Colonel Robert SMITH was born in Westmoreland County, PA, on 19 Aug 1784, from which place his father moved to Monongahela County, VA, where the family lived until the year 1796. During this year, Mr. SMITH, unmindful of the great difficulties attending a journey to the far West, removed with his family, to Henderson County, and settled almost directly opposite Evansville, IN. After remaining here but a short time, he found to his great discomfiture, that the river bottoms were extremely unhealthy, and thereupon determined to remove in search of a healthier location. He again broke up home and settled near what is now known as Smith's Mills, on the farm at present owned by B. F. MARTIN, where he continued to live up to the time of his death.
When Colonel SMITH, then a lad of fourteen years of age, and his father passed through Henderson, there were but three or four log cabins to be seen, and the county nothing more than a vast wilderness. He was strong, healthy and full of natural fire and energy, and in this wild country he had realized his fondest backwoods dreams, for the forests were filled with game of all kinds known to the western wilds, including buffalo, bear, deer, and thousands of turkeys, squirrel and small game. The only drawback to a youth of his termperament was the lack of educational facilities; there were no schools and although deprived of even what is termed an ordinaly common school education, he yet so managed with such books as he could lay his hands upon, to gather for himself a fair understanding of the most important English branches.
At the age of nineteen, in the year 1803, Colonel SMITH intermarried with Miss Seltsey ROLLESSON, a lady of strong mind and in every way fitted to make home cheerful and happy. No two ever lived more happily together. When the memorable campaign of HARRISON against the Indians was agitating the country, Colonel SMITH, being a man of ardent patriotic temperament and ready to resent a wrong done his country at any time, volunteered as a private and went under General Samuel HOPKINS into the ten Indian territory, beyond Terre Haute, IN, but was too late for the battle of Tippecanoe. When the Kentucky troops were disbanded, he returned to his home and assumed once more the arduous duties of making a livelihood in the yet wilds of Kentucky.
Later, when the British were threatening New Orleans, his noble spirit rallied to the call of his country, and at the head of a company organized in this and adjoining counties, embarked on a flatboat or barge for New Orleans, to join General JACKSON'S army. He arrived with his company on the evening of 04 Jan 1815, and only received his arms and ammunition the night before the great battle. On this memorable eighth day of January, Colonel SMITH and his men distinguished themselves for gallantry, daring, indomitable courage and willpower. They were during the whole engagement in the thickest of the fight, in the centre and immediately opposite the spot where the renowned General PACKENHAM was killed. In May, he with his company returned home, and ever after that time it was his custom to celebrate the 8th day of January. After this war Colonel SMITH settled down upon his farm, and yet while devotedly attached to his life's profession, he was nevertheless an active participant in all matters of interest to his adopted county. He served as magistrate during years 1816 through 1844, and as sheriff of the county two terms, 1827 and '28 and 1845 and '46.
In the year 1816 his wife died, and this to him was by far the hardest blow of his life; by this wife he had five children, Hosea, Eliza, Cynthia, Sarah and Matilda.
In the year 1817, Colonel SMITH married his second wife, Elizabeth CARRINTON, with whom he lived in conjugal happiness to 05 Mar 1858, when he died upon the same place he had settled sixty-four years before. By his last marriage there were seven children, Elizabeth, Francis, Thomas S., Robert, George W., Mary Ann, and Margaret.
On 09 Feb 1862, George W. SMITH married Miss Adelia COTTON, unto whom there were born four children, Minnie, Ella, Maud and George. Adelia died several years ago, and on 09 Feb 1887, George W. married Mrs. Martha L. BUTLER. It will be observed that George was partial to the ninth day of February, as both marriages were solmenized on that day.
Margaret SMITH on 23 Dec 1857, married B. F. MARTIN, by whom she has had two children, Sallie B. who married Dr. Lev. ROYSTER and Fannie.
Mary A. SMITH on 26 Nov 1857 married Samuel L. COOPER, by whom she has had four daughters, Maggie, Lizzie, Katie and George.
18 Dec 1821, by an act of the General Assembly of Kentucky, Colonel SMITH was appointed in behalf of Henderson County, together with Reuben BERRY, of Union County, and Daniel TALBOTT, Surveryor of Henderson, to run and establish the boundary line between Henderson and Union Counties. Smith's Mill's Post Office, one of the first established in Henderson County, and the pretty little village called by the same name, derived their appellation from an old horse mill, erected by Colonel SMITH near the spot where the residence of B. F. MARTIN now stands.
No man took a more active interest in the development of Henderson County, than did Colonel SMITH. From 1803 to within a few years of his death, his name was intimately associated with every public enterprise. He was instrumental in building more than one house of religious worship, and was never known to fail with his means when called upon for any like purpose. He was a Whig in politics and a recognized leader of his party.
Starling's History of Henderson County, Kentucky, 1887.
COL. ROBERT SMITH REFERENCES
MARRIAGES IN HENDERSON COUNTY 1806 - 1858
(Colonel) Robert Smith - Elizabeth Carrington, 12 Mar 1819, Book
000A, Page 9
MARRIAGES IN HENDERSON COUNTY 1858 - 1900
George W. Smith - Adelia Cotton, 09 Feb 1862, Book 5, Page 305
1810 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Robert Smith, House No. 047; (1) m age 10; (1) m age 26; (3) m age 45-; (2) f age 10; (1) f age 26.
1820 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Robert Smith, Page 12, House No. 231; (1) m age 18; (1) m age 26; (2) m age 45; (2) f age 10; (2) f age 16; (1) f age 26.
1830 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Robert Smith, Page 234, House No. 76; (1) m age 5; (1) m age 30; (1) m age 50; (2) f age 10; (1) f age 30.
1840 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Robert Smith, Page 250, House. No. 1006; (1) m age 5; (2) m age 10; (1) m age 60; (2) f age 5; (1) f age 20; (1) f age 40.
1850 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Robert Smith age 66, Page 137, House No. 639; Elizabeth age 54; Thomas age 22; Robert age 20; Mary age 16; George age 15; Margaret age 13; John Kersey age 35; Felix Floyd age 15; Alfred Bentley age 19; John W. Thomas age 17; George Bruce age 14; Pinckney Nichols age 16.
Hosia Smith age 46, Page 135, House No. 621; Frances C. age 39; James age 17; Mary age 14; Berry age 12; Martha age 8; Sarah age 6; Letsy age 3; Hosia age 1.
1860 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Thomas S. Smith age 32, Page 81, House No. 402; Mary E. age 28; Robert A. age 2.
Hosea Smith age 56, Page 88 - 89, House No. 478; Frances P. age 47; James D. age 26; Mary E. age 24; Berry W. age 22; Martha M. age 17; Sarah age 15; Letta age 12; Hosea age 10; Albert age 8.
DEATH RECORDS - Smith Mills Cemetery
Elizabeth Carrington Smith, b) 19 Nov 1795, d) 31 Aug 1879
Frances C. Smith, b) 23 Jun 1811, d) 10 Nov 1883
Thomas S. Smith, b) 1827, d) 1873
George W. Smith, b) 1832, d) 1908
Samuel L. Cooper, b) 09 May 1830, d) 28 Aug 1869
B. F. Martin, b) 1829, d) 1909
Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS