Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives
October 23, 2000
Vol. 14, No. 20
by Robert Barnes 

Christopher Smithers, German inn holder and tailor of Annapolis, had a checkered career to say the least. He arrived in Annapolis by 1704, and died 8½ years later. He was naturalized on 3 May 1704. On 22 January 1705, he purchased from George Valentine Valentine's Lot on the south side of George St. in Annapolis. 

Smithers' first wife, Ann Foster, married him while her first husband, James Foster, was still alive. She was indicted for bigamy in November 1705. The complaint stated that she had been legally joined in matrimony with James Foster, and in 1703 had contracted and solemnized a marriage with one Christopher Smythers, tailor, even though Foster was still living. The charge stated that in February 1705 both Christopher and Ann had been legally admonished by the rector of St. Anne's Parish not to cohabit or live together, but they had continued to do so. After hearing all the evidence in June 1706, the jury decided that Christopher and Ann were in fact lawfully married. The court record does not say what convinced the jury of the couple's innocence. In spite of this verdict, the rector of St. Anne's felt he had to have the last word. When Ann died, and was buried on 26 October 1706, the entry in St. Anne's Parish Register stated: "Ann Foster, married to Christopher Smith [sic] in her former husband's lifetime." 

Whatever the facts of Christopher Smithers' private life, he was listed in June 1706 as living in Middle Neck Hundred, with two orphans entrusted to his care:  William Cooly and Eliza Bayly. After Ann's death, Christopher took up with Mary May, by whom he had an 

illegitimate daughter who was born and died in 
1708. By 1712, Mary was referred to as Smithers' wife. 

The card index to Anne Arundel County judgments contains a card saying that in November 1710 Smithers was indicted for murder, but the actual entry for that date states that he appeared in court as a surety for Thomas McNemara. 

On 19 May 1712 Smithers mortgaged to Charles Carroll of Annapolis Lots 8, 33, and part of 34 in Annapolis. Smithers' wife Mary released her right of dower. On the following day, Smithers, now describing himself as a tailor, sold the rest of Lot 34 to John Navar. 

Smithers died leaving a will dated 1 November 1712 and proved 31 December 1712. He left his entire estate to his wife Mary, whom he named executrix. His personal property was appraised at £46.13.4. Mary Smithers married John Freeman in St. Anne's Parish on 7 October 1713. On 8 January 1714 Mary Freeman filed an account of the estate, listing payments of £48.17.2. As for the mortgage, Charles Carroll assigned it to Thomas Macnemara on 13 August 1713, and Amos Garrett paid the consideration money for Mary by the recording date of 28 Sepember 1713 . 

Sources: F. Edward Wright, Anne Arundel County Church Records of the 17th and 18th Centuries, pp. 68, 75; Archives of Maryland, Vol. 24, p. 410;  Anne Arundel County Court (Land Records) [MSA C97] WT 2, p. 378, PK, p. 493, and IB 2, pp. 22, 78; Anne Arundel County Court (Judgment Record) [MSA C91] TB 1, pp. 115, 116, 201, 305-307; Prerogative Court (Wills) [MSA S538] 13, p. 469; Prerogative Court (Inventories and Accounts) [MSA S536] 33B, p. 148  and 35A, p. 39. 

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The Archivists' Bulldog
By Mimi Calver 

The Archivists' Bulldog 
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MSA SC 5009:  Richards Collection, 1831. Biography of Samuel Chase from Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia:  Bennell Walton, 1831; History of  Maryland and county officers from an unidentified book. 

MSA SC 5010:  Shanghai Archives Collection, 1989. Issue of the Shanghai Archives containing an article on genealogy and Alex Haley. In Chinese. 

MSA SC 5012:  Gemignani Collection, 1992. The Forgotten Seven: The Decoy Carvers of Kent Island. 

MSA SC 5013:  Geraci Collection, 1885-1937. Bible Records of the Schaffer Family. 

MSA SC 5014:  Kelbaugh Collection, 1874, 1936. Illustration of the centennial celebration of the burning of the Peggy Stewart on October 19th, 1874, by Frank Mayer in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper; photocopy of an article by James W. Foster on the opening of the Old Hall of Records. 

MSA SC 5015:  Bill of Rights Collection, 1989. Facsimile of the original Bill of Rights, inside an explanatory folder. Published by Philip Morris and the National Archives as a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the Bill of Rights. 

MSA SC 5016:  Jerusalem Lutheran Church Collection, 1987. List of the Pastors of the Jerusalem Lutheran Church, with photographs of some of them. 

MSA SC 5017:  Honeywell Building Collection, n.d. Site plan, Honeywell Building, Annapolis Science Center, by David Noel Simon, architect.