2nd Lt. Samuel Elmore Smith Sr.
& Martha "Mollie" Rice


Smith family - from Virginia to South Carolina

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 some of them (our branch) moved to North Carolina., and finally stopped in what was known as the Georgetown District in SC.

Georgetown District (first a part of Craven County/District) was later divided into several counties, among them Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Dillon Counties - along the eastern edge of the state of South Carolina. Horry County is in the eastern corner of the state - sometimes referred to as looking like a piece of pie. Dillon County borders on North Carolina while Georgetown County borders the Atlantic Ocean. Horry County borders both the Atlantic Ocean and North Carolina. Marion County is sandwiched between Dillon and Horry Counties with a lower "sliver" (a kind of peninsula) wedged between the southwestern border of Horry County and the northern tip of Georgetown County. For a better history of the area, check out the web page For information on various counties, old districts, and history of South Carolina, check out the South Carolina GenWeb or SC GenWeb at . It's an excellent website that's here to stay and regularly updated - a good reference for background history, and information on early South Carolina families.

The movements among the "Marion Smith's" have been basically around Dillon and Marion Counties with Mullins, Buck Swamp, and Smithboro as the focal points.

Methodism in the Colonies

John and Charles Wesley made their trip to Georgia to preach to the prisoners, the Indians, etc. in the late 1730's and left after a couple of years. The first large group of Methodist lay circuit riders didn't come over to the Colonies until the 1760's, but there were some traveling through sections of the Colonies before then, and some were probably recruited among the colonists as the individual felt the call to preach and joined the ranks of circuit riders. Most of the circuit riders left the Colonies when the Revolutionary War broke out. Francis Asbury was one of the few to remain. Circuit riders weren't ordained until after the Revolutionary War. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, the above wording (interpretation) of part of the history of Methodism in America is mine - not my teachers or the official history from the denomination. For a more complete history (or more details), check the following two (of the many) websites or search for more possibilities using the words "Methodist history".

The Smith's in the Marion and Dillon areas have been faithful members of the Methodist Church from the early days of Methodism in the American Colonies, according to family stories.

2nd Lieutenant Samuel Elmore Smith Sr. and Martha "Mollie" Rice

Samuel Elmore Smith Sr., son of John Smith IV and Mary Johns, was born on Tuesday, May 1, 1753 in the Prince Frederick Parish, Winyah, Georgetown District, South Carolina. Samuel Elmore Smith Sr. was baptized, along with two (2) of his older sisters (probably Celia and Sarah), on Monday, May 21, 1753 when the circuit rider (Methodist lay preacher) came through the area. It is permissible for anyone to perform a baptism in an emergency situation. In the colonies with no ordained ministers around, the lay circuit riders were the likely ones to baptize individuals and families as they rode their circuit - preaching, baptizing, and teaching as they went.

Samuel Elmore Smith Sr. fought in the American Revolution, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant. Samuel died on Saturday, April 1, 1843 in Marion District, SC.

Martha "Mollie" Rice, parents unknown, was born in 1757 in South Carolina. She died on Monday, April 9, 1832.

The family of Samuel Elmore Smith Sr. and Mollie Rice

Samuel Elmore & Mollie Smith were married on Sunday, June 7, 1772 in St. David's Parish, SC. They had three (3) children:

  1. Samuel Elmore Smith Jr. (1786-1857)
  2. Elizabeth "Betsy" Smith (abt 1790 - ? )
  3. Frances Smith (1794-1843)

Samuel Elmore & Mollie Smith and the American Revolution

Assuming that the dates of Samuel Elmore Smith and Mollie Rice are more or less accurate, he was 19 years old and she was 15 years old when they married. Their marriage vows were said on the brink of the American Revolution. Assuming that the dates are more or less accurate, they didn't have their first child (Samuel Elmore Smith Jr.) until May of 1786 - not quite fourteen (14) years later.

If we make the same assumption of relative accuracy, there are various possibilities about their marriage. Possibly with the imminence of war "in their own backyard", they wanted to get married as a way to commit their lives to each other in marriage before he left to fight alongside the other patriots. It is possible that he was not able to come back home until the war was near a close. Assuming that he was able to visit his "new" wife on rare occasions, it is possible that they may have decided to use some simpler form of birth control to avoid having a baby during wartime. It would have been difficult, at best, to go through pregnancy and caring for a baby as a "single" parent with a major war happening all around you - though people often had the extended family of the husband and/or wife to help. Or it is possible that with the stresses and anxiety of life in a "war zone" that they "accidentally" didn't have a child until the war was coming to a close. Or the length of time between their marriage date and the birth of their first child could be for another reason. OR the dates could be vastly wrong! But, as I have said elsewhere on this website, it's interesting to hypothesize about what life might have been like for our ancestors. Just remember that it's totally hypothetical.

Regardless of how it happened - if the dates are reasonably accurate - we should be very thankful that 2nd Lt. Samuel Elmore Smith and Mollie Rice Smith survived the American Revolution. Otherwise, the Smith families of Marion County who count this couple as direct ancestors would not BE.