An American Family History

Josiah Smith and Sarah Pitts

Bill Smith's Notes

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.

Sarah Pitts

Josiah's (Jr.) parents were Josiah (senior) and Sarah (Pitts) Smith, married at Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee, October 15, either 1843 or 1846. Josiah, senior was born in Tennessee about 1928. Sarah was born either in Virginia or at Blountville, Tennessee on April 30 either 1826, 1828 or later. Josiah was at Blountville in 1848. 

In 1850, Josiah and Sarah were living in Miegs County, post office, Decatur, Tennessee. They were still living in Meigs County where Josiah (junior) was born about 1858-60 in 1860. After the Civil War in 1870, they were living in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa. 

Josiah (senior) died Sept. 16, 1880 at Darby, Iowa. Sarah died August 8, 1911 at Russell, Iowa. A photo of Sarah and her obituary are attached. The spot on her face is a photo defect I believe. The signature at the bottom of the page is that appearing in the plot book of Salem Cemetery, (near Russell, Lucas County, Iowa) for plot 50. I believe plot 50 to be that of Josiah senior and Sarah Smith and that they are buried there. I believe that the signature on plot 50 is that of Josiah Smith, Jr. because it does not compare well with the signature of Josiah Sr. in the Mexican and Civil War records. There is an uncertainty about this because of a mysterious gravestone on plot 50. If anyone knows what the signature of Josiah Jr. looks like from a letter or other example, tell me.

Meigs County is located in East Tennessee and was formed from Rhea County in 1836. In 1819 the legislature took over part of the Cherokee Nation which was on the south east bank of the Tennessee River and this is the land that became Meigs County.

The Wind in the Willow
Table of Contents
Josiah and Sarah (Pitts) Smith
John Newton and Sarah Jane (Ricketts) Fox
Josiah and Eliza (Fox) Smith 
Mary Grace Smith White
John Elmer Smith
Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey
Harry William Smith
Ethel Edith Smith Taylor
Bryan Sewell Smith
Augusta Lena Smith Larson
Andrew Jack Smith
Twyla Mae Smith White
From Jack Smith's Letter

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

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

His name was Josiah (the same as my dad [Bryan Smith] (sic]) but was called "Si" and her name was Mary. She lived to 91 and was buried in what was called the New York cemetery about 12 miles Southeast of Chariton, Iowa. I don't know where he was buried, but he lived to his 70s. When my sister Ethel [Taylor] (76 now) was with me two years ago, she could remember Dad's brothers and sisters fairly well. I never saw most of them. [I] will list them, not for sure as to their ages. 

1.  Woody: the oldest married some gal named Sadie and they had at least four kids, Si, Lizzie, Minnie and Carrie

2.  Jane: Married a guy named Andy Frank. Know of no kids

3.  Nan: married a guy named Charlie Wilson and they had about 8 kids. One of them was also named Charlie.

4. Dave: married a gal named Nan and they had 5 kids. Jess, Willy, Ernest, Ina and Mamie. This family moved to Texas about 1907 or 1908

5.  Josiah or Joe: My dad, married Eliza Fox, nine kids

6. John: almost enough said. He was the guy who got his thumb cut off by a steam boat while walking(?) across the ocean.

7. Will: died of TB when about 19

8. Ellen:  married a guy named Woodman who was killed in a mine accident on Col. 2 boys Clarence and Charles. She afterwards married a guy named George Dixon. Both Clarence and Charles were living in the Oceola area as late as 1930. Both were farmers.

9. Katherine-no kids that I heard of. Married a Hoops.


10. Ida:  married a brother of the above named Charlie Hoops: 1 girl (all of this family now dead)

11. George:  married a gal named Arnold: a boy and girl, Walter and Eva

George Smith

12.  Carrie: Married a guy named Downard;  some kids, but I don't know anything of them. 


13.  Elmer: I can't remember much of the fellow in the genealogy, nor could Ethel remember much of him except that he was one of the older ones and she thought he died young.

Children of Josiah Smith, Sr.
and Sarah Pitts
  • Elizabeth Jane Smith Frank
  • Allison Woodrow Smith
  • Nancy Ann Smith Wilson
  • Mary Ellen Smith Widaman Dixon
  • David Henry Smith
  • Josiah Allen Smith
  • John Smith
  • George Washington Smith
  • William Smith
  • Ida Belle Smith Hoops
  • Sarah Catherine Smith Hoops
  • Charles Elmer Smith
  • Cora Edna Smith Downard
  • 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.

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.

    From Maryon White's Memories of her Uncle Elmer

    . . . John Smith [son of Josiah and Sarah] was a real character.  Appearing and disappearing at unpredictable intervals, not always (maybe not ever) welcomed by Eliza. He was a real wind-jammer!  One of the stories I recall about him had to do with a missing part of his anatomy-a finger, thumb, or maybe entire hand. Anyway, when people asked what happened, he told them he was swimming across the Atlantic Ocean and a steamboat ran over him. It seems highly likely to me that he might have been the one who challenged the soldier (Union or Reb?) who took their hog while foraging for food.  Can't you just see a sassy little kid saying "My pap won't like that." Twyla once said she thought her brother Harry might have been a bit like Uncle John-a real rebel and a problem to everyone. 



    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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