An American Family History

Turner 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.

Turner Smith was born August 15, 1777 in North Carolina. He was the son of John C. Smith.

He married Mary A. Ruble on January 22, 1809 in Jonesborough, Washington, Tennessee. Martha was the daughter of John Edward Ruble and Martha McGruder.

Turner and Mary's children probably included:

David Smith (1810, married Cynthia Edwards and Sarah White Darnell),
Delila Smith (abt 1812, married John Humphreys),
Mahala Smith (abt 1813),
Louisa Smith (abt 1815, married William Trogdon),
William H. Smith (1817, married Mary Ann Mauck),
Rebecca Smith (1819),
Rachel Smith (1819, married Alfred F. Brown)
Mary Ann Smith (abt 1825),
John R. Smith (abt 1825), and
Margaret C. Smith (abt 1830, married William Emerson Head).

Turner wrote his will on October 13, 1860.

Wife, Mary.
Granddaughter, Martha Ellen Humphreys.
Grandson, Roswell Smith.
At my wife’s death sell property for cash.
Children: David, Delila, Louisa Tragdon, Rachel Brown, Mary Ann, John, Margaret Head. Executors: son, John Smith, son-in-law Alfred Brown.
Wit.: G.W. Telford, Alexander Miller.

Turner died on May 25, 1862 in Jonesborough, Washington, Tennessee.

North Carolina was one of the thirteen original Colonies. It was first settled by small farmers and grew quickly in the mid 18th century.


In 1607 the London Company established Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.

from "Reminiscences of an Old Timer" by Captain Ross Smith, privately printed, 1930:

I was born at Jonesboro, Tennessee, June 10, 1846, the oldest of four children: two sisters and a younger brother.

My great-grandparents emigrated to East Tennessee, then the State of North Carolina, about the year 1780. On my father’s side, John C. Smith settled on the headwaters of Little Limestone, just east of Jonesboro. He held two land grants: one, 1783; the other, 1784, from the State of North Carolina. These grants are now in the Lawson McGhee Library at Knoxville, Tenn.

John C. Smith had two sons, John and Turner; two daughters, Sarah and Martha. Martha married a Snodgrass. Sarah married Joshua Babb.

In 1809, Turner married Mary Ruble, whose parents came from Virginia and brought with them on an old walnut chest made in Ireland in 1788. The Rubles were of Scotch-Irish descent, and I am inclined to think the Smiths were the same stock.

My father, W. H. Smith, a son of Turner Smith, lost his left hand in a premature blast near his home. This incapacitated him from hard labor. He afterwards went to school for several terms, and later ran for and was elected County Court Clerk in 1844, a position he held up to his death, in August, 1854.

On January 17, 1845, he married to Mary Ann Mauk by W. H. Russell, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. On my mother’s side her grandparents were German and came from Pennsylvania in 1779, and settled fourteen miles southwest of Jonesboro on Nola Chucky River. Their name was Mauk.

My grandfather, Samuel Mauk, married Sarah Broyles. They had four boys and four girls.


from Washington County, Tennessee Deed Book 32

This indenture made and entered into on this 11th day of January AD 1851 between

  • Alexander McGinty and Elizabeth McGinty his wife formerly Elizabeth Ruble of the County of McMinn and state of Tennessee
  • John W. Ruble of the County of Greene and state aforesaid,
  • Turner Smith and Mary Smith his wife formerly Mary Ruble
  • Henry E. Ruble and
  • Absolem Scott (who holds by purchase from Andrew Brummit and Catherine Brumitt his wife formerly Catherine Ruble) of the County of Washington and state aforesaid,

being five of the heirs at law of Martha Ruble decd, late of the county of Washington and State aforesaid of the one part,

and John Saylor of the County and State last above mentioned of the other part:

Witnesseth, that the said ... heirs as aforesaid for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars... convey and confirm unto him the said John Saylor his heirs and assigns all of our undivided interest in the farm of the said Martha Ruble decd

lying and being in the County of Washington and State of Tennessee being the land whereon the said Martha Ruble decd at the time of her death and adjoining the lands of James M. Carr Richard Y. Carr and others and

bounded as follows,

  • Beginning at a white oak (near a planted rock) the beginning corner of the original tract, thence north sixty five west about ninety eight poles to a stake, by the side of the road leading from Burks to Martsells,
  • next to James M. Carrs fence and at or near the mouth of the lane of the road leading from Jos Leonards to Jonesborough,
  • thence with the said road leading to Jonesborough as it now runs and with James M. Carrs fence the line as the fence now stands, nearly a north course, about thirty one poles to a stake between a black oak stump and said Carrs fence and in the mouth of a lane leading off of said tract about one and one half acres (supposed) to James M. Carr
  • thence west two hundred and seventy seven poles to a stake in a line of the original tract, thence north forty nine and one half poles, to a chestnut, a corner of the original tract, thene east three hundred and fifty poles to three white oak saplings a corner of the original tract, thence south ten east one hundred and twenty four poles to the beginning,

containing one hundred and thirty four acres more or less, our undivided interest in said tract being five eighths of the said one hundred and thirty four acres, to have and to hold the same unto him the said John Saylor his heirs and assigns forever.

... In witness whereof we as the heirs of the said Martha Ruble decd have here unto set our hands and seals this day and date above written. ...
Alexander McGinty
Elizabeth McGinty
Wm F. Keith
P H Keith
John W. Ruble
William Snodgrass
Turner Smith
John S Snodgrass
Mary Smith
G W Willett as to H E Ruble
Henry E. Ruble
Absolom Scott

Watauga Pioneer Neighbors

Destructive Rain Storm at Jonesboro
Damage to the Railroad.
From the Jonesboro Union, July 16., 1859
Yesterday afternoon, about two o'clock. a tremendous rain fell in the east of Jonesboro, and in the place, and in a few minutes a perfect flood of water poured into the town from the valleys by Crouch's meadows, and down the channel of Little Limestone from Turner Smith's.

The waters united near Siemmon's tan-yard, soon overspread the property in the vicinity, -and rushing down through town, seemed for a time-to threaten great destruction to property. It rose into the buildings on main street in the vicinity of Green's Brick Hotel, Judge Lucky's dwelling, Mr. Gammon's office, Mr. Mason's store room, and Reece's shop, were soon flooded, and the high water mark is indicated this morning by the damp line, left on tho wall some eighteen inches above the floor.

The water came up nearly mid-way to Mr. Gamnion s safe in his office The front doors were opened, and from Judge Lucky's, Mr. Gammon's and others front doors as high up on main street as Mr. Crouch's, a flood as high and strong as the waste water from the tail of a mill-wheel, poured forth with great violence.

Dr. Kenney's stables were flooded, and several horses with difficulty escaped by swimming through the stable-yard. Planks, small buildings, hencoops, timbers, hogs and jigs, in one promiscuous fleet started down stream, and pressing down fencing, and other obstructions, seemed as though, determined to sweep off the part of town next the channel of the creek.

The cellars were filled even up as high as Dosser's storehouse. Kitchens were flooded. We have heard that a young man, anxious to know, the damage done to the culinary department where he boarded, examined the kitchen and found the cook in water up to the chin, trying to settle the cooking stove which was floating about upon the waters! (We think, however, that this story is exaggerated.)

The damage has not been very considerable, yet it has been such as to make the loss exceedingly annoying. A few hogs were drowned. Mr. Dosser's brick yard, we regret to learn, was much injured. The flood, sweeping down below town, carried with it Qtn. Jackson's and Mr. Gutherie'a hay, which damming up the sluice of the railroad near Mrs. Kennedy's, turned the waters across the track, and moved about one hundred yards of the track some five to fifteen feet out of line. The injury delayed the up train a couple of hours, but an energetic force, under Messr?. Miller and Leib, section masters, soon put the track straight, and the trains passed over safely, and made their connections.

Although this flood has been without precedent to our knowledge, the "oldest inhabitant" scarcely can recollect any thing to equal it. The flooded cellars and gardens, and deposit of mud, slime, and decayed vegetable matter, may cause portions of our town to become sickly, during the hot summer months, and we advise our citizens to take the necessary precautions against such probability.



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
An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.