An American Family History

Elizebeth (Bettie) Smith Deck

The American folk hero, David "Davy" Crockett (1786 – 1836), grew up in East Tennessee.

In the Civil War (1861 to 1865) eleven Southern states seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America.

Washington County, Virginia was formed from Fincastle County in 1777. It originally contained Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Elizebeth (Bettie) Smith Deck was born June 21, 1812 in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Her parents were John Smith and Catharine Humphreys.

She married Simon Deck about 1845. Simon was born in August, 1810 in Washington County, Virginia. His parents were Michael Deck and Mary Houser.

He had been married twice before. His first wife was Miss Booher.

His second wife was Regina (Rainy) Shrite. Regina was born on January 26, 1805 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. Her parents were Henry Shrite and Mary Ann Thomas.

Regina and Simon had two children;
Mary Deck Loudy (1836-1884, married George Washington Loudy) and
Martha Deck Cole (1837, married James Allen Cole).

Regina died on March 18, 1837.

Simon and Elizabeth had one daughter, Nancy Ann Deck, who was born in 1846.

In 1849, her brother, Josiah Smith, named his oldest child, Elizabeth.

At the time of the 1850 census the household was living in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The household consisted of Simon Deck age 40 who was born in Virginia, Elizabeth age 38 , Mary age 14, Martha age 13, Nancy age 4, Catharine age 63 who was born in Virginia, and John Massengill age 6.

In 1860 the household was still in Sullivan County. The household consisted of Simon age 50, Elizabeth age 47, Nancy A. age 14, Catharine Smith age 73, and John D. Massengill age 16. By 1870 the household was just Simon, Elizabeth and Catharine.

During the Civil War, Simon was part of Captain Park's Company of Local Defense Troops, Captain Sowell's Detachment, Infantry, Captain Spencer's Company, Infantry, the Sullivan County Reserves, Captain Tackitt's Company, Infantry.

Nancy Ann Deck died in 1868 when she was only 21.

In 1870 and 1880, the household consisted of Simon, Elizabeth and Elizabeth's mother, Catherine. They lived in Blountville.

Simon died on December 10 1890 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. They were both buried in the Smith-Cross cemetery. The graves are not marked.

Deery Inn
The Deery Inn
Blountville, Tennessee
Children of John Smith
and Catherine Humphries
  • MaryAnn Smith
  • George Washington Smith
  • Elizabeth (Bettie) Smith Deck
  • John Humphreys Smith
  • King Henry Smith
  • Polly Eliza Smith Webb
  • Prince David Smith.
  • Nancy Ann Cross Smith Massengill
  • Samuel Rhea Smith
  • Josiah Smith
  • William Hart Smith
  • Smith-Cross Cemetery is located near Piney Flats on private property at Boone Lake, Tennessee


    During the Civil war many citizens of East Tennessee opposed secession, but the area was under Confederate control from 1861 to 1863. Some citizens engaged in guerrilla warfare against state authorities and joined the Union army, while others were loyal to the confederacy. It was a heartbreaking case of neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother.

    East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.


    Watauga Pioneer Neighbors



    Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

    from The Massengills, Massengales and Variants, 1472-1931 by Samuel Evans Massengill, M.D. The King Printing Company, Bristol, Tennessee, 1931.

    Elizebeth Smith m. Simon Deck. One daughter Nancy Ann, who died unmarried.

    p. 888 The Home of Simon Deck and Catherine Smith
    This home was located two miles south of Bloutville and its chief interest is its having been the boyhood home of S. E. Massengill's father Dr. John David Masengill. During S. E. Massengill's boyhood it was a double house and James A. Cole, son-in-law of Simon Deck lived in one of the houses...

    Simon Deck was a farmer in good circumstances who was born in 1810. The Census of 1850 give his children as follows: Mary 14 years; Martha 13 years; Nancy, 4 years. Mary and Martha were children by his second wife, a Shrite. James Allen Cole married Martha Deck and George Washington Loudy married Mary Deck.

    Simon Deck married first a Booher (no children), second, a Shrite (see preceding), and third, Polly Elizabeth ("Aunt Betty") Smith, by whom he had one child, Nancy, who died young...

    When my brother, N. H. Masengill, and myself were small and would visit Aunt Betty Deck, her parting favor would always be a large slice of light-bread, well buttered, and then covered with brown sugar.

    The writer is indebted to James A. Cole, deceased, who married a daughter of Simon Deck for passing on to him a number of relics, old papers, and some traditions of the Smith family. James A. Cole was a man universally liked, was a justice of the peace in the eighth civil district of Sullivan County for many years, and died while serving as circuit court clerk of the county.

    Learn more about Piney Flats.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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