Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jacob Smith and Family of Chateaugay

One of the first families of Chateaugay, NY is the Jacob Smith Family. 

Excerpted from a February 1978 article in the Chateaugay Record, written by John Andrew Bilow:

"A monument has recently been erected in the Willis Cemetery in Earlville honoring Jacob Smith, one of the first settlers in Chateaugay and a Revolutionary War Soldier.

Jacob Smith was born in East Haven Conn., July 7, 1742, the son of Thomas Smith and Eunice Russell.  Smith married Elizabeth Blanchard, December 27, 1772 and had eight children: Eunice, Ruth, Thomas, Stephen, Jacob, Eli, Amaziah, and Salmon.  Ruth was born in Shutesbury, Mass., Thomas at Sherburn, Vt., Stephen in Arlington, Vt., Jacob, Eli and Amaziah in Sunderland, and Salmon in South Hero, Vt.  This family was well traveled. 

Jacob enlisted in the Revolutionary War in  May of 1775 in the state of Vermont in the company commanded by Captain Gideon Brownson in the regiment Commanded by Colonel Warner.  He served in Seth Warner's Regt. for two years and saw service in the Battle of Hubbarton, the Batttle of Bennington in 77 and the Battle at the capture of Burgoyne.  In the spring of 1778 he was transferred to Col Samuel Herricks Regt. and served for eighteen months when he was discharged. 

According to a statement made by Jesse Down of Poultney, Vt. in 1828 Jacob was cited as a Lieutenant and was also at the taking of Fort Defiance and Crown Point.  He was granted a pension of 15.74 semi-annually for his services in the Revolution. 

Smith was a selectman in South Hero, Vt. and was also known as Major according to the census of 1790.  Upon moving to Chateaugay in 1797, he established the first tannery in Franklin County, in the Northeastern part of town.  This would be in the Earlville area.  For the next 100 years his decendants were men of affairs in the town.  Thomas was a Colonel in the War of 1812 and owned a Tavern.  Salmon was a town justice.  His grandsons, Eli B. and Henry B. were wealthy merchants, businessmen and politicians."

Jacob Smith served as Supervisor of the Town of Chateaugay from 1829 until his death in 1831 and his grandson Henry B. Smith was Supervisor 1841, 1845-1849, 1851, 1856-1858, and 1861-1862.  

Hon. Henry B. Smith, a lifelong Democrat, was born in Chateaugay in 1805 and died in Chateaugay in 1863.  He held numerous local and state offices in addition to Town Supervisor, including assesor, justice of the peace, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, collector of customs, and State Senator. (Hough, p. 469)

Henry's brother, Eli B. Smith donated four acres of "sightly grounds" as the site of the Chateaugay Academy and Union Free School, which opened September 15, 1879.  (Hurd, p. 465)

Capt. Salmon Smith (Jacob's son and the twin brother of Amaziah), also a soldier in the War of 1812, is highlighted in the Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Iillinois by Calumet Book & Engraving Company, Chicago (1896):
"He was a most pronounced infidel up to the age of thirty years, when he was converted to the Christian religion.... He was so well known and had been such a vigorous opponent of religious belief, that his change of sentiment produced much good in the community, although he had always been regarded as an honorable and worthy man.  He occupied some of the most responsible positions that the people could bestow.  He was an able lawyer, and served the public quite as ably and well when elevated to the Bench, as he had previously in a military capacity.  All his brothers did military service, and were pronounced workers in the Methodist Church.  He was born January 12, 1786, in South Hero, Grand Isle County, Vermont, and at twelve years of age removed with his father to Chateaugay, New York, where he resided the remainder of his life and passed away May 24, 1828."

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