SMITH FAMILY STORIES
Samuel Elmore Smith (Jr.) & Kesiah Lane
& Sarah Elizabeth "Sallie" Hayes
Smith Family in Marion County, SC
The Smith family has been in Marion County, SC at least since the mid-1700's. They, like many early settlers, landed in Virginia. From there they moved to North Carolina., and finally stopped in Marion County, SC - settling in an area now known as Buck Swamp.
For at least as far back as the early 1800's, the Smith's have been faithful members of the Methodist church with circuit riders and ministers in the family from that time to the present. The earliest minister in the Smith family that we know about was John L. Smith, son of Samuel Elmore Jr. & Kesiah Lane.
Samuel Elmore Smith Jr. and Kesiah (or Keziah) Lane
Samuel Elmore Smith Jr., the son of 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Elmore Smith Sr. and Martha "Mollie" Rice, was born on Friday, May 12, 1786 in Marion County, SC. He was called "Samuel Jr." until his father died. Then he was called "Samuel Sr." (which is on his tombstone). His father was sometimes called "2nd Lt. Samuel" to tell the difference between the two. Samuel Jr. died either Monday, October 19th or Thursday, November 19th in the year1857 in Marion County, SC, and is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery at Smithsboro.
Kesiah Lane, the daughter of Osborne Lane and Hepsabeth Crawford, was born in 1783 in Marion County, SC - one of ten (10) children. She died in 1813
The family of Samuel Elmore Smith Jr. and Kesiah Lane (his 1st marriage)
Samuel Elmore Smith and Kesiah Lane were married on in 1812 in Marion County, SC. They had the following children:
- The Rev. John L. Smith (1811-1879)
- Stephen Smith (1813-1888)
- Memories of Samuel Elmore Smith Jr.
Samuel Elmore Smith Jr. has been described in family stories (and in W.W. Sellers' History of Marion County, published in 1902) as a prosperous farmer who believed in raising everything they ate - except maybe sugar and coffee. He was tight with his money, and worked hard to improve his family's way of life.
The Rev. John L. Smith
John L. Smith was born on Wednesday, June 19, 1811 in Marion County, SC. He married Rachel Henry Wannamaker (parents unknown) about 1835, and they had eight (8) children.
Rachel Henry Wannamaker was born Tuesday, September 15, 1818.
Rachel Wannamaker Smith died on Monday, January 8, 1866, and John L. Smith died on Tuesday, August 5, 1879.
John L. Smith was a Methodist circuit rider (preacher). In those days, circuit riders were given a large district to cover as their minister/preacher. They spent most of their time riding horseback from one community to the next to spread the Gospel. Traditionally they were to carry only a change of clothes, their Bible, and a copy of the "Methodist Discipline" with them. They did their reading and studying on horseback between communities Sometimes it took a few months before a circuit rider got back to a particular church on his circuit. Hence the Methodist "tradition" of having communion (the Eucharist) four times a year (once a quarter). Methodists in those days were (by John Wesley's instructions) to participate in communion at least once a week, every day if possible. However since the Eucharist could not be celebrated without an ordained minister (the circuit rider) to administer/celebrate the Eucharist as the celebrant, it was scheduled whenever their preacher was "in town" - usually once a quarter.
In the early days of American Methodism (which officially began during the time of the Revolutionary War), according to the instructions of John Wesley and Francis Asbury, Methodist ministers (the circuit riders) were to move (be reappointed) at least once every six months. They felt that if a minister stayed too long in one place, he might become too popular or too accustomed to remaining where he were - or he might get married and not want to move. Obviously, no woman in her right mind would want to marry someone who traveled all of the time and would be reappointed to a different circuit at least once every six months.
Besides the hardship of traveling all of the time, circuit riders had to contend with bad weather, occasional Indian attacks, and sometimes angry people who disagreed with them. When circuit riders met together once a year for their conference, it was (and still is) officially begun with a worship service with the opening hymn being "And Are We Yet Alive". In those days, it meant much more as they gathered to find out who had survived the past year.
If a circuit rider wanted to get married or wanted to leave the appointment system, he could apply to change his status to "honorable location" in which he retained his credentials, but was no longer in an appointment. He had to find some other source of income.
It is therefore surprising that The Rev. John L. Smith managed to marry and have eight children, and still be a circuit rider. Perhaps he was on honorable location and preached on the side - an acceptable alternative. Perhaps he had a small circuit. Perhaps Rachel was very understanding about his traveling to preach while she "held down the fort" at home.
(The above version of American Methodist history is mine, compliments of my training as a United Methodist minister in my days of youth. Any and all embellishments of this history are mine - not my teachers. However, the basics of its beginnings in colonial America are true.)
Stephen Smith was born on Thursday, July 8th, 1813 in Marion County, SC. He died on Sunday, November 25, 1888 in Mullins, SC and was buried in Millers Methodist Church Cemetery, Marion County, SC. He married Mary Ann "Polly" Huggins, the daughter of John C. Huggins Sr. and Nancy Ann Campbell, and had twelve (12) children.
Mary Ann "Polly" Huggins was born on Thursday, March 25, 1813 at a place called Huggins Bridge in Marion County, SC. She died on Wednesday, March 9, 1881.
Samuel Smith's Second Marriage
After Polly's death, Samuel Smith married Sarah Elizabeth "Sallie" Hayes, daughter of Benjamin Hayes - although there is some question as to which Benjamin Hayes was her father. Samuel and Sallie had two (2) children.
Sallie was born on Wednesday, February 13, 1793 in Marion County, and died on Sunday, February 13, 1876, a little over 18 years after her husband's death.