An American Family History

Henry and Mary Smith

Sullivan County, Tennessee

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

Henry Smith and Mary Smith married before 1786.

Mary was NOT Mary Polly Honaker. She married another Heinrich Smith.

They eventually settled in Sullivan County, Tennessee and either came directly from Germany or through Pennsylvania. There were quite a few Smiths in Sullivan County in the 18th and early 19th century. The links between them is not clear.

They had at least four children. John Smith was born on October 18, 1786. George Smith was born in 1787. Mary (Polly) Smith Malone was born in 1789. Magdalene Smith Cox was born in 1790.

Henry Smith appeared in the 1797 tax list of Sullivan County.

The family farm was on Evans Creek on the south side of the Holston River. They bought the land from Elizabeth Barber on November. 18, 1798. This land contained 1,000 acres and was part of the 640 acre tract which the State of Tennessee granted to the heirs of Benjamin Cobb.

Henry Smith appeared in the 1812 tax list of Sullivan County.

Henry made his will on December 20, 1822.

In 1830 Mary was living with her daughter, Magdalene Cox.

Henry and Mary were buried at Smith-Cross Cemetery in Sullivan County,

Sullivan County is in far northeast corner of Tennessee between North Carolina and Virginia and was originally part of those states. It was formed in 1779 when it was divided from Washington County.

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser


Watauga Pioneer Neighbors
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.

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

No effort is made to connect any of the many Smith families except that of the immediate family of Nancy Smith, mother of the author's father, Dr. John D. Massengill. Henry Smith was a farmer and carpenter, but most of the family were farmers. They were uniformly good and law-abiding citizens. ..

He [James Cole] gave the information that Henry Smith, the head of our Smith family was German that he came to Holston country from Pennsylvania, but that he thought in his earlier life he had come direct from Germany. He continued to use the German name Heinrich Schmidt, at least a part of the time after he came to the Holston section.

Among the relics spoken of one is a conch shell used as a door stop in his house which he brought to the interior with him. The other relics are a small Bible of his son John Smith, S. E. Massengill's great-grandfather, and the powder horn carried by the same John Smith at the battle of Horse Shoe Bend during the Creek Indian War.

The Smiths, the same as most people of that period, were farmers. David Smith, a son of John Smith and a grandson of Henry Smith owned a farm adjoining the Evans farm on Evans' branch, and was noted as always having the best tended cornfields in that section.

Henry Smith bought land along the south side of Holston River, in what is now, no doubt, the eighth civil district of Sullivan County, from Elizebeth Barber, Nov. 18, 1798. This land contained 1000 acres and was part of the 640 acre tract which the State of Tennessee granted to the heirs of Benjamin Cobb. As his will was made in 1820 it is likely that he was a man past middle age when his first land transaction in this section was made in 1798. His will was made Dec. 22, 1820, and his property was given to his wife Mary, sons John and George, and daughters Mary Malone and Magdaline Cox.

John Adams, Jr. (1735-1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–1797).

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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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