1625 - 1693 (~ 68 years) Submit Photo / Document
Set As Default Person
||SMITH, Robert |
||Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England 
||30 Apr 1626
||Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England [1, 2]
||1638 [4, 5]
|from England to Boston, Massachusetts. He was Joseph Smith's first paternal ancestor to come here. |
||30 Aug 1693
||Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, British Colonial America
||30 Aug 1693
||Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, British Colonial America 
||17 Apr 1940
||SGEOR [9, 10]
||Reviewed on FS |
||Joseph Smith Sr and Lucy Mack Smith
||3 Jan 2022 |
||SMITH, Robert Sr, b. Mar 1595, Kirton, Lincolnshire, England d. Oct 1643, Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England (Age ~ 48 years) |
||WATSON, Grace, b. Abt 1610, Boston, Lincolnshire, England d. Feb 1625, Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England (Age ~ 15 years) |
||1 Jun 1624
||Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||SMITH, Robert Sr, b. Mar 1595, Kirton, Lincolnshire, England d. Oct 1643, Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England (Age ~ 48 years) |
||GIBSON, Margareta, b. 1602, Edenham, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom d. Abt May 1645, Sutterton, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom (Age 43 years) |
||14 Nov 1626
||Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire, England
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Margaret, b. 1593, Frampton, Lincolnshire, England d. DECEASED |
||3 Nov 1651
||Anstey, Leicestershire, England
||24 Jan 2022 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||FRENCH, Mary, b. 2 Mar 1634, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States d. 22 Mar 1684, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 50 years) |
||26 Mar 1656
||Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts [11, 12]
- MARRIAGE: Also shown as Married 15 Mar 1656 ~SEALING_SPOUSE: Also shown as SealSp 25 May 1985, PROVO.
| ||1. SMITH, Thomas, b. 7 Jul 1654, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts d. 25 Feb 1725, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 70 years)|
| ||2. SMITH, Mary, b. 20 Oct 1658, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 10 Dec 1716, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 58 years)|
| ||3. SMITH, Phebe, b. 26 Aug 1661, Boxford, Boxford, Essex, Massachusetts d. 14 Jan 1740, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts (Age 78 years)|
| ||4. SMITH, Ephriam, b. 29 Oct 1663, Boxford, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 14 Jan 1740, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts Bay, British Colonial America (Age 76 years)|
|+||5. SMITH, Samuel Sr., b. 26 Jan 1666, Boxford, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 12 Jul 1748, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 82 years)|
| ||6. SMITH, Amye, b. 16 Aug 1668, Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 22 Feb 1756, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 87 years)|
| ||7. SMITH, Sarah, b. 26 Jun 1670, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 28 Aug 1673, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 3 years)|
| ||8. SMITH, Nathaniel, b. 7 Sep 1672, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 1719, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 46 years)|
| ||9. SMITH, Jacob, b. 26 Jan 1674, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 8 Dec 1748, Boxford, Essex, Massachusetts, United States (Age 74 years)|
| ||10. SMITH, Mariah, b. 18 Dec 1677, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States d. 17 Jan 1739, Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States (Age 61 years)|
||24 Jan 2022 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- The most common of all surnames, as it was applied to artificers in wood as well as metal-in
Robert Smith Jr was born in January 1625 to Robert Smith Sr (1595-1643) and Grace Watson Smith (1610-1625). He was the surviving twin to his brother, William whom immediately was baptized 30 January 1625, and was buried the same day, according John Vues, vicar, (Kirton in Holland Parish of Lincolnshire, England, Images 5 - 6/166, pages 184-185). He either died from labor and delivery complications, or the 1625 Plague.
As a result of the Plague of 1625 in England, (P. H. Wood “Infection unperceiv’d, in many a place”: The London plague of 1625, viewed from Plymouth Rock. We’re History, 2020, April 15), or complications related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery, their mother Grace Watson Smith succumbed to death in February of 1625, and was buried 21 February 1625, (Ibid, Image 6/166, page 185). This left Robert Sr. with an infant son who needed to be baptized and cared for in the wake of grieving and sudden single parenthood. Two months after his mother’s death, Robert Jr. was baptized in Kirton in Holland parish on 30 April 1626 (Ibid, Image 6/166, page 186).
Robert Sr, then married Margaret Gibson (1602-1645) whose surname was miswritten as Gilpin, explained in her Life Sketch, 14 November 1626, (Kirton in Holland Register, image 7/166, page 187). The three of them began their new life there. Robert’s
half - brother William born 30 September 1627, Kirton in Holland (Ibid, 7/166, page 188), was named for his maternal grandfather, William Gibson (1573-1623) and also possibly in remembrance of his deceased twin.
Other siblings were born in Kirton in Holland, and likely passed away due to the deficit harvests from 1629-1637, in England, (Hoskins, W. G. (1968),
Harvest fluctuations and English economic history, 1620–1759.The Agricultural History Review, 16(1), 15-31. https://www.jstor.org/
which exactly correlated with the births and deaths of Robert Sr’s children and his ability as a householder or farmer to provide for them. Only Robert and William survived to adulthood. Births and deaths of their siblings are as follows: Susan (1628-1629), Katherine (1629-1629), John (1631-1638), Samuel (1633-1636), Thomas (1634-1635), Grace (1635-1635), and Susan, (1637-1637), see (Smith Sr, Robert, FamilySearch Person Page, 7 August 2021, 4:00 PM, DST).
Robert and William were educated in Kirton in Holland at a “grammar school. . . originally a free school, [which was] founded [there] in 1624 by Sir Thomas Middlecott,”
(Staunton, H. 1869.
The great schools of England: an account of the foundation, endowments, and discipline of the chief seminaries of learning in England. Strahan and Co. Publishers),
“for the benefit of children of the parishes of Kirton,” and others nearby. They were taught Latin, Greek, Christian religion, English commerce and agriculture, mathematics” and other topics, (Great Schools of England, Kirton in Holland page 4 of 4,) that would prepare these boys to emigrate to Colonial America with John Whittingham in 1638 as his indentured servants for ten years of servitude which paid for their passage.
John Whittingham, and his family were members of the Boston Botolph Parish, (Boston St Botolph Parish Register, baptism September 1616, Image 35/103 page 25). It was a 1 hour 25, minute walk from Kirton in Holland. (Google Maps). John Cotton and other vicars in the area were influencing parishioners away from the Anglican Church toward Puritan theology and practices (history of massachusetts.org/reverend-john-cotton/).
Beginning in 1630 as many as 20,000 Puritans emigrated to America from England, (Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Library of Congress). The relationship of the Watsons, Smiths, Gibsons and Whittinghams, and the proximity of Boston Port were the critical factors, in Robert Sr’s and Margaret’s decision to send their boys to America where they could seek freedom to worship, and security in building a home, according to (Zora Smith Jarvis, George A Smith Family, page 1, 1962).
According to Jarvis, “Robert served his ten years with Mr. Whittingham, and then in 1648, when of age, he became a citizen of Ipswich, MA. For a time he worked for the Tutle family” (Ibid). In 1655/6 Robert Jr. married Mary French (1634-1692) in Boston, Massachussets, (U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700, image 703/1022, page 688).
In 1661, Robert Jr and Mary "moved to Rowley Village later organized as Boxford, Essex County, MA. Here [Robert] purchased 208 acres of land, and . . . was known for his thrift and industry . . . He built a large lumber house with an upstairs in Boxford, Massachusetts. In that wooded country of uncultivated land extending over mountains and prairies, they little dreamed how numerous their posterity would become or how great a work that God had chosen for members of their posterity to perform," (Ibid).
Robert and Mary had the following children: Thomas Smith Sr. (1656–1725), Mary Smith (1658– 1726), Phebe Smith (1661–1740), Ephraim Smith (1663–1740), Samuel Smith Sr. (1666–1748), Amy Ruhanna Smith (1668–1756), Sarah Smith (1670–1673), Nathaniel Smith (1672–1719), Jacob Smith (1674–1738), and Mariah Smith (1677–1738), (Smith Jr, Robert, and Smith, Mary French, FamilySearch Person Page, 7 August 2021, 4:15, PM, DST). All of their children were born in Essex County, MA, in the towns of Newbury, Ipswich, Boxford, and Topsfield—within about a two or three hour walk of each other, (Google Maps).
>*< ! >*< ! >*< ! >*<
Robert Smith Jr (1625-1693) was the third great grandfather to Joseph Smith Jr (1805-1844), founder and first prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized 1830. Robert was a significant hingepoint of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Robert Jr passed after a full and successful life, 30 August 1693, (NEW ENGLAND MARRIAGES PRIOR TO 1700), and (https://www.findagrave.com/).
ROBERT TESTIFIED IN A SUIT 1659 WHEN HIS AGE WAS STATED AS THIRTY THREE. FROM THE DIPOSITION IN A PREVIOUS LAWSUIT 1655 GIVE CIRCUMSTANCE OF HIS VOYAGE TO NEW ENGLAND, POSSIBLY BOSTON. FROM LINCOLNSHIRE AND THAT HE WAS AN APPRENTICE OF A MR WHITTINGHAM IN 1638. PLACING HIS BIRTH ABOUT 1626 HE WAS 12 YEARS OLD AT HIS EMIGRATION. HE WAS BAPTIZED IN BOSTONS PARISH REGISTER IN 1626. IN 1659 A DEPOSITION STATED THAT HE WAS LIVING WITH A MRS TUTLE, SIMON TUTTLE'S MOTHER IN IPSWICH 8 OR 9 YERS AGO. IN 1652, HE AND EDMOND BRIDGES WERE WITNESSES IN A SUIT IN IPSWICH.
BOTH HE AND MARY FRENCH IS WIFE TESTIFIED IN ACTION BROUGHT BY HENRY KEMBALL AGAINST THOMAS SMITH ET AL. WITHIN A FEW YEARS THEY MOVED TO ROWLEY VILLAGE, THEN CLOSELY IDENTIFIED WITH TOPSFIELD, AND IN 1673 SOME OF THE INHABITANT OF THE VILLAGE ATTEMPED TO TROW ITS ASSOCIATION TOWARD ROWLEY. ROBERT HEADED THE PETITION TO THE GENERAL COURT IN OPPOSITION. THE VILLAGE EVENTUALLY BECAME KNOWN AS BOXFORD. ROBERT TOOK THE OATH OF ALLEGIENCE IN 1678. MARY WAS A FULL MEMBER OF COMMUNION OF THE TOPSFIELD CHURCH UNDER MR CAPEN. HE MADE HIS WILL 7 AUG 1693 AND WAS PROBATED ON SEPT 26 1693. HE LEFT HIS PROPERTY TO HIS WIFE MARY AND SONS SAMUEL, EPHRAIM, JACOB AND HIS DAUGHTERS MARY TOWNE, PHEBE TOWNE, EMEY TOWNE AND MERIAH, HIS SON NATHANIEL, AN INVALID, WAS LEFT IN THE CARE OF HIS BROTHERSAMUEL. THOMAS LIVED WITH THE GRANDFATHER FRENCH AND RECIEVED NO LEGACY.
THE PROPERTY ADMINISTERED AT THIS TIME WAS APPRIASED BY JOHN FRENCH ANDJOHN GOULD AT 189 POUND 7 QID 3 PENCE.. ADMINISTRATION "CUM TESTAMENTO ANNEXO" WAS GRANTED 8 OCT 1698. MARY SURVIVED HER HUSBAND BY 26 YEARS AND DIED ABOUT 1719. A FINAL DIVISION WAS MADE IN 1731 TO EPHRAIM, SAMUEL AND JACOB WHEN THEY BOUGHT OUT THE OTHER BROTHERS AND SISTERS INTEREST.
!Colonial Families of U. S. Mackenzie Vol. 3
Other non-referenced family research records a date of birth for Robert Smith as 30 April 1626. It is unlikely that he would have been baptized the day of his birth. The Writings from 'Saviors on Mount Zion' below says his baptism was in April of 1626 and he was 33 in 1659 (which also would make his birth in 1626). The Comprehensive History of the Church says that he was 'about fifteen' in 1638. That would put his birth around 1623. This is the only reference that is other than 1626. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.1278 ROBERT SMITH immigrated in the year 1638 from England; the exact location is unknown. He married Mary French and settled in that part of Rowley, in Essex County, Mass., which afterwards became the township of Boxford. He was the father of ten children. B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.1, Ch.1, p.1 - p.2 On the paternal side the ancestry of Joseph Smith can be traced only to Robert Smith, who is known to have come from England to America in 1638, when about fifteen years of age. Nothing is known of the antecedents of Robert in England. After his arrival in America he settled in Essex county, Massachusetts, where he married Mary French, by whom he had ten children. Robert is accredited with having begun life in a humble way; with having won the esteem of his neighbors; and with having prospered fairly well as to material things. He purchased two hundred and eight acres of land located partly in Boxford township, partly in Topsfield. He was usually spoken of as "Robert Smith of Boxford," but sometimes of "Topsfield." He was esteemed as a quiet, unassuming man; interested in the welfare of Boxford, and generous to the needy. Archibald F. Bennett, Saviors on Mount Zion, p.89 In "A True Copy of a Record Kept by Asael Smith," he gives this account of his own forefathers: "My father, Samuel Smith, Esqr. was born Jany. 26th 1714�My grandfather, Mr. Samuel Smith, was the son of Mr. Robert Smith who came from Old England ." Of the emigrant from England, Robert Smith, it is written: Beginning life in the new world in a humble way, he gradually won the esteem of his neighbors, and through his industry and integrity was able to gather around him some of the comforts of life�Robert was known among his neighbors as a quiet, unassuming man, devoted to the welfare of the settlement. His family was reared in the prevailing religious teachings of Puritan communities, and in a strict knowledge of the scriptures. From the days of Asael Smith to the year 1950 it was not possible to trace with certainty the parentage and ancestry of this Robert Smith. In 1659 he testified in court he was thirty-three years old. At a trial in Ipswich, Mass., in 1655, he testified that he came to New England as a boy apprentice, in the same ship with Mr. John Whittingham, from Boston in Lincolnshire, sailing in May, 1638, from London. This John Whittingham was baptized in Boston, England, 29 Sept. 1616, but his father was from Sutterton, about five miles south of Boston. Between Boston and Sutterton is the village of Kirton. Here the baptism record of Robert Smith has been found. From a microfilm copy of the Kirton parish registers the entry has been copied thus (translated from the Latin): Robert Smith, son of Robert, baptized the xxxth day of April 1626. A further search in the old and difficult handwriting of that early period revealed the baptisms of Robert's father and grandfather: Robt Smythe the Sonne of Edwarde was baptized the forth daye of this moneth, Marche 1595. (p. 105) Edward Smithe was baptized ye xxxth day of September 1571. Since no father is mentioned in this last entry, the parentage must now be sought for Edward Smith from other sources. MARRIAGE: Topsfield, Town of Local Jurisdiction County: Essex State: MA Variant Names: Village of the New Meadows Description: Located 9 miles N of Salem; Essex County. History: Settled about 1635, incorporated as a town in 1650. Probably named by the settlers for the English town from which they emigrated. Before 1648, it was that part of Ipswich called the Village of the New Meadows. MARRIAGE: New and Complete Gazetteer of the U.S. (1854), p.1156 TOPSFIELD, a post-village of Essex co., Massachusetts, about 20 miles N. E. by N. from Boston, contains 1 or 2 churches and an academy. Population, 1170.
!Source:Colonial Families of U.S. Mackenzie Vol.3; Left Estate valued at 189 Pounds, a comparative large sum for that area. Joseph Smith's 3ed Great Grandfather, he emigrated from Topsfield, England, to Boston in 1638 while still in his teens. Robert married Mary French, and after a brief stay in nearby Rowley, settled in Topsfield, Massachusetts.
BIOGRAPHY: Robert is father of Topsfield SMITH's The Old Smith homestead - In 1638, Robert Smith, an apprentice about 12 years old (as an edentured servant), arrived at Topsfield, Mass., from England. He later became the father of a son, Samuel. Following Robert Smith's death in 1693, his son moved to a farm home on the site seen here. His son, Samuel II, lived here, as well. Samuel II was the father of Asael. Asael and his wife, Mary Duty, were the parents of a son, Joseph Smith Sr., father of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Asael and his family including Joseph Sr., eventually left Topsfield, and Joseph Sr. ended up in Tunbridge, VT., where he met his wife, Lucy Mack, mother of the Prophet. The original home no longer stands, but a facsimile of the home can be seen on a plaque attached to a monument on the property. The monument was erected by the Topsfield Historical Society and the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation in 2004. (By Kenneth Mays Mormon Times 27 May 2010.) University of Utah Library - Special BX 8643. C68 B76 1994 General BX 8643.C68 B76 In this Turley database- From 102597, 102839, 102600, 59471 - pp 4, 48-49, 52-80, 84-85 Radical Origins - A Prepared People pg. 65-85- With this opening perspective established, this chapter explored Mormon origins in New England from the 1630s to 1800 in some detail, examining specifically the experiences of the Mack and Smith families in the 1830s. Topsfield, in Essex County, Massachusetts; and Lyme and East Haddam, in the New London region of Connecticut. (The German Macks beginning first in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and later evolving through Connecticut and Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, finally settling in New York State.) We have "discovered no full articulation of Mormon restoration and hermetic divinization, but the experiences of these families in their communities tell us much about the intellectual and social preconditions for the framing of Mormon doctrine of the families of Joseph Smith." Robert Smith arrived in Boston in 1638, just months after Anne Hutchinson's banishment to Rhode Island. Only twelve years old, Robert had had no mature encounter with Laudian persecution or English Puritanism. Without a family other than a brother, who soon disappeared, his early exposure to Puritanism in New England came through the filter of either indentured servitude or an apprenticeship. After working as a tailor in Boston for some years, he married Mary French of Ipswich in the mid-1650s and established himself in Boxford in 1661. Mary was a member of the Topfield church by 1684, but Robert Smith never joined the church. By 1693, when he had his will drawn up as he lay dying, Robert Smith enjoyed circumstances, leaving three hundred acres to three of his sons. His son Samuel, Joseph Smith's great-great-grandfather, would move to neighboring Topsfield in 1693, where the family would remain for almost a century, before emigrating during the revolutionary years to New Hampshire and Vermont, and after the Gold Summer of 1816 to Palmyra in the Burned-over District of central New York. (26) pg 66- Two episodes dramatically set off the story of the Smiths in Essex County. In the Spring of 1692, at the height of the Salem witchcraft trials, Samuel Smith testified to the occult powers of his aunt by marriage, Mary Easty, one of the three daughters of William Towne of Topsfield who were accused of witchcraft in 1692. A century later, in 1796, Samuel's grandson Asael Smith wrote a warm and friendly letter from Tunbridge, Vermont to Jacob Towne Jr. in Topsfield, a great-great-great-nephew of Mary Easty, thanking him "with joy and gratitutude" for a recent letter and sending his regards to Jacob's parents.(27) A long saga of community turmoil and reconciliation stood between these two events. The Smiths and the Townes had been on very intimate terms during the 1680s. Though the Smiths lived in Boxford, miles from the Townes in South Topsfield, all three marriages among Robert Smith's children in the 1680s were with members of the Towne family. (28) But these cordial relations were shattered in 1692 when Samuel Smith of Boxford appeared at his brother-in-laws .... One night five years previously Smith had been rude in discourse," probably at the wedding supper for his sister Amy, and Mary Easty's house had warned him he "might Rue it hereafter." Riding past a stone wall later that night he had "Received a little blow to my shoulder which I know not what and the stone wall rattled very much but I cannot give the reason of it." Margaret Redington testified that during an illness three years earlier Goody Easty had vanished into thin air after offering her a piece of meat "not fete for the doges." On this evidence and that relating to the afflicted, several of them - Putnams, Mary Towne Easty was hanged on September 22, 1692. (29) Page 186 Samuel Smith's testimony against Mary Easty, a striking violation of the family relationship established in the marriages of three of his sisters, was clearly a dramatic turning point in the relations between Smiths and Townes. With the exception of one marriage in 1732, after which the couple removed to Kennebunkport, Maine, there would be no significant associations between the Smiths and the Townes for seventy years. Abandoning the Towne family with this accusation, the Smiths moved decisively into the orbit of the Gould family, the largest landholders in the town of Topsfield and cousins of the Putnams of Salem Village, who led the accusations against the Townes in 1692. In August 1693, eight months after the end of the Salem trials, Robert Smith had his last will and testament drawn up as he lay on his deathbed. His wife, Mary, and his son Samuel were named executors, and the will was witnessed by his brother-in-law John French and by Captain John Gould. The conditions of Robert Smith's will may suggest approval of Samuel's accusation of Mary Towne Easty. Robert left Samuel, his third son, with one hundred acres of land, while he cut off his eldest son, Thomas, with six pounds. (30) Samuel's one hundred acres were situated on the line between Boxford and north Topsfield, making him a neighbor of the Goulds, and the Smith-Gould connection would continue for decades. After witnessing Robert's will in August 1693, Captain John Gould inventoried the estate that September. John Gould II witnessed a further accounting of this estate in 1720 and was the executor of Samuel Smith's estate when he died in 1748; the three witnesses of Samuel Smith II's will in 1767 were all Goulds. In the intervening years there had been at least three Smith-Gould marriages, including two between Samuel Smith II and two first cousins, both named Priscilla Gould, in 1734 and 1745. (31) The Smith family's decided shift in affiliation from the Townes to the Goulds is a strong indication that Samuel's accusation of Mary Easty was no passing whim. His fear of occult powers was embedded deeply in a context of kinship, behind which there may have been bitter anxieties over property. And in shifting from Townes to Goulds, the Smiths were taking a step that had powerful political implications within the microcosm of Topsfield. Formed in 1648 from "the village at the new meadowes at Ipswich," Topsfield was wracked by intense conflict at regular internals from the 1660s to the 1740s, conflict that invariably pitted the Goulds and families in their kinship circle with the Townes and their orbit. From the 1660s to the 1680s, the Goulds advanced the cause of the Puritan Commonwealth, while the Townes supported the Stuart authorities. In 1692 the Townes and their allied families were the target of witchcraft accusations, typically brought by Gould allies. In 1739 a shooting accident during militia training brought the two sides into court, and then the Great Awakening pitted the Goulds as ardent New Lights against the Townes as Old Lights. Twice, in 1692 and in 1745, the bitter and public quarrels between the two "parties" had to be reconciled in public meetings (32) The witchcraft accusations of 1692 and in 1746 were only one episode in a pattern of endemic conflict that would be forgotten only in the drama of the mid-century wars. pg 67- A similar confrontatioin between ?"paties" set the stage for another incident of occult warfare involving the Goddard family, forebears of the Mormon Youngs. The bewitchment and exorcism of the houshold of Ebenzer and Sybell Goddard apparently occurred in 1759, and the story was distantly of a perfectionist cult, may of whose features anticipated nineteenth-century Mormonism. The context for this episode encompassed a history of strife between Separates and Immortalists in Framingham and Hopkinton, Massachusetts, well-south of Essex County in the Blackstone Valley. In 1724 Elder Joseph Haven was dismissed from the Framingham church to form a church in the new town of Hopkinton, and in 1732 Edward Goddard ... a group of his neighbors on the Framingham-Hopkinton line to join this Hopkinton church, which accepted them without the usual letters of dismissal. The families were connected for the next century: 1760 Joseph Haven would marry, as his second wife, Edward Goddard's widowed daughter, and in the 1830s the Havens would join the Youngs in the Mormon church. Goddard and many of his neighbors later returned to the Framingham church, but in 1746, toward the end of the Great Awakening, Edward Goddard led another secession in Framingham, this time to form a Separate church on strict Calvinist principles. This church survived about thirteen years, collapsing at the end of 1759, five years after Edward Goddard's death, with many of its members recombining to form a Baptist church. (33) Just over the town line in Hopkinton, the Awakening spawned another sectarian group: the Immortalists gathered around their "God," Nat Smith, still remembers almost a century later in the Young family. The exposure of a proto-Mormon family to a band of eighteenth-century perfectionists is alone interesting enough, but beyond this simple proximity lay a history of conflict leading to a story of demonic possession. Some of this conflict involved Joseph Haven's church in Hopkinson: Ezra Stiles described an episode in which the Immortalists had walked "around Hopkinton Meetinghouse sounding with Ramshorns and denouncing its downfall, in vain." (34) But there may also have been bad feelings between the Immortalists and Edward Goddard's Framingham Separates. Nat Smith was apparently Nathaniel Smith, born in 1712 in Ipswich, the brother of a Dorothy Smith Singletary, whose husband, Ebenezer, was a member of Goddard's church. (35) Bad feelings over "sheep-stealing" may have been compounded by proximity: Edward Goddard's land, inheritied in 1754 by his son Ebenezer, lay across the town line from that of the Smiths. Potential conflict became overt when, according to Fanny Young Murray's account, "Old Nat Smith, their God," challenged Ebnezer Goddard's right to administer the estate of a widow whose property lay "somewhere on the outskirts of his domains." Goddard ignored Smith's threat; strange things soon began to occur in his household.(36) First, all of Goddard's papers that were "of any consequence to him" disappeared from a locked desk to be found at the bottom of the well, though none of them got wet. Strict Calvinists and "not much inclined to the marvelous," the Goddards "concluded to say nothing about it, and let it all go as it was impossible to account for in any rational way." Next Sybell Goddard found the milk spoiled by a silver spoon "filled with the most horrible filth." Suspicion turned on a young slave boy, and when the milk was again spoiled, he was whipped severly, kept under close surveillance, the boy nonetheless continued to disrupt the household economy, until one morning one of the girl's caps fell from his apron and - "cut chimney and disappeared". With this, Sybell Gooddard began to suspect supernatural powers at work and the boy, now forgiven, revealed that a little bird came every day and whispered in his ear, that if he did not do what it told him to, he should be killed that night. It also told him if he told anybody what made him do it, he should be killed; but said he tried to tell his master, when he whipped him so, but could not. With occult power now apparent to all, their troubles continued. Soon after, the family books were found covering the oven fire; Fanny Young Murray claimed to remember having read books scotched in this fire, "where the edge of the leaves were burned a little, and some spot burned in onto the reading." Still later, the bed clothing of infant twins came down the oven chimney to be spoiled in the fire; Sybell ran and "found her babies naked, as she expected." The family began to fear that supernatural forces "were likely to destroy everything they had. . .; there seemed to be a kind of despairing consternation upon them."(37) By this time the tribulations of the Goddard household were common knowledge. "Many went to see the wonders that were daily exhibited -- It was noised through the whole country; it was the topic of conversation in every house both public and private; but nobody could do them any good." Finally the decision was made "to try what virtue would be found in fasting and prayer." One of the preachers took the lead in prayer and exorcised the house. He could not be denied, he plead with the Lord as a man would plead for life; that he would break the power of the destroyer, that he would rebuke him, and command him to leave that house and family forever. Towards night, on the third day, when he was pouring out his soul with such fervour, and they were all united with him, in a moment there seemed to be shock through the whole house, not of distress or sorrow, but of joy and assurance that there was a God in the heavens, who can be penetrated with the cries of his children and who was not to answer the prayers of those that put their trust in him. From that hour, not a thing of the kind ever took place in their house or anywhere about them. (38) This seems to have been the residual influence of the bewitchment of the Goddards, apparently by Nathaniel Smith, the "Immortalist" God. Susannah Goddard Howe was remembered as a woman of distinct belief, convinced that spirit and matter were inseparably connected, the central tenet of the Mormon cosmology. Given the collapse of the Framingham Separate church, one wonders how much the larger Goddard clan was influenced in later years by the Immortalists, who brazenly rejected the restraints of material existence, routinely divinizing their leaders. As Fanny Young's letter indicates, the Youngs were very much aware of the Immortalists in the late 1790s just before they removed to the southern Vermont frontier. Certainly these encounters were of great significance for a family who would soon declare for the spiritual powers of the Reformed Methodists. Such belief in the power of spirit in the material world was manifest in many of the early Mormon families and in the communities through which they moved. In some instances, spirit acted in the world to bring vision, as for Parley Pratt, the Kimballs, and Joseph Smith's mother's family, the Macks, as we shall see. In other instances, as among the Goddards, spirit apparently acted to bring misfortune. Although the legal prosecution of witchcraft ended in 1692, ordinary folk throughout the eighteenth century continued to protect themselves from witchcraft with countervailing white magic. In 1746 the church in Salem Village took action against those people dabbling in white magic who had "resorted to a woman of very ill reputation, pretending to the art of divination or fortune telling." In Topsfield, belief in witchcraft persisted into the 1830s. People in Whitingham, Vermont, where the Youngs settled briefly after leaving Hopkinton, suspected a local of being a witch. The local historians of Derry and Gilsum, New Hampshire, towns where the Smiths and the Macks would live in the late eighteenth century, recorded a widespread tradition of magical practice to ward off bewitchment: placing Bibles on churns to protect butter from bewitchment, casting invalids' blood in the fire, twisting witch hazel branches, and shooting spirits with silver buttons or copper coins. These magical rituals must have had the same constituency as occult practices of faith healing by church elders, attempts to raise the dead efforts to bake breat from stones through prayer, all recorded for Gilsum. So, too the divining and treasure-hunting cults that sprang up throughout the New England hinterland between the 1780s and the 1830s would have drawn on this same consistency. (42) Besides the Goddards, many of the central families in the Mormon emergence were described as being very much attuned to the supernatural powers of witchcraft. Pomeroy Tucker described Martin Harris as believing "in dreams, ghosts, hobgoblins, 'special providences,' terrestrial visits of angels, (and) the interposition of 'devils' to afflict sinful men." According to the German Reformed minister in Fayette, writing in 1830, the Whitmer family were "gullible to the highest degree and even believe in witches." Hiram Page, another early Mormon convert, was fascinated with seer-stones and was "likewise full of superstition." The Smith family wre similarly described by Fayette Lapham, who claimed to have interviewed them in 1830. "Joseph Smith, Sr., we soon learned from his own lips, was a firm believer in witchcraft and other supernatural things, and had brought up his family in the same belief." (43) As a treasure-seer, Joseph Smith was clearly a practitioner of white magic in the mid-1820s. Dark rumors circulated in Harmony, Pennsylvania, that "he had bewitched" his beautiful bride, Emma Hale. But the event that sealed Joseph's reputation as a charismatic prophet was his miraculous exorcism of Newell Knight, who claimed to be possessed by the devil when he fell into a wild fit one evening early in 1830. Ultimately, fears of witchcraft and magical powers over spirit and matter were enshrined in the sacred Mormon texts. According to a revelation of September 1832, Mormon priests of the restored Melchizedek order were to have miraculous power analogous to white magic. They could withstand poison, make the blind see, the dumb speak, and the deaf hear; they were to "heal the sick" and to "cast out devils." Smith also condemned black magic. Witches and sorcerers were to be "cut off," to "have part in the lake of fire and brimstone," to "inherit" the third "telestial" heaven. (44) Through the eighteenth century many of the families that in the 1820s and 1830s would be drawn to the Mormon restoration lived with a powerful sense of the reciprocal relationship between the visible and invisible worlds. Long after they were abandoned by the learned and confined by folkloric ridicule and sacramental routine for much of the orthodox laity, the powers of the spirit remained an omnipresent reality for certain families. This perception of human manipulation of spirit and matter was not simply rooted in primitive magical beliefs. The Bible offered ample evidence of the evil powers of sorcerers and the healing, protective powers of godly men, and the proto-Mormon families were seen in progressively more metaphoric terms. (45) -------------- Fear of witchcraft composed one field shaping occult and spiritual belief for certain proto-Mormon families. Metallurgy composed another, opening directly onto the world of alchemy and hermeticism. In a few cases this knowledge was bound up in an alchemical revival of the 1780s. In early 1789 Dr. Aeneas Munson reported to Ezra Stiles that an alchemical transmutation had been performed in Wallingford, Connecticut, the previous December by a Dr. Ebenezer Cahoon. A few weeks later Samuel Woodruff, a Yale graduate in law practice in Wallingford, brought a sample of transmuted metal from Cahoon's experiments. Both Cahoon and Woodruff would have kin connections among the Mormons. Born in Rhode Island in 1763, Ebenezer Cahoon was the uncle of Reynolds Cahoon, who was born in New York's sectarian Hoosac Valley at Cambridge in 1790 and went on to become one of the leading Nauvoo and Utah Mormons. Samuel Woodruff, born in the Southington Parish of Farmington, Connecticut, was a distant cousin to Wilford Woodruff, who eventually served as the president and prophet of the Mormon church. (46) Similarly, Willard Richards, a Hopkinton cousin of the Youngs and Havens, would be one of a number of Thompsonion doctors among the Mormons and during the 1820s had toured New England with an "Electro-Chemistry" show. (47) These encounters stemmed from a broader renewal of the occult in the late eighteenth century, ... But the Smiths themselves encountered alchemical culture that derived from much earlier sources. Despite its very limited impact in Puritan New England, the Smiths in the century between the 1690s and the 1790s were successively situated in two kinship networks that would have exposed them to fragments of hermetic alchemy. When they moved into the orbit of the powerful Gould family after the witchcraft trials of 1692, the Smiths were building closer relationships with families that had long been involved in the ironworks established in 1668 in their neighborhood in Boxford. Built on John Gould's land under the patronage of Simon Bradstreet of Andover, husband of the alchemical poet Anne Bradstreet, these ironworks may have been an aspect of the broader Gould concern for colonial autonomy, manifested most obviously in their hostility to the Andros government; certainly they represented an effort to gain wealth through the metallurgical tradition. In any event, no member of the Towne family was involved in this ironworking project, and at least seen, and perhaps nine, of the fifteen known proprietors were members of accusing families in 1692. ... The Smiths had other connections with the ironworks. In 1694 Samuel Smith's brother Ephraim married Mary Ransdell, whose father, John, had come to Boxford in 1668 to work at the bloomery; in 1698 John Ramsdell would witness a bond in Robert Smith's probate proceedings. The connection between the two families seems to have gone back into the 1670s, because in 1673 Robert Smith and John Ramsdell had gotten up a petition with Edmund Bridges, a blacksmith, protesting the reassignment of certain families from Topsfield to Rowley for tax purposes. (49) A family of artisans, the Smiths were exposed to the language and culture of the metallurgical tradition in their connections with these iron-working families. Robert Smith had been a tailor and possibly a house framer; his son Samuel was a carpenter. Samuel's grandson Asael was a cooper, a trade he handed on to Joseph Smith Sr., who turned to well digging in his years in New York State. (50) Ironworkers of Plymouth County believed that iron ore grew in bogs, and such beliefs in the "organick" nature of metals also must have circulated among the Essex County ironworking families. So, too, the thwarted dream of wealth from the Boxford ironworks could easily have been a bitter topic of conversation in the Smith--Gould connection, and the ancient vision of the endless growth of metallic ores a continuing source of inspiration for such dreams. (51) In the decades following the Great Awakening, the Smiths would turn back to the network of the Towne family, and again there is good reason to believe that metallurgical traditions again loomed large in their familial experience. This move toward the Townes was anticipated by the Smiths' indifference to the Awakening. Whereas the Gould family, with whom they were so strongly linked through the 1740s, was powerfully influenced by the revivals, not one Smith joined the church during the Awakening in any capacity. Following the example of Robert Smith, who never joined the church, none of the Topsfield heads of household among Joseph Smith's ancestors (Samuel I, Samuel II, and Asael), ever moved beyond "halfway" membership in the Topsfield church. (52) Ultimately, this resistance to the Calvinist revivalism of the Awakening anticipated Asael Smith's turn to Universalism, which would lead to the hostility to revival churches harbored by the two Josephs in Palmyra in the 1820s. Only marginally rooted in the Puritanism of the Great Migration, by awakening the Smiths stood among the town's, "horsehead Christians," as David Hall has so precisely termed those who hung back from a total commitment to the theology of the Calvinist church. (53) After 1748 the Smith-Gould relationship continued only for the older generation;(54) the younger Smiths again began to associate with families with the Towne orbit. Two marriages between Smiths and Townes in 1760 mark the end of the feud. (55) The new Smith-Towne relationship seems to have been rooted in bonds forged in service in the provincial troops during the French and Indian War. In 1757 and 1758 Samuel III served as a corporal in a company at Lake George that included two brothers of his future bride. One of these Town brothers would be killed in action and the other severely wounded in a failed assault on Ticonderoga; he was saved from scalping only because a friend pulled a felled tree over him before joining the retreat. Corporal Samuel Smith III married the wounded man's sister Rebecca at the close of the war in 1760. The new Smith-Towne friendship may explain how Samuel's brother Asael learned the cooper's trade. Of the nine coopers in Topsfield known to have worked before Asael, eight were Townes or from families associated with the Townes. Asael turned sixteen in 1760, and an indenture with one of these craftsmen might well have been part of the sealing of a new family alliance. (56) Most importantly, their new relationship with the Townes again brought the Smiths into contact with the metallurgical tradition. Several families among the Towne connection owned and worked a mine of copper-bearing ore in south Topsfield, and here another connection with alchemy and the Renaissance occult tradition can be established The Topsfield copper-bearing lands had been discovered in the 1640s by Governor John Endicott. Endicott brought in Richard Leader, superintendent of the Saugus ironworks, to try the quantity of the ore, and Endicott may have consulted John Winthrop Jr., who had interests in Topsfield. (57) But these copper deposits were never developed in the seventeenth century, in part because of a bitter land feud between Endicott and the first Zaccheus Gould. Interest in these lots was revived in the second half of the eighteenth century. Between the 1760s and the 1790s a flurry of speculative buying and selling of copper-bearing lands and attempts to establish productive mine shafts involved an important group of people: Townes, Cummings, Porters, and Herricks. All of these families had taken Royalist positions in the post-Restoration era and, with one exception, had been on the accused side in 1692 and had stood together in the disputes of the 1730s and 1740s. Three of these families were also closely associated with the Smith family. Besides the marriages with the Townes, Thomas Porter and Henry Herrick had witnessed Samuel Smith's II will in 1767. In 1784 Thomas Porter's nephew sold the upper mine lot to his neighbor Nehemiah Herrick, a first cousin of Samuel Smith III's company commander at Lake George and a distant cousin of the Herrick who signed the will in 1767 Although they were not neighbors, the Smith had connections with these south Topsfield households who were seeking to make their fortunes in mining and metallurgy. (58) Both Asael Smith and his son Joseph, the father of Joseph the prophet, would have spent their formative years under the spell cast by these copper lands. Even if Asael had not learned coopering among the Towne-orbit households of south Topsfield in the 1760s, he would have heard something of what was described in 1771 as "a certain shaft or Mine Hole" in south Topsfield. Asael had married and moved to New Hampshire by 1772, but he brought his family back to Topsfield after his father's death. Between 1786 and 1791 he worked to pay off the debts on his father's estate, debts stemming in part from serious losses ensuing from the collapse of the Continental dollar. The 1780s were years of great turmoil and ideological transformation for a people emerging from national revolution, and the decade left a mark on personal lives and mentalities that would be felt for generations to come. Across Massachusetts the political economy of public and private debt led many to march as Regulators in Shays's Rebellion. These were also years when theological alternatives to Congregational orthodoxy began to penetrate areas previously immune to sectarian dissent, including Essex County. John Murray, an English preacher influenced by Wesley and distantly by German Pietism, served as chaplain to the Rhode Island Brigade early in the Revolution before forming New England's first Universalist church in 1779 in Gloucester, near Topsfield on Cape Anne. It seems likely that Asael Smith adopted his Universalist inclinations during the 1780s. (59) There were also growing Masonic influences in the region. During the 1770s six Masonic lodges had been formed in Essex County; Poters and Putnams were members of the United States Lodge in Danvers, and Henry Herrick, who witnessed Asael's father's will in 1767, was elected Master of Beverley's Amity Lodge in 1786. (60) Asael's son Joseph Smith Sr. was at a particularly impressionable years during these tumultuous years: born in 1771 he was between the ages of fifteen and twenty when the family was living in Topsfield. Given his later fascination with divining and employment as a well digger, one has to wonder how much he knew of the Towne's copper mine. Interest in the copper lots reached what may have approached a speculative fever: rights of ownership and use changed hands at least seven times between 1772 and 1795. The legal language of the deeds must have been repeated in local conversation and gossip: they conveyed rights to "all and Singular mines, mine ore, and other Hidden Treasures of the Earth lying in ... certain lot(s) of land." Joseph, with his son Joseph Jr., signed a mining covenant with similar language in the Susquehanna Valley thirty years later. There may well have been speculation and experiments with occult methods of divining the location of ore beds in Topsfield, perhaps with rods such as those reported in the treasure-hunting in Exeter, New Hampshire, Middletown, Vermont, and by Joseph the prophet in central New York. And following the excitement over copper lands in these years in Topsfield, copper ore was discovered in the final years of the eighteenth century in Stafford, Vermont, adjacent to the town of Tunbridge, where Asael Smith moved his family in 1791, and soon after throughout the nearby towns. Copper ore seemed to be everywhere the Smith's turned. (61) If Asael or Joseph Sr. did indeed work at the "Towne's Copper Mine," he would have been exposed to a stream of very knowledgeable visitors. Though the Townes sold the lower lot to Edmund Quincy, a furnace proprietor in Stoughtonham, in 1772, they continued to "Labor . . . in the mine" during the early years of the Revolution, and their surviving correspondence with Quincy is very revealing. In 1777 Quincy wrote to Joseph Towne that an Israel Freeman was "willing to separate the ore that is got up." Freeman was planning to visit the ine to "make Tryal of what he can do with the different parts of the Ore" and was of the opinion that the ore "that lays uppermost must be a good deal Sun burnt but that underneath will yield well." Thus the Townes and their associates operated under the assumption that metla, and specifically copper ore, grew in the earth, perhaps from seed, stimulated by the heart of the sun. They would have known the outlines of related theories of metallic transmutation, such as the thesis of the "organick" origins of hog iron, and the more complex alchemical theorgy of the separation and recombination of sulphur and mercury, summarized in Charles Morton's Compendium, rooted in the Aristotelian vision of earthly exhalations spiritual breaths, condensing progressively into more pure and perfect metallic forms. (62) An adolescent in Topsfield in 1780s, Joseph Smith Sr. would use this alchemical language of sunburnt rocks and growing metals three decades later in Palmyra. The evidence strongly suggests that the Smith family's interest in divining, treasure-hunting, and mining so evident in the 1820s had its origins in their last years in Topsfield, building on an already established predisposition toward metallurgy and the occult dating back to the seventeenth century Against this background a dramatic passage in Asael Smith's lettter from Tunbridge of 1796 takes on aded significance. Writing to Jacob Towne Jr., Asael expressed his militant Universalism in a paraphrase of the Book of Daniel that must have had powerful resonances fo those involved in the copper lands -- and with references that had once carried powerful connotations of hermetic restoration: And now I believe that the stone is now cut out of the mountain without hands, spoken of by Daniel, and his smitten the image upon his feet, by which the iron, the ... the brass, the silver and the gold-viz., all monarchical and ecclesiastical tyranny-- will be broken to pieces an become as chaff on the summer threshing floor. The wind shall carry it all away that there should be no place found for them. ------------------------------- Corrections to Joseph Smith's English Ancestry The Parentage of Robert Smith of Boxford, Massachusetts By Elaine C. Nichols* Robert Smith of Ipswich, Topsfield, and Boxford, Massachusetts, the third great grandfather and immigrant ancestor of Joseph Smith, Prophet and First President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, did not indicate in any way that he had any brothers or sisters in the new world.(1) Court records of Essex County, Massachusetts, in the trial of Richard Coy vs. Mr. William Hubbard, Sr. on 27 March 1655 show that Mr. John Whittingham brought boys with him from Boston, Lincolnshire, England, to London and from there to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1638 to be indentured servants. Robert Smith testified as one of those boys about the length of their indenture.(2) He later deposed in the Essex County, Massachusetts, Court at Ipswich on 29 March 1659 that he was thirty-three years of age and had lived with Simon Tutle's mother about eight or nine years before.(3) John Whittingham in his will probated in Essex County, Massachusetts, in 1649, identifies himself as of Ipswich and mentions property he owns in Southerton (Sutterton) near Boston in Lincolnshire.(4) These two pieces of information, which are all that are known from American sources about Robert Smith's background, have led descendants to believe he was born about 1626 somewhere in the vicinity of Sutterton or Boston, Lincolnshire, England. Parishes immediately surrounding Sutterton are Kirton, Algarkirk, Surfleet, Gosberton, Donnington, and Wigtoft. Within five miles are several more parishes - including Boston where Robert sailed with Mr. Whittingham. The parish registers of these places were not readily available for many years, however, so research did not proceed until the end of World War II when filming of parish registers in England by the Genealogical Society of Utah was begun in earnest. The parish registers of Lincolnshire were filmed after receiving permission from the Bishop of Lincoln and the permission of the individual ministers. Research by the Genealogical Society of Utah commenced in order to find a likely christening for Robert Smith. A Robert Smith, christened 30 April 1626, son of Robert Smith, was found at Kirton, which neighbors Sutterton on the north. Another Robert Smith has been found in the vicinity of Boston. He was christened in Boston itself on 19 March 1626, the son of Simon Smith. However, this Robert was buried a week later on 27 March 1626.(5) Further research in the Kirton registers by the Genealogical Society revealed what were thought to be the christenings of the immigrant's grandfather and great-grandfather. A report of this was made by Archibald F. Bennett, then secretary of the Genealogical Society of Utah, on p. 268 of the April 1950 issue of The Improvement Era, an LDS church magazine: Robert Smith, first American ancestor on this patriarchal line, came in 1638, as a boy apprentice of twelve, and stands today at the head of a very numerous posterity. It is now possible to print, for the first time his date and place of christening. He was baptized in the parish church of Kirton, Lincolnshire, England, 30 April 1626, the son of another Robert Smith. This earlier Robert was christened there 4 March 1595. His father in turn was Edward, christened at Kirton, 30 September 1571. Research continues on this family, aided now by microfilm copies of parish registers. (6) A thorough study of the Kirton parish register, however, throws some doubt on this assertion. Genealogical research here suffers from the same problems found in most English parish registers of the time. Mothers' names rarely appear in the early christening records, so children are listed as the offspring of but one parent- the father. Children of men named Robert Smith recorded in the Kirton parish register (which begins in 1561) appear in groups- that is, there are two in 1603 and 1604, there are fourteen between 1620 and 1637, and six between 1656 and 1676. Since Robert the Immigrant was born about 1626 according to his testimony, it is the group between 1620 and 1637 that is of most interest. Reading both christening and burials, the following children of a father named Robert Smith are found: Ann chr. 9 Jan 1619/20 John chr. 16 Jun 1622 Thomas chr. 30 May 1624; bur. 12 Nov 1635 William chr. 30 Jan 1625/6; bur. 29 Jan 1625/6 Robert chr. 30 Apr 1626 William chr. 30 Sep 1627 Susan chr. 11 May 1628; bur. 3 Oct 1629 Katherine chr. 15 Nov 1629; bur. 25 Nov 1629 John chr. 26 Jun 1631; bur. 12 Nov 1638 as "son of Robert Smith ye elder" Samuel chr. 17 Feb 1632/33; bur 18 Jul 1636, son of Robert, Sr. Robert chr. 20 Jul 1634 Thomas chr. 8 Feb 1634/5 as son of "Robert ju"; bur. 29 Nov 1635 Elizabeth chr. 10 Nov 1636 daughter of Robert and Martha Susan chr. 30 Jul 1637; bur. 28 Aug 1637 daughter of Robert and Margaret It becomes immediately evident there are at least two parental Robert Smiths, for Elizabeth, daughter of Robert and Martha was christened in November 1636 and Susan, daughter of Robert and Margaret, was christened just eight months later in July of 1637, the last child in this group. How many children belong to each Robert? Which ones might be brothers and sisters of Robert born in 1626? Which paternal Robert is the one born in 1595? What of the marriages of Robert Smiths in Kirton? Are they not helpful? There are three in the early 1600s. Robert Smith and Fraunces Stone were married 29 July 1602. Fraunces was buried 20 May 1608. They appear to be the parents of the children christened in 1603 and 1604. There is not another marriage of Robert Smith until a man of that name married Grace Watson 1 June 1624. Burials show that Grace Smith, wife of Robert, was buried 21 February 1625/26. The next marriage is that of Robert Smith and Margaret Gilpin on 8 November 1626. Now three wives- Grace, Margaret, and Martha- are known who could be mothers of children born 1620-1637. Grace was probably not Robert the Immigrant's mother as she died before he was christened- unless she died in childbirth with Robert and he was christened about a month later. Certainly Margaret was not the mother of the immigrant, since she was not married until after Robert's birth. This leaves Martha as the most likely mother. There is, however, no marriage of a Robert Smith to Martha in this or surrounding parishes. Burials in Kirton show the burials of three Robert Smiths: Robert Smith, householder, buried 6 Oct 1626 Robert Smith the younger, householder, buried 11 Nov 1638 Robert Smith, householder buried 20 Oct 1643 It is apparent that there are three Robert Smiths who could be fathers of the 1620-1637 group of children, and yet there is only one christening of a Robert Smith in Kirton 1561-1620. Robert, the son of Edward christened in 1595. Can it be said with any certainty that the father of Robert the Immigrant was that Robert? It cannot, so this author believes that the claim of Robert, son of Edward, cannot be accepted, nor can any claims of who might be siblings of Robert, for insufficient information is found in the parish registers. Every Smith will in the diocese of Lincoln for the time period has been read,(8) but not one shed any light on these families. Perhaps other records will be found at some future date, but for now, the parentage of Robert Smith of Boxford goes no further than his father Robert and possible mother Martha. NOTES AND REFERENCES * 2121 Kensington Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84108. Mrs. Nichols holds a BS in elementary education from the University of Utah. She has served as secretary and Vice-President of the Professional Chapter of the Utah Genealogical Association. She is the author of Descendants of Joseph F. Smith 1838-1918 (Provo: J. Grand Stevenson, 1976); "Myles of Sutton, Suffolk" NEHGR 138 (1984): 39; "Elizabeth, Wife of William Stickney of Rowley, Mass.," NEHGR 139 (1985): 319; "Pioneers to Utah over Seventy Years Old, 1847-1869," Genealogical Journal 18 (1990): 53, "Family Group Record Fraud," Genealogical Journal 19 (1991): 71. Mrs. Nichols is Chairman of the Genealogical Committee of the Asael Smith Family Organization. 1. Editor's Note: Robert Smith has been previously treated in print in four other places: --Ethel Stanwood Bolton, "Robert Smith of Boxford" New England Historic Genealogical Register 55 (July 1901): 267-271. --Walter Goodwin Davis, The Ancestry of Lieut. Amos Towne 1737-1793 of Arundel (Kennebunkport), Maine (1927, reprinted, Decorah, Iowa: The Anundsen Publishing Co., 1987), 25-27. --Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale (Independence, Mo.: Herald Publishing House, 1929), 51-54. --John B. Threlfall, "Robert Smith of Ipswich and Boxford," Genealogical Journal 8 (December 1979): 201-209. --Bolton and Threlfall did not discuss his English origins, Anderson stated that he was born about 1626 in Toppesfield, Essex, England, citing "Massachusetts Genealogies, Cutter 1:111" - a source that cannot be traced. The three biographical/genealogical compendiums published by William R. Cutter that might be the intended reference (Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Massachusetts, and New England) contain no information regarding Robert Smith in the cited volume and page. --Early Salt Lake Temple Records show Robert Smith as the son of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with three siblings: William, Lucy, and Jemima, all of Topsfield, Massachusetts. The Family Group Record Archives makes the immigrant Robert Smith the son of Robert and Margaret Smith, christened at. Sutterton, England on 6 August 1626 with older siblings Edward, chr. 2 Feb 1616 at Frampton, Robert, chr. 22 Aug 1619 at Frampton and buried 30 Aug 1627 at Frampton, and Margaret, christened 1623 at Sutterton. Reference to the register of Sutterton on FHL microfilm 094065 shows no christening for Robert on 6 August 1626 - to the contrary, there is a christening of Joshua, son of Robert Smith on 14 May 1626. The most recent edition of the Ancestral File [18 December 1991] shows Robert and Margaret Smith of Kirton, Frampton, and Sutterton, Lincolnshire with children Edward, Robert (1619-1627), Margaret, all born in England, and children William, Lucy, and Jemima all of Topsfield, Massachusetts. The Robert christened in 1626 has been deleted. The problems with this Smith family will be treated by Mrs. Nichols in an article to be published in a future issue of the Genealogical Journal. In the current Ancestral File, the ancestry of Robert Smith the immigrant is carried no further his presumed father, Robert Smith, without attempting to identify his mother. --The identification of the christening at Kirton as that of the immigrant Robert Smith is not being called into question by Mrs. Nichols (through see footnote 5 below) - the purpose of this article is to demonstrate the care with which one must reconstruct families with common surnames when the parish registers do not give sufficient identifying information about the parents. 2. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts Volume I 1636-1656 (Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1911), 381. 3. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts Volume II 1656-1662 (Salem, Mass.: The Essex Institute, 1911), 141. 4. The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts Volume I 1635-1664 (1916, rept. Decorah, Iowa: The Anundsen Publish Co., 1988), 103-105. 5. Editor's Note: This Robert Smith had been previously noted by Walter Goodwin Davis in The Ancestry of Lieut. Amos Towne, p. 25. Davis' assessment of the problem is worth quoting here: "An examination of the parish register of Boston discloses a Robert Smith baptized in 1626, but the burial records show that he died within a year. Experience in attempted identifications of English emigrants to America teaches that it is always unwise to leap at conclusions unsupported by very strong evidence, and this is particularly the case with a surname as common as Smith." The 1988 CD-ROM version of the International Genealogical Index lists seven Robert Smiths christened in Lincolnshire in 1625 or 1626, all of which were entered from controlled extraction, including the christening at Kirton. Interestingly, the new March 1992 microfiche version of the IGI adds no new Robert Smiths from controlled extraction. Of the six christenings besides that at Kirton, only one took place within ten miles of Sutterton, that of Robert, son of William Smyth, on 3 September 1626 at Pinchbeck, a few miles to the southwest. There is no burial for this Robert up to 1640 in the Pinchbeck registers [FHL #1542015]. The christening at Kirton still seems more likely due to its situation between Sutterton and Boston. in addition, a strict interpretation of Robert's age of 33 on 29 March 1659 would preclude a birthday in September 1626. Nevertheless, Davis' admonition should be kept in mind if evidence ever comes to light that the Kirton christening is not of the immigrant. 6. Archibald F. Bennett, "Born of Goodly Parents," The Improvement Era 53 (April 1950): 268-269. 7. These and other extracts from Kirton are taken from the parish registers [FHL #094062], as compared with the bishops transcripts [FHL#504265]. 8. Research conducted by the Genealogical Committee of the Asael Smith Family The Old Smith homestead - In 1638, Robert Smith, an apprentice about 12 years old, arrived at Topsfield, Mass., from England. He later became the father of a son, Samuel. Following Robert Smith's death in 1693, his son moved to a farm home on the site seen here. His son, Samuel II, lived here, as well. Samuel II was the father of Asael. Asael and his wife, Mary Duty, were the parents of a son, Joseph Smith Sr., father of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Asael and his family including Joseph Sr., eventually left Topsfield, and Joseph Sr. ended up in Tunbridge, VT., where he met his wife, Lucy Mack, mother of the Prophet. The original home no longer stands, but a facsimile of the home can be seen on a plaque attached to a monument on the property. The monument was erected by the Topsfield Historical Society and the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation in 2004. (By Kenneth Mays Mormon Times 27 May 2010.) University of Utah Library - Special BX 8643. C68 B76 1994 General BX 8643.C68 B76 In this Turley database- From 102597, 102839, 102600, 59471 - pp 4, 48-49, 52-80, 84-85 Radical Origins - A Prepared People pg. 65-85- With this opening perspective established, this chapter explored Mormon origins in New England from the 1630s to 1800 in some detail, examining specifically the experiences of the Mack and Smith families in the 1830s. Topsfield, in Essex County, Massachusetts; and Lyme and East Haddam, in the New London region of Connecticut. (The German Macks beginning first in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and later evolving through Connecticut and Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, finally settling in New York State.) We have "discovered no full articulation of Mormon restoration and hermetic divinization, but the experiences of these families in their communities tell us much about the intellectual and social preconditions for the framing of Mormon doctrine of the families of Joseph Smith." Robert Smith arrived in Boston in 1638, just months after Anne Hutchinson's banishment to Rhode Island. Only twelve years old, Robert had had no mature encounter with Laudian persecution or English Puritanism. Without a family other than a brother, who soon disappeared, his early exposure to Puritanism in New England came through the filter of either indentured servitude or an apprenticeship. After working as a tailor in Boston for some years, he married Mary French of Ipswich in the mid-1650s and established himself in Boxford in 1661. Mary was a member of the Topfield church by 1684, but Robert Smith never joined the church. By 1693, when he had his will drawn up as he lay dying, Robert Smith enjoyed circumstances, leaving three hundred acres to three of his sons. His son Samuel, Joseph Smith's great-great-grandfather, would move to neighboring Topsfield in 1693, where the family would remain for almost a century, before emigrating during the revolutionary years to New Hampshire and Vermont, and after the Gold Summer of 1816 to Palmyra in the Burned-over District of central New York. (26) pg 66- Two episodes dramatically set off the story of the Smiths in Essex County. In the Spring of 1692, at the height of the Salem witchcraft trials, Samuel Smith testified to the occult powers of his aunt by marriage, Mary Easty, one of the three daughters of William Towne of Topsfield who were accused of witchcraft in 1692. A century later, in 1796, Samuel's grandson Asael Smith wrote a warm and friendly letter from Tunbridge, Vermont to Jacob Towne Jr. in Topsfield, a great-great-great-nephew of Mary Easty, thanking him "with joy and gratitutude" for a recent letter and sending his regards to Jacob's parents.(27) A long saga of community turmoil and reconciliation stood between these two events. The Smiths and the Townes had been on very intimate terms during the 1680s. Though the Smiths lived in Boxford, miles from the Townes in South Topsfield, all three marriages among Robert Smith's children in the 1680s were with members of the Towne family. (28) But these cordial relations were shattered in 1692 when Samuel Smith of Boxford appeared at his brother-in-laws .... One night five years previously Smith had been rude in discourse," probably at the wedding supper for his sister Amy, and Mary Easty's house had warned him he "might Rue it hereafter." Riding past a stone wall later that night he had "Received a little blow to my shoulder which I know not what and the stone wall rattled very much but I cannot give the reason of it." Margaret Redington testified that during an illness three years earlier Goody Easty had vanished into thin air after offering her a piece of meat "not fete for the doges." On this evidence and that relating to the afflicted, several of them - Putnams, Mary Towne Easty was hanged on September 22, 1692. (29) Page 186 Samuel Smith's testimony against Mary Easty, a striking violation of the family relationship established in the marriages of three of his sisters, was clearly a dramatic turning point in the relations between Smiths and Townes. With the exception of one marriage in 1732, after which the couple removed to Kennebunkport, Maine, there would be no significant associations between the Smiths and the Townes for seventy years. Abandoning the Towne family with this accusation, the Smiths moved decisively into the orbit of the Gould family, the largest landholders in the town of Topsfield and cousins of the Putnams of Salem Village, who led the accusations against the Townes in 1692. In August 16
- [S993] Robert Smythe [Robert Smith, Sr] in the www.findmypast.com original record for Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire Baptisms.
- [S994] Robert Smith, Jr birth and baptism in the www.findmypast.com, the original copy.
- [S998] Robert Smith Jr emigration from England to the US in the www.ancestry.com.
- [S996] Robert Smith Jr emigration in the www.ancestry.com.
- [S997] Essex County, Massachusetts Depositions, 1645-1686.
- [S999] Robert Smith in the U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700.
- [S995] Robert Smith Jr in the Find A Grave.
- [S1000] Kristen Cannon, Robert Smith Ancestry by Kristen Cannon 3 Jan 2022.
- [S989] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index(R), downloaded 16 Sep 2009 (Reliability: 3).
- [S989] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index(R), citing microfilm 456297, downloaded 16 Sep 2009 (Reliability: 3).
- [S989] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index(R), downloaded 27 Dec 2009 (Reliability: 3).
- [S989] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index(R), citing microfilm 1395834 for batch 8421302, sheet 47, downloaded 27 Dec 2009 (Reliability: 3).