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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 746   View pdf image (33K)
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SM1 BIOGRAPHIES

corner of Gay and Water Streets, until death; also
maintained a residence in Baltimore County, by
1783 until death. FAMILY BACKGROUND. FATHER:
Samuel Smith (1693-1784), who immigrated to
Pennsylvania with his wife and children in 1728
and to Baltimore Town in 1759, a merchant and
member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, 1737-
1738. MOTHER: Sidney Gamble (?-1759). SIS-
TERS: Sydney, who married John Montgomery,
Esq., of Pennsylvania; Esther (?-by 1810), who
married in 1750 William Buchanan (1732-1804);
and (first name unknown), who married James
Roddy. MARRIED in 1750 Mary (1729-1782),
daughter of Robert Buchanan (1696-1748), who
immigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1720,
and Janet (Jane) Boyd (?-1799). Her brothers
were James (1731-1751); William Buchanan (1732-
1804). Her sisters were Elizabeth (1733-1784),
who married in 1752 William Smith (1728-1814);
Margaret (1736-?), who married Major (first name
unknown) Galbraith. Her niece was Janet Smith
(1752-1812), who married Josias Carvil Hall (1746-
1814). CHILDREN. SONS: Samuel (1752-1839), a
merchant, lt. colonel in the Continental Army,
major-general in the War of 1812, a member of
the Maryland House of Delegates, 1790, 1791-
1792, a representative in the U.S. Congress, 1793-
1803, 1816-1822, a senator in the U.S. Congress,
1803-1815, 1822-1833, who married in 1778
Margaret Spear (1750-1842); John (1754-ca.
1805), a merchant, who married by 1774 Eliza-
beth; James; and Robert (1757-1842), a lawyer,
member of the Maryland Senate, 1793, 1794, 1795,
Maryland House of Delegates, 1796, 1797, 1800,
Secretary of the U.S. Navy, 1801-1809, U.S. Sec-
retary of State, 1809-1811, who married in 1790
his cousin Margaret Smith (1765-1842). DAUGH-
TERS. Mary (1755-1806), who married in 1778
George Nicholas (?-1799), a delegate to the Vir-
ginia Assembly and attorney general of Ken-
tucky; Elizabeth, who married in 1779 John Spear;
Janet (1762-1832), who married in 1785 John
Hollins; Margaret (1765-1849), who married in
1785 Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761-1820), a del-
egate to the Virginia Assembly, a U.S. senator
and representative, and governor of Virginia,
brother of George Nicholas; Sydney; and Esther
(1767-?), who married in 1791 George P. Ste-
venson. PRIVATE CAREER. EDUCATION: literate.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Presbyterian, member
First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. SOCIAL

STATUS AND ACTIVITIES: Esq., by 1777. OCCU-
PATIONAL PROFILE merchant. Smith began his
career as owner of a general store in Carlisle,

Pennsylvania, shipping the wheat he received from
his customers through Baltimore Town. When he
moved to Baltimore he and William Buchanan
(1732-1804) established the mercantile firm of
Smith and Buchanan. Smith took his two eldest
sons into partnership in 1774, and their firm, known
as John Smith & Sons, traded with Europe and
the West Indies. During the Revolution Smith
supplied gunpowder, cloth, and other items to
the American troops. His firm also had an interest
in at least one privateer. By 1779 Smith had built
at least one warehouse and a wharf on fill land
adjoining his lot on Gay Street and was leasing
a warehouse to the state. His son Samuel assumed
the major responsibility for the business after 1779,
and by 1784 John had resigned from the firm.

PUBLIC CAREER. LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: 9th Con-

vention, Baltimore Town, 1776 (Claims; Loan
Office); Lower House, Baltimore Town, 1777
(Claims 1, 2; Manufactories 1), 1777-1778 (Claims
1-3; Manufactories 1), 1778-1779 (Claims 1, 3;
Tax Comissioners 1); Senate, Western Shore, Term
of 1781-1786: 1781-1782, 1782-1783, 1783, 1784
(elected president on January 13, 1785), 1785,
Term of 1786-1791: 1786-1787 (elected presi-
dent on January 8, 1787, for remainder of the
first session), 1787-1788 (elected president on
May 24, 1788, for one day), 1788, 1789 (elected
president on December 7, 1789, to replace Daniel
Carroll), 1790. LOCAL OFFICES: justice, Baltimore
County, 1772-1775 (quorum 1774-1775); Com-
mittee of Correspondence, Baltimore County,
elected 1774; Committee of Observation, Balti-
more County, elected 1776. OUT OF COLONY
SERVICE, justice, Cumberland County, Pennsyl-
vania, 1757; representative, Pennsylvania Assem-
bly, 1754-1759. STANDS ON PUBLIC/PRIVATE IS-
SUES: Smith's letterbooks indicate that he was a
firm supporter of the American cause during the
Revolution, but that he hoped to be able to main-
tain his European contacts and resume trade after
the war. WEALTH DURING LIFETIME. PERSONAL
PROPERTY: assessed value £583.6.5, including 8
slaves and 80 oz. plate, Baltimore County only,
1783; probably 9 slaves, Baltimore Town, 1790.
ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Said to have entered
Maryland with capital of £40,000, 1759; estimated
the net profits of his mercantile firm at something
under £15,000, 1777; owned shares in the Sus-
quehanna Canal valued at £500.0.0, by 1791. LAND
AT FIRST ELECTION. 1 lot in Baltimore Town, 1
lot on Fell's Point, 99-year lease on half of 1 lot
in Baltimore Town, and probably land in Cum-
berland County, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (all

746



 

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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 746   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
  << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>


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