Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Allen line: Richard Smith 1595-166, Immigrant

I'd like to be more confident in what I'm writing about Richard Smith.  As you can see, it's a common name and even in a small town the size of Wethersfield, Connecticut there may have been as many as three Richard Smiths there during the lifetime of our ancestor.  Mostly I'll be writing about the more likely and unlikely possibilities, instead of being more definite about the facts that I usually find. 

Richard Smith was probably born about 1595.  He may have been the son of John Smith and Alice Walker, but others have disputed this and I certainly don't have anything more to add to the story.  He did marry Rebecca Buswell, daughter of Roger and Margaret Buswell on February 13, 1615 in Husbands Bosworth, Leicester, England.  It is a small village now and may have been even smaller when the couple were married.  The church dates from the 1500's so one could presumably visit there if desired, and see the actual location.  

It's been suggested that Richard came to Connecticut as early as 1635, but that is based on the idea that he was the son of John and Alice mentioned above.  It seems to me to be just speculation until his parentage is firmly established.  At aany rate, it appears that all of their six known children were born in Husbands Bosworth, with Abigail being born in 1638,  So sometime after that time, the family arrived at Wethersfield, which is on the Connecticut River, and is now just south of Hartford. (At the time, probably several miles separated the two towns, with travel back and forth being done by ship). 

Wethersfield was the scene of three witch trials while the Smiths lived there, which indicates that the town had problems and also that the town in general was a Puritan town.  We know that Richard was on jury duty in 1650, when he was at least 55 years old and some have guessed he was actually 72 or 73 at this time.  He was involved in some sort of law suit in 1652, and there are records for land he sold or gave to family members.   He died about 1669,still in Wethersfield.

That is as much as is known about Richard Smith, husband of Rebecca Buswell.  We can hope that he had a trade, or skill as a farmer, or something that supported the family, but we don't know what that was.  There apparently was no will, as he gave his assets to family members, particularly all his remaining real estate to his youngest son Jonathan  Rebecca is thought to have preceded him in death by about two years.

As is so often true, there's much more work to be done to identify Richard Smith and to tell his story.  We don't know when he came to America, or why, or what he did after he arrived here.  We don't know the extent of his religious commitment, or even whether or not he could read.

 Oh, one cool note...We do know that both Richard and his wife were treated by John Winthrop, Jr, the governor of Connecticut.  His brief Wikipedia article doesn't describe any medical degree or training, so that leaves me a little confused.  I'll keep looking for an explanation for that!

The line of descent is:

Richard Smith-Rebecca Buswell
Susanna Smith-Simon Hoyt
Benjamin Hoyt-Hannah Weed
Hannah Hoyt-Daniel Scofield
Hannah Scofield-Nathaniel Finch
Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas Knott
John W Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants