Ezekiel W. Smith, Sr.   (ca 1808-1849)   
of Tennessee and Missouri



Smith was not one of the surnames I looked forward to researching. My mother's maiden name is Smith but you might think I should be able to determine three or four generations on family knowledge alone. In my case this was not true. I have the information on my mother's parents Arthur Clinton Smith and Rhoda Ellen Cryder. "Clint" Smith died in 1929 so I never knew him but I did know my grandmother Rhoda. Unfortunately like so many, I wasn't interested in family history when Rhoda was still alive. I did know that Arthur Clinton Smith's father was Ezekiel Smith. The family had much more information on the wife of Ezekiel Smith, Mary Emilia Brower. Researching the Brower line led my family to Potter Valley, Mendocino Co., California where we, by accident, found our first Ezekiel Smith clue. A visit to the Potter Valley Cemetery revealed a tombstone for Ezekiel W. Smith (1849-1906). This Ezekiel was my great grandfather, proved later through probate, census and vital records. His death certificate [19] showed his date of birth and place of birth as Missouri. Alas, parents' names were "unknown". I knew I had a real research task ahead of me so for several years I did nothing further. Finally, I decided to start looking at all the Smiths in the 1850 Missouri census looking for a family with a one year old son named Ezekiel. I looked at hundreds of families and finally gave up. This was a huge undertaking that didn't pan out.

Back to my visit to the Potter Valley Cemetery. Another tombstone was for a Sarah Smith, wife of E. W. Smith born November 16 1809 and died July 24 1874. At the time I had no idea who she was so pretty much ignored her. When I later began to pay attention to her, she was the right age to by my Ezekiel's mother and I knew her husband's name was E. W. Smith. This led me back to the 1850 Missouri census to look at any Ezekiel Smith, E. W., E. and any given name that started with an E. Nothing.

A couple of years went by and then I resurrected all the Smith research and decided to rethink what I had done hoping to come up with a fresh idea. I was using my husband as a sounding board for ideas. He suggested I look in the 1850 Missouri census for Sarah Smith in case her husband, E. W. was deceased. I scoffed at this as unlikely so my husband said he would check it out. You guessed it. The first Sarah Smith listing was in Andrew Co. There she was with ten children at home, the youngest being Ezekiel age 1. Further research in Andrew Co. records revealed her husband to be Ezekiel W. Smith and he was the sheriff for Andrew Co. for several years. [5] He died in 1849 before his youngest son was born. This was the big break I needed. I owe my husband a huge debt of gratitude and I will always listen to his suggestions.

The first permanent settlers of Tennessee came to the Watauga Valley about 1768 following all of the glowing reports by hunters of the richness of the land. These settlers were from North Carolina and Virginia. Tennessee is divided into three natural regions: east, middle and west. East Tennessee is an area between the peaks of the Unaka Mountains and the center of the Cumberland Plateau. Middle Tennessee is the area between the center of the Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee River. Western Tennessee is the area between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River. In 1777 Washington County, North Carolina was established to provide government jurisdiction over the Watauga settlement. The boundaries included all of what is the present Tennessee. In 1784 North Carolina ceded Tennessee to the federal government and in 1796 Tennessee became a state.

By 1790 East Tennessee had counties: Washington, Sullivan, Greene and Hawkins. Middle Tennessee had Davidson, Sumner and Tennessee. Davidson County is the current focus for the Ezekiel Smith research. Davidson was formed in 1787 and in 1803 Rutherford County was formed from Davidson. Bedford County was formed in 1807 from Rutherford County.

Ezekiel W. Smith, Sr. was born in Tennessee 28 Nov. 1806. [37] I am about 98% certain that Ezekiel's parents are Vinson or Vincent Smith (1778-1857) and Anna Dolin or Dolan (1775-?). No probate file exists for Vinson Smith as three early Bedford County, Tennessee courthouses were destroyed by fires and a tornado. Vinson and Anna Smith had probable eleven children:

  1. Mary S. Smith born 6 Oct 1797 married Richard Ferrell
  2. Thomas Smith [34] born 6 Oct 1797 married Mary Manning
  3. John Payton Smith born 5 Dec 1799 married 1) Elizabeth Crittenden; 2) Ellen Henderson
  4. Hiram Smith [35] born 5 Dec 1799 married 1) Elizabeth Morrow; 2) Margaret Coffman; 3) Rebecca Stoner
  5. Edward Smith [36] born 1802 married Mary Ann Stokes
  6. Ezekiel W. Smith born ca 1804 married Sarah Walker ca 1826
  7. Nathan Smith born ca 1807
  8. Susanna Smith born 22 June 1811 married Nehemiah Myers Suggs [35] [36]
  9. Martha Elizabeth Smith no further information
  10. George Smith no further information
  11. Jasper Smith no further information

Children 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 are from the Bedford County Tennessee Family History Book [30]

Children 2 and 7 are from Ancestry One World Tree [34]

Child 4 - see child 6

Child 6 - Ezekiel is my line and I have proof that Ezekiel had a brother John Payton Smith [37] child 3 and a brother Hiram [32] child 4 which leads to the conclusion that Ezekiel and Hiram are children of Vinson and Anna Smith.

Also, Ezekiel W. Smith, Sr. has sons named John Payton Smith, Hiram Walker Smith and William Jasper Smith. Adds additional support to the above conclusion.

John Payton Smith's first son is named William Vinson Smith after his two grandfathers. One more link.

Ezekiel's wife Sarah's maiden name of Walker was found on the death certificate of their daughter Martha Jane (Smith) Neil [15]. There is a Bedford County, Tennesse deed [29] between David Chamberlain and Phoebe Chamberlain, his wife, of the county of Bedford...one part and Ezekiel Smith of Bedford County...of the other part. That Ezekiel Smith...certain tract of land containing 10 acres...county of Bedford on the waters of Thompson's Creek of the Duck River in the sixth range of the fifth section it being a part of an undivided tract of land belonging to the heirs of James Walker, deceased containing 100 acres...(Ezekiel's wife Sarah Walker is very probably a sister of Phoebe and daughter of James Walker).

Ezekiel and Sarah's marriage ca 1826 has not been located but is based on the birth of their oldest known child.

Ezekiel W. Smith had a brother John Payton Smith born 5 December 1799 in Virginia or Kentucky. John Payton Smith married Elizabeth Crittendon (1800-1839) about 1818 in Bedford Co., TN.

John Payton Smith worked for the U.S. government and was at one time a County judge. He and his family moved to Clinton Co., Missouri in 1828 and were in Clay Co., Missouri at the time of the 1830 federal census. He was back in Clinton Co., Missouri in 1833 and in 1834 he and his family moved to Kickapoo, Kansas. The family was in Platte Co., Missouri until 1837. John Payton married 2) Elon Henderson 22 November 1840 in Buchanan Co., Missouri. [1] They died Platte Co., Missouri.

They had nine children.

  1. William Vinson (1819-1892) married Jane Lockhart Holt (1820-?) 7 Feb 1839.
  2. James Cowell/Coldwell (1821-1900) married Harriet Melcina Boone (1824-1898)
  3. Sarah Ann (1823-?) married Dennis Chance (1814-?) 10 February 1838
  4. Mary Ann (1825-?) married John M. Jones 27 July 1842
  5. Jane Catherine (1828-?) married Green W. Webster (1822-1874) 26 February 1844
  6. Hiram Shelby (1830-1874)
  7. Lucretia Webster (1833-1920) married Samuel Thomas Kennedy (1830-1909) 14 July 1850
  8. Gustavius Pierpont (1836-1911) married Mary Ann B. Riley (1843-?) 11 November 1858
  9. America Elizabeth (1838-1907) married John Cox White (1822-1891) 2 October 1853

Ezekiel had another brother Hiram Smith who was born about 1800-1810. He married Margaret Coffman (?-abt 1840) 14 February 1832 in Clay Co., Missouri. Hiram was in Jefferson Twp., Buchanan Co., Missouri on the 1840 federal census. He journeyed to California in 1846 with others from Buchanan County and Andrew County, Missouri. Hiram returned to Andrew Co., Missouri in 1851 and in September 1852 died on the way back to California. His place of burial is unknown. Hiram married 2) Elizabeth Morrow (abt 1815-?) about 1837-38 and 3) Rebecca Stoner 1 August 1845. [3] They divorced after Hiram deserted her. Hiram's first wife Margaret died about 1838-9 in Missouri. Hiram had one child Hiram, Jr. (ca 1843-?) by Rebecca Stoner.[4]

Hiram and Margaret had three children.

  1. Ann (1833-1877) married 1)William Scott 6 June 1847 in California and 2)Alexander McDonald (1814-1880) 7 April 1850 in Sonoma Co., California [4]
  2. Artemsia E. (ca1835-?) married Thomas H. Pyatt 2 December 1851 in California
  3. James M. (ca1834-?)

Hiram and his second wife Elizabeth Morrow had two children.

  1. Eliza (1840-1870) married Tennessee Carter Bishop (1831-1888) 2 May 1855 in California
  2. John P. (ca1842-?)

It is very likely that Ezekiel had other siblings.

Ezekiel and Sarah, along with three children, left Tennessee for Missouri about 1832. In December 1833 they were in Buchanan County, Missouri. In 1838 they settled 1/2 mile south of Savannah, then Buchanan County and now Andrew County, Missouri. Andrew County was formally organized in January of 1841. In March 1841 Ezekiel was appointed sheriff of Andrew County. [5] Ezekiel died (allegedly of cholera) 28 May 1849 in Andrew County. He is buried in the Savannah (city) Cemetery in Andrew County, Missouri.

Ezekiel's wife Sarah remained in Andrew County with her ten children until about April 1857 when she is believed to have left St. Joseph, Missouri by wagon train for California traveling with other family members and friends. They were on the trail for 192 days arriving in California in October 1857. [6] Who really knows what prompted Sarah to go to California. Ezekiel had left her quite well off. She had seven slaves as shown on the 1850 Andrew County MO slave schedule. [2] Her brother-in-law Hiram Smith had been to California and may have influenced her decision. She may have also wanted to travel with several of her married children who were headed to California. By June 1858 Sarah and her family were in Sonoma County, California. [7] Sarah died 24 July 1874 at Pomo, Mendocino County, California and is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery, Potter Valley, Mendocino, California.

Ezekiel and Sarah had eleven children.

  1. John Payton was born 27 August 1827 (shown on his tombstone-DO I WANT PHOTO HERE OR ?) in Tennessee. He married Phoebe Ann Barns (1829-1877) 3 March 1852 in Andrew County, Missouri [3] John supposedly married a Nancy Christopher (1839-1898) about 1877-1880. John married Rebecca Farley Rucker (1831-1923) 13 August 1900 in Mendocino Co., California [8] John and Phoebe had six children: Jasper (1854-?); Eveline (1859-1862); James Albert (1860-1935) married Emma Neil in Mendocino Co.; Rosella (1863-?); Robert Lee (1868-?); and Alta B. (1870-?) married F. Covington. John Payton Smith died 23 February 1911 in Potter Valley, Mendocino Co., California and is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery. Phoebe Smith died 28 January 1877 in Potter Valley and is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery [16] Rebecca Smith died in 1923 in Potter Valley and is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery [16] Nancy Smith died 12 November 1898 in Mendocino Co. ,California and is buried in Potter Valley Cemetery [16]
  2. Hiram Walker was born in 1829 in Tennessee. He married Mary Ann Mc Call (1832-?) 26 July 1851 in Andrew County, Missouri [3] They had four children: John W. (1853-?), Hiram Jasper (1854-?), James L. (1856-?) and Lewis H. (1859-?) married Luella Cummings [9] Hiram and Mary Ann's death dates and place of death have not been located but both died sometime after the 1880 federal census when they were in Healdsburg, Sonoma, California [28]
  3. Elizabeth M. K. was born 23 February 1831 in Tennessee. source? She married John Wallace Shoemaker (1828-?) 16 December 1852 in Andrew County, Missouri [3] Elizabeth and John had five children: Sarah E. (1857-?); Martha Eveline (1859-1946) married John Washington Lake in 1877; Alice (1862-?); Mary (1864-?); and Joseph L. (1867-?). Elizabeth died 6 February 1868 in College City, Colusa, California and is buried in the College City Cemetery [10] John's death date and place have not been located.
  4. William Jasper was born in December 1832 in Buchanan County, Missouri. [11] He married Eliza Ann ? probably about 1857 in either Missouri or California. They had eight children: Alexander (1858-?), Charles (1858-?), Nora J. (1860-1867), Nancy Maud (1863/4-?), Laura Lee (1865-?), Walter (1871-?), Albert (1878-?) and Alford (1878-?). William Jasper probably died 29 March 1918 in Sonoma County, California (This is being investigated) His burial place has not been located. His wife's death date and place have also not been located.
  5. Susan Evelinewas born 7 January 1835 in Savannah, Buchanan, Missouri. [6] She married Joseph Prosper Sherer (1835-1914) 3 July 1855 in Andrew County, Missouri. [3] They had ten children: James Hamilton (1856-1916) married Maria Gillenwater (1859-1941) 16 September 1883 [12] ; John Dillon (1858-1927) married Sarah Ann Day (1862-1933) [12] ; Catherine (1860-1913) married John R. Craig 20 October 1878 in Spring Valley, Colusa Co., California [13]; William Ezekiel (1863-1946) married Agnes Gillenwater (1869-1904) 27 November 1887 in Sycamore, Colusa Co., California [12]; Samuel F. (1865-1927) married Sallie Brown (1870-?) 30 August 1888 in Colusa, Colusa Co., California [13]; Minnie (1868-1940) married Cay Nelson Marders (1857-1935) 29 January 1891 in Colusa Co., California [13]; Mattie (1871-?) married Edward Smith [12]; Edward Francis (1875-1929) married Gertrude Mary Davis (1882-1955) 20 November 1901 in Sycamore, Colusa Co., California [13]; Eva/Eveline (1877-?) married Theodore N. Tucker 31 January 1897 in Colusa Co., California [13]; Altah L. (1879-?) married ? Rankin. Susan Smith Sherer died 17 August 1900 in College City, Colusa, California and is buried in the College City Cemetery. Joseph Sherer died 5 June 1914 in College City and is also buried in the College City Cemetery. [10]
  6. Mahala C. was born in 1837 in Buchanan Co., Missouri and died in April 1850 in Andrew Co., Missouri [14]
  7. James Benton was born in 1840 in Buchanan County, Missouri. No further information on James.
  8. Susan C. was born 1841 or 1842 in Andrew County, Missouri. She married James Madison Neil (1832-?) in 1857 or 1858 in California. They had five children: Ezekiel (1858-?), Elizabeth N. (1859-?), Thomas H. (1861-?), Mary (1863-?) and Vera (1865-?). No further information on this family after 1870.
  9. Martha Jane was born 4 January 1844 in Andrew County, Missouri [15] She married Samuel Neil (1833-1911) 20 September 1861 in Potter Valley, Mendocino, California [8] They had seven children: James H. (1863-?); Sarah J. (1865-?); William H. (1867-?); Martha E. "Mary" (1869-1948) married ? Carpenter, date unknown [17] ; Charles B. (1872-1929) married Lydia C. Phelps (1872-1923) [18]; Sonoma (1878-1952) married L. C. Tolane [17] and Lena B. (1881-?). Martha Jane died 24 April 1918 in San Rafael, Marin, California and was buried 25 April 1918 in Potter Valley Cemetery, Potter Valley, Mendocino, California. [15] Samuel died 21 May 1911 in Mendocino County, California and is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery. [16]
  10. Eleanor was born 26 September 1846 in Andrew County, Missouri. She died 2 May 1863 in Mendocino County, California and is buried in Potter Valley Cemetery, Potter Valley, Mendocino, California [16]
  11. Ezekiel William was born 14 April 1849 in Andrew County, Missouri. [19] He married Mary Emelia Brower 13 August 1876 in Mendocino County, California [8] Mary Emelia Brower was born 7 November 1861 in Alameda, Alameda, California, the daughter of John Daniel Brower, Sr. of Potter Valley, Mendocino, California [22] They had five children: Harry Daniel (1878-1952) married Mabelle Hopkins (1881-1971) 3 November 1901 at Ukiah, Mendocino Co., California SOURCE; Clara Mae (1880-1906) married Horace E. Paxton 7 March 1901 in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii [25]; Arthur Clinton "Clint" (1883-1929) married Rhoda Ellen Cryder (1886-1972) 19 July 1908 at Twin Falls, Twin Falls Co., Idaho [27]; John Henry (1888-1917) married Imogene Davis 10 April 1915 at Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho [26] and Lola Frances (1891-1893). Ezekiel divorced Mary Emelia 11 December 1900 [21] She deserted him and went to Hawaii about July 1899 taking the children with her. Ezekiel married 2) Emma L. Camfield (1868-1939) 11 June 1904 at Hullville, Lake Co., California [8] Ezekiel died 14 August 1906 in Lakeport, Lake, California of Bright's disease [19] and [20] He is buried in the Potter Valley Cemetery, Potter Valley, Mendocino, California. [16] Mary Emelia Brower Smith married 2) Frank L. Osborne (1873-1944) 28 April 1905 in Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho [23] Mary Emelia died 30 March 1936 in Potter Valley, Mendocino, California [22] and is buried in the Russian River Cemetery, Ukiah, Mendocino, California [24]


Federal Census records for Ezekiel Smith and Sarah Walker Smith

  1. 1830 probable that Ezekiel and his family are enumerated with Vinson Smith in Bedford County, Tennessee
  2. 1840 Jefferson Twp., Buchanan, Missouri - roll M704-220, p. 151
  3. 1850 Nodaway Twp., Andrew, Missouri - roll M432-391, p. 36
  4. 1860 Petaluma, Sonoma, California - roll M653-69, p. 565
  5. 1870 still searching - should be California



1 World Family Tree, Volume 5, ed. 1, tree #3343
2 1850 Nodaway Twp., Andrew Co., MO slave schedule; Dist. 2, p. 212
3 Andrew Co., Missouri marriage records
4 Carolyn Norlyn
5 History of Andrew Co., Missouri, part II, p. 103
6 Dolan Family History: copy provided by Walt Dolan
7 Sonoma Co., California court proceedings
8 Mendocino Co., California marriage records
9 California death certificate of son Hiram W. Smith
10 College City Cemetery, Colusa Co., California list of internments
11 1900 Petaluma Twp., Sonoma Co., California federal census; ed 165, sheet 15, line 83
12 Sherer family information provided by Carol Sherer and/or Gerry Wright
13 Colusa Co., California marriage records
14 1850 Andrew Co., Missouri mortality schedule-Seattle Public Library R929.3778 EL59MO
15 California death certificate # 18 013565
16 Potter Valley Cemetery, Mendocino Co., California plot layouts
17 California Death Index
18 From Acorns to Oaks-A Potter Valley History - 1855-1985 by Delight Corbett Shelton
19 California death certificate # 6 018666 (shows birth date)
20 Obituary of Ezekiel W. Smith
21 Mendocino Co., California Superior Court-divorce proceedings
22 California death certificate 36 018067 (shows birth date & parents)
23 Lincoln Co., Idaho marriage records
24 Russian River Cemetery, Ukiah, Mendocino Co., California records
25 Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii marriage records
26 U.S. Army veterans file
27 Twin Falls, Twin Falls Co., Idaho marriage records
28 1880 Healdsburg, Sonoma Co., CA federal census, ed. 128, p. 8
29 Bedford County Tennessee deed Book BB, p. 268-9
30 "Bedford County Tennessee Family History Book" - submission of Margaret Smith Hudson; p. 441
31 From David Streets and the "History of San Joaquin, California" p. 348
32 From Carolyn Norlyn and from a deposition in the probate file of Ezekiel W. Smith, Sr., that refers to Hiram as a brother of Ezekiel
33 Information on Susanna aka Louanny Smith and her husband Nehemiah Suggs from Mary Ann Wright Armstrong and Elizabeth Sain, both descendants from this line
34 From Ancestry One World Tree submissions of Reuben Derrall Morgan and Darrel LeMar Wakley
35 From Carolyn Norlyn
36 From Margaret Smith Hudson
37 Savannah, Andrew, MO cemetery tombstone shows death date to be 28 May 1849, age at death 42 years and 6 months.

Last Update: April 2005
Barbara Leimback || home.earthlink.net/~bleimback/