m Mary Knapp)
  • Daniel Smith-2914 - m Elizabeth Porter-4051. Daniel and Elizabeth had an only son Daniel Smith-45591 who went to Stonington, CT. There is no hint whatsoever that he was connected genealogically with any of the above Smiths
  • Richard Smith bc 1625 (bap 25 Jan 1624/5) Burvilld (Burghfield), Barkshire, England d 1680 Sudbury, MA. Servant to both Jeremy Norcross and John Knapp

YDNA groups for some Smiths

Some of the early Smith immigrant men have descendants who have done a yDNA test, mostly with FamilyTreeDNA.com. The men listed below that have a NE#, have matching yDNA tests in SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project. For more groups and names, please see this free-space page: SmithConnections DNA Project

  • _____ John Smith-47411 (1680 - 1731 Liverpool Eng) m Anna Allwood-120
  • _____Francis (___ - 1649 Reading MA) m.___ ...and his son John d.1706 m. Catherine Morrill & Mary Bill
  • _____ John (____ - post 1649 ____ MA) m Bennet Moorecock 7 Dec 1638 Plymouth Colony
  • NE05 John Smith-28591 (John Smith of Lancaster; ____Eng – 1669 Lancaster MA) m ____ ...and his sons John Smith-62521 d 1687 MA m Sarah Hunt-6216; & Richard Smith-30137 d 1699 CT
  • NE55 John (c1622 Eng - 1672 Ipswich MA) m Elizabeth Cooley
  • _____ John Smith-2526 (c1621 ENG –1672 Salem MA) m. Elizabeth Goodale-13
  • _____ John Smith (c1621 ENG –1672 Salem MA) m Elizabeth Goodale
  • _____ John (____- 1673 Charlestown MA) m Sarah poss Converse
  • NE73 John Smith-970 (c1616 -1674 Nantucket MA) m Deborah? Parkhurst-25
  • _____ John ‘quartermaster’ (c1606 –1678 Dorchester MA) m Katherine ?Pelton
  • _____ John Smith-29731 (c1621 - 1678 Roxbury MA) m C/Katherine Morrell & Mary Bill-317
  • _____ John Smith-6949 (c1620 -1691 Dartmouth MA) m Deborah Howland-116 & Ruhamah Kirby-176?
  • NE09 John Smith-6919, Rev (c1620 Eng – 1710 Sandwich MA) m Susanna Hinckley-55
  • NE29 John (c1700 Ire? -1767 Braintree MA) m Abigail Littlefield-562
  • NE39 John Smith-14989 (c1619 Eng - 1684 Milford CT) m Grace Hawley-293
  • _____ John 'ye Smith-40680' (c1647 - 1704 Milford CT) m1) Sarah Fowler-2539
  • _____ John (1655 IRE - post 1720 PA) m._____... and his son John (1685 IRE - 1765 PA) m. Susanna _____
  • _____ John (c1623 ____ - post 1678 NJ) m. Martha Crofts
  • NE59 John Smith (___ - d 1684 NY)
  • NE22 John 'blue' Smith-40348 (1624/34 - c1718 LI NY) m Sara Strickland-1047
  • _____ John Smith 'of Newtown, Suffolk Co. LI, NY c1680' b____ - d____ m Hannah
  • _____ John Smith-61087 bc 1619 dc 1694 NY m Ann Gildersleeve-2 & Elizabeth (Wickes-6) Townsend
  • _____ John ‘Rock’ Smith-1811 (c1615 Eng -1694 Queens LI, NY)
  • _____ John 'the mason' (c1595 Eng -1659 RI) m ____ .. and his son John ‘the mason’ (1619 –1684 RI) m Elizabeth ____
  • NE40 John 'the miller' Smith-42051 (c1595 – 1648 Providence RI) m Ann Smith-42051
  • _____ John 'of Newport' (____ - 1699 RI) m Susannah ____
  • _____ John 'of Prudence Island' Smith-60313 (____ - 1677 RI) m Margaret
  • _____ John 'of Prudence Island' (____ - 1730 RI) m Phyllis Gereardy-10 ... and his son John 'of Warwick & Prov.' (____- 1771 RI) m Mary Westcott
  • _____7 Brothers #1 John Smith-1248 (1657 Eng -1717/18 Bucks Co. PA) m Elizabeth Ball-56

James Smith

Because James Smith has been associated as father of one of the John Smith's above, we list here the different James Smiths of early New England:

  • James Smith[7], b abt 1592; m by about 1617 Mary; emigrated by the summer of 1635 when he was granted land in Salem; he removed to Gloucester in 1642 and to Marblehead by 1645. He was a blacksmith. He contributed to the support of Marblehead's minister in 1657. In 1659, he and his wife were accused by a neighbor of "adhering to the Quakers and an evil example to others." He continued to be absent from meeting on the Lord's day through 1660, suggesting that he had indeed become Quaker. He and other family members were frequently in court through the 1640s charged with theft and other crimes. But his status changed by 1651 when he was appointed to grand jury and town offices Some property deeds and court records include reference to a Mr. Samuel Smith; relation? Anderson says no evidence. Samuel Aborne referred to James Smith in 1678 as his father-in-law. On 13 Jun 1656, James Smith "of Marblehead in New England do give and bequeath after my decease unto mine only son James Smith living at Bristol in old England [various land in Salem, MA]" He made a will 9 Nov 1660 (proved 27 Jun 1661; inventoried 25 June 1661), making bequests to wife Mary, son James Smith, son-in-law Richard Rowland; James son of my son James Smith; Kathren Eburne [Aborne?] my daughter; Mary Eburne my grandchild; other five children of my daughter Eburne; daughter Mary Rouland; grandchild Samuel Rowland; my daughter Rowland's other three children; son [sic] Samuel Eburne one of the overseers. His wife left her own will dated 28 March 1663, proved 25 Apr 1663, inventoried 13 Apr 1663, makes bequests to her daughters Catharon Eborrun and Mary Roulland; grandchildren Samuel Rouland and Joseph Rouland; grandchild Mary Eborne. There were many disputes between the Smiths and their sons-in-law (and even between the Smith children), especially Richard Rowland who was accused of physically abusing both James Smith Sr before his death and later the widow Mary Smith. These disputes continued after the deaths of both parents and even into the third generation. Children:
    • Katharine Smith, ,b abt 1617; m by 1637 Samuel Eborne
    • Capt. James Smith, b abt 1624; m by abt 1651 Mary ___; was probably in England 1642-1666; children possibly born England, but settled in New England
    • Mary Smith, b abt 1626; m b abt 1646 Richard Rowland
  • James Smith of Weymouth; freeman 1654.


  1. Anderson, citing Banks 2:43 who cited Edgartown Records 1:54
  2. Anderson, citing Dukes Land Records 1:282; Banks 2:42; NEHGR 21:316, 52:28
  3. LDS Film #585471
  4. Selleck, Lillian Lounsberry Miner. One Branch of the Miner Family: With Extensive Notes on the Wood, Lounsberry, Rogers and Fifty Other Allied Families of Connecticut and Long Island, (D. L. Jacobus in New Haven, Connecticut, 1928)
  5. Anderson, Robert Charles. John Smith of Watertown, Massachusetts. The American Genealogist. New Haven, CT. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .)(subscription), Vol. 61 (1985): pages 18-31.
  6. Also see Smith, Rev. Alven Martyn. John Smith of Lancaster, Mass.. So. Pasadena, California, 1931.
  7. Anderson, GM Vol VI R-S pp 363-373; see also TAG 17:209-14

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Would this Smith Bland connection be carried through with John S Smith 1792, Wolf Pitt, Richmond County, NC? Later at Rockingham, NC. Wife Nancy, children Judith, Elizabeth, Senith, Benjamin and Zebadee.
posted by Robin (Bass) Van Leer
Not likely,Robin. North <--> South migration was rare during colonial times. Not impossible, but rare. What evidence do you have that John Smith of North Carolina came from New England? Or that his parents did?
posted by Jillaine Smith
Kitty, please feel free to edit the heck out of this.
posted by Jillaine Smith