An American Family History

King Henry Smith

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.

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

Greene County, Tennessee developed from the Nolichucky settlement. It was formed in 1783 from part of the original Washington County, North Carolina.

King Henry (Henry King) Smith was born November 17, 1815 (tombstone says November 29th) in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee. His parents were John Smith and Catharine Humphreys. His name is probably in honor of the King family from Sullivan County.

He married Sarah Hunt on August 26, 1841 in Greene County, Tennessee. The marriage was performed by Reuben Bayless, minister of the Cherokee Baptist Church.

Sarah was born in February, 1823 in Tennessee. Her parents were Samuel Hunt and Sarah Crouch.

Henry and Sarah's children included:
Mary C. Smith (1842, married George Henry Toby),
Nancy A. Emily Smith (1844, married William H. Huffman),
Martha Ellen Smith (1847-1881, married Thomas Jefferson Humphreys, son of William Leslie Humphreys),
Edna M. Smith (1849, married John C. Doty),
John Thomas Smith (1852, married Mary Ann Doty),
William W. Smith ( 1855),
Samuel R. Smith (1857),
James BenjaminSmith (1861, married Sarah Jane Gass), and
and Hannah Smith (1862).

Sarah SmithJames B. Smith

Sarah and James B. Smith

At the time of the 1850 census, Henry was in Greene County, Tennessee. The household consisted of Henry age 35, Sarah age 29, Mary C. age 8, Nancy A. age 6, Martha age 4 and Edna 11 months.

In 1860 the family was in Rheatown (named for John Rhea), Greene County, Tennessee. The household consisted of Henry age 45, Sarah age 37, Mary C. age 18, Nancy A. age 15, Martha C. age 13, Edna E. age 11, John L. age 9, Wm. W. age 6, and Saml R age 2.

According to Dr. Samuel Massengill, Henry was on the Union side during the Civil War.

On account of his being for the Federals in the Civil War the other members of the family did not associate much with him.

However, there was King H. Smith in 61st Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Pitts') (81st Infantry). He was in Company G. He served for one year and 8 months.

In 1870 they were still in Rheatown. The household consisted of Henry R. age 55, Sarah age 4, Edey age 20, John F. age 18, William age 15, Samuel R. age 12, James B. age 9, and Hannah age 7. There was also a 26 year old black farm laborer.

At the time of the 1880 census, the family was in District 20 of Greene County, Tennessee. The household consisted of Henry Smith age 65, Sarah Smith age 57, Marah Smith age 19, Sam Smith age 23, and John Smith age 18.

Henry died May 15, 1887 and was buried with his wife and several of his children at Mt. Zion United Brethren Church Cemetery in Greene County, Tennessee.

In 1900, Sarah was a widow and living with her son James B. , his wife Sarah Gass Smith and their large family in Greene County.

Of their 10 children, only 3 were living in 1900 and James B. died in 1900.

James B. John T. King Henry

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
  • 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.

    Learn more about Piney Flats.

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




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

    King Henry Smith located in Greene County, Tenn., and m. a Pitts (sic). On account of his being for the Federals in the Civil War the other members of the family did not associate much with him.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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