Caswell County Family Tree

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  • ID: I1336
  • Name: Daniel Smith 1 2
  • Sex: M
  • Reference Number: 1336
  • Title: Colonel
  • Birth: ABT 1757 in New Jersey 2
  • Burial: Newton Academy Cemetery Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina
  • Death: 17 MAY 1824 in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina 2
  • Note:
    Colonel Daniel Smith (1757-1824)

    Colonel Daniel Smith (1757-1824)

    Colonel Daniel Smith (1757-1824)

    Smith Portraits at Pack Memorial Library

    "Old Tom" Long Gun

    Colonel Daniel Smith Obituary (Western Carolinian of Salisbury, North Carolina, Vol. IV, dated Tuesday, June 1, 1824)

    (click on photograph for larger image)

    First Photograph: Original grave marker at the Newton Academy Cemetery (Asheville, North Carolina).

    Second Photograph: More modern grave marker at the Newton Academy Cemetery (Asheville, North Carolina).

    Third Photograph: Daniel Smith's long gun "Old Tom" hanging in the Pack Memorial Library in Asheville, North Carolina. Flanking the door are portraits of his son and daughter-in-law (James McConnell Smith and Mary (Polly) Patton Smith).

    Fourth Photograph: Daniel Smith's long gun "Old Tom" at the Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville, North Carolina.

    Fifth Photograph: Colonel Daniel Smith Obituary (Western Carolinian of Salisbury, North Carolina, Vol. IV, dated Tuesday, June 1, 1824).

    No image of Daniel Smith has been found.

    While there has been some disagreement as to the birth and death dates of Colonel Daniel Smith, those dates generally are thought to be c.1757-1824, which are supported by his gravestone at the Newton Academy Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. The inscription gives a death date of 17 May 1824 at an age of 67. These dates generate a birth year of c.1757. The inscription on that grave marker also states that he was a "native of New Jersey." However, whether he was born in New Jersey is not known. Note that this inscription was written by David Lowry Swain, who was Governor of North Carolina and President of the University of North Carolina. (see below).

    Some online sources ascribe a specific birth location within New Jersey. However, no basis in fact supports these claims, which essentially are the results of shoddy research. Those with a serious interest in the Smith family are cautioned as to much irresponsible claims made in online family trees with respect to Daniel Smith, the name of his father, and where Daniel Smith was born.

    The name of the father of Daniel Smith is not known. Some claim it is Simon Smith, Simon Simeon Smith, Daniel Smith, Simon Smithson (1717-1786), Daniel Smithson, David Smith (wife Hannah Norton), and other variations. However, these claims are not supported by reference to any primary source, and serious researchers are asked not to blindly repeat these names.

    Colonel Daniel Smith is the oldest confirmed Smith ancestor of several Caswell County branches of the Smith family. He married Mary McConnell Davidson in 1781. Some claim, but without supporting documentation, that the Smith surname at one time was Smithson.

    David Lowry Swain, good friend of Colonel Daniel Smith, had this to say about him in 1845:

    I was born on the 4th Jan. 1801 (at the head of Beaverdam). In the winter of 1806-7 my father settled in Asheville within two miles and a half of Col. Smith's residence. I went to school with his children from 1807 until 1820. I knew him familiarly, wrote his will, wrote his epitaph for his tomb-stone, and was one of a company which about the last of May 1824 buried him with military honors. He was sentimentally proud of his revolutionary services, frequently referred to that in conversation, and was universally esteemed by his neighbors. An old soldier of much more than common intrepidity . . . His circumstances were good and his reputation that of a brave and honest revolutionary officer.

    At the time he wrote the above in a letter, David Lowry Swain was President of the University of North Carolina. Before that, he had been Governor of the State of North Carolina.

    Daniel Smith originally was buried on Smith family property near the Furnihurst mansion on Victoria Road in Asheville, North Carolina. His grave (as were many other family graves) was relocated to the Newton Academy Cemetery in 1875. He now rests at the Newton Academy Cemetery on Unadilla Avenue (just off Biltmore Avenue) in Asheville, North Carolina. Following is the inscription on his gravestone:

    "In memory
    of Col. Daniel Smith
    who departed this life
    on the 17th May 1824
    Aged 67.
    A native of New Jersey,
    an industrious citizen,
    an honest man,
    and a brave soldier.
    The soil which inures his ashes
    is part of the heritage
    worsted by his valour
    for his children and his country
    from a ruthless and savage foe."

    There also is a second more modern grave marker (paid for by Robert Rice Reynolds) that includes substantially all the above and adds the following language to the bottom of the stone: "Revolutionary soldier 1775-1783."

    The following is from The Asheville City Directory and Gazetteer of Buncombe County for 1883-'84, J. P. Davison, Compiler (1883) at 112:

    In compiling this sketch, it is proper that the names of a few of those hardy pioneers who began the work of redeeming our county from a wilderness, and who laid the foundation of its present substantial prosperity, should not be omitted. More names would be given had it not been impossible to obtain the requisite data, although considerable trouble was taken with that purpose.

    Daniel Smith, who settled af the mouth of Swannanoa in 1785, was one of the first white men to press the soil of the present limits of Buncombe county. He maintained a warfare, generally single-handed, against the Cherokee Indians for many years, and not less than one hundred are said to have " bitten the dust" from the effects of his unerring rifle. The red-men firmly believed that Smith bore a charmed life, and that it was impossible to kill him. Many a "brave" has been heard to tell of the number of times he had taken fair and careful aim, at short range, with no effect, at the devoted form of the undaunted hunter. That superstition which is characteristic of all savage peoples, invested this wonderful man with a thousand traits which he did not possess, and stories innumerable were related 'round the fire of the Council Lodge, of the marvellous deeds of prowess and cunning which he had performed. Traps were laid for him; parties were made up, sworn to take him alive or dead; but, though sometimes captured, he always made good his escape, and lived to see the county of his adoption cleared of his natural enemy. His son, the late Colonel James M. Smith (born 1787, died 1856), was the first child born of white parents west of the Blue Ridge, in the present limits of North Carolina. Another son, Moses, is still living, at an advanced age, near Asheville, and is celebrated for his remarkable skill as an angler.

    The following notes are repeated here because they are online and will be viewed by others. No factual basis was provided for the claim that Daniel Smith was ever named Smithson. Nor is there any basis to assume that a Daniel Smith was the father of the Colonel Daniel Smith of this entry. Note also, the the DAR monument to William Davidson has incorrect information. The DAR confused two men with the same name (William Davidson) who were living in the area at the same time. See the entries in this database for these two William Davidsons.

    Notes for Daniel [Smithson] Smith from Mark Freeman's website (Davidson Family of Augusta County, Virginia):

    According to one researcher, Daniel Smithson changed his name to Daniel Smith. The father of Daniel Smith may have been Daniel Smith, b NJ, who moved to Augusta Co., VA. Daniel Smith is quite well know around Asheville. He was a frontiersman, pioneer and Indian fighter. He and Samuel Davidson were business partners and they built the fort on the Swannanoa and Bee Tree Rivers. It was a trading post and safe haven for settlers. The town of Old Fort sits on this site today. Samuel Davidson was a twin, his twin was William Davidson, Mary's father. Daniel Smith hated the Indians and his head stone says that he fought hard to "wrest this land from the savage foe." Daniel and Mary Smith are buried at the Newton Grove [Academy] Cemetery in Asheville.

    Daniel's oldest son, James McConnell Smith, was very successful. He owned a hotel on the square in Asheville and he owned a ferry (which eventually became a toll bridge). He had a very successful plantation. His home, eventually called Victoria, is a historic site in Asheville. It has been restored to the era when his daughter and her husband lived there. It is also known as the Smith-McDowell house. Daniel's long gun is in this home, hanging on a wall. The Davidson's came through Virginia to North Carolina. They first were in Iredell and Rowan Counties. Daniel Smith and Mary Davidson were married at her father's home "The Glades" in Rowan County. Mary's parents, William Davidson and Mary McConnell Davidson went west with their children. There is a DAR monument in Swannanoa, NC to William Davidson. He is buried nearby. Mary McConnell's father, John McConnell was from Ireland. He was a weaver and a farmer.

    Source: Mostly Southern.

    For a one-page "biography" of Colonel Daniel Smith go to Colonel Daniel Smith Document. This undated and unsigned one-page document was provided by the Asheville-Buncombe Library in Asheville, North Carolina. It was uncatalogued in their files on the Smith family of Buncombe County. Library staff could not identify the author but believe the document to have been in their files for many years. Note that is ascribes 1762 as the birth year of Daniel Smith, but without supporting documentation. Those viewing this document are to approach it with caution as the author is unknown and no primary sources are cited.

    From Revolutionary War Soldiers of Western North Carolina: Burke Co., Vol I, page 256-257:

    During the Revolutionary War Daniel Smith lived on the frontier of Burke County at the head waters of the Catawba River. Early in the Revolutionary War Daniel Smith was commissioned a Captain of militia in McDowell's Burke Regiment. He was assigned command of several forts which guarded the upper Catawba frontier against the attacks of the hostile Cherokee indians. The primary fort under his command was that of Davidson's Fort, located on the plantation of Samuel Davidson (at present day Old Fort, NC). It appears that by 1777 the McDowells had assigned the command of all the forts on the western frontier to Captain Smith. Numerous Revolutionary soldiers, in their pension statements, mentioned serving under Captain Smith during late 1780 and early 1781. Captain Smith accompanied Colonel Charles McDowell on a Cherokee raid in 1779. Later he took an active part in the Kings Mountain campaign of the summer and fall of 1780. The historian Draper notes that Captain Smith was one of the several who refused to take protection in order to save the cattle (a question as to whether or not taking protection to save cattle for the army constituted a patriotic act was a subject of controversy for many years to come. It was the underlying cause of the celebrated Carson-Vance duel several decades later).

    Following the close of the Kings Mountain Campaign, Captain Smith returned to the frontier forts to assume a unified command. In the spring of 1781 there is mention that he returned briefly to Iredell County in order to marry Mary Davidson. During his absence the command was assumed by Captain James McFarland. Apparently Captain Smith resumed command on his return to the frontier. In early 1782 Captain Smith, along with his men, took part in the short Cherokee raid lead by Colonel Joseph McDowell. There is also evidence that he participated in the second Cherokee raid of 1782, some six months later.

    Captain Daniel Smith married Mary Davidson in 1781. He had moved from Burke County into what later became Buncombe County, ca. 1787, becoming one of the first pioneer settlers of this area. He apparently settled in the Bee Tree Section. He was listed on the 1800, 1810 and 1820 Buncombe County Census."

    From Abstracts of Rev. War Pension Files, page 3176:

    "Smith, Daniel, Mary, NC Line, W6127, sol. lived in Rowan Co NC in the part that later became Burkes Co NC during the Rev War, sol. m Mary Davidson in fall of 1781 at the home of her father Wm. Davidson in Burke Co NC, sol. d 17 May 1824 in Buncombe Co (part which was formerly a part of Burke Co) NC having lived about 2 1/2 miles from Asheville, NC, wid d 30 May 1843 in Buncombe Co NC, sol's & wid's 1st child William D. Smith was b 1 Oct 1784, on 4 Jul 1844 their 2nd son James M. Smith of Asheville NC aged 57 appl for pension due his parents for himself & other surviving children; John L., Daniel & Moses Smith, Mary who m M. B. Patton, Polly who m John Hawkins, Nancy who m W. Burnet or Burnett & Jane who m Alfred Fortune."

    The following is from The Heritage of Old Buncombe County, Doris Cline Ward, Editor (1987), Volume II at 60 ("Captain Daniel Smith"):

    Born 1757 in New Jersey. Enlisted in Burke County, NC and served as Captain in North Carolina Militia stationed at the head of the Catawba River to defend the frontiers against the Indians and in the battle of Kings Mt., etc. He is buried in old Newton Academy Cemetery on Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC. (See Smith Family).

    Source: Asheville and Buncombe County, F. A. Sondley; Genesis of Buncombe County, Theodore F. Davidson (1922) at 146-147:

    The first church building in Asheville appears to have been where the Newton Academy now is. For some time there had been a small combined church and school house there, when on July 11, 1803, William Foster, Jr., conveyed the land on which it stood "including an old school house with a new one, and a frame Dwelling house, a spring, &c," containing eight acres, to "Andrew Erwin, Daniel Smith, John Patton, Edmond Sams, James Blakely, William Foster, Senr., Thomas Foster, Jur., William Whitson, William Gudger, Samuel Murray, Joseph Henry, David Vance, William Brittain, George Davidson, John Davidson of Hominy, and the Reverend George Newton," as a gift "for the Further Maintenance and support of the gospel, and teaching a Latin and English school or either, as may be thought most proper, from time to time, by the above named Trustees or a majbrity of them, or their successors in office, he the said William Foster reserving to himself an Equal Interest and privilege with the above named trustees and to be considered as one of them in all future proceedings so long as he continues to act as trustee. . . for a place of residence, for a preacher of the Gospel, teacher of Latin and English School or Either as may be thought the most proper," with a provision for substitution of trustees in case of death, refusal or inability to act, and with further provision that "there shall at all times be eleven trustees in the neighborhood of said institution who live convenient enougb to send their Children to said school or schools from them their Own Dwelling houses and two from the Reverend George Newton's present congregation on Cain Creek, and two from his present congregation on the waters of Rims creek, and one from his present Congregation in the neighborhood of Robert Patton's meeting house, and one from the neighborhood of the mouth of Hominy who shall be so appointed and approved of from time to time." (Record Book 4, page 678.)

    The following is from Asheville and Buncombe County, F. A. Sondley; Genesis of Buncombe County, Theodore F. Davidson (1922) at 153:

    Colonel Daniel Smith, a native of New Jersey, after considerable experience in the Indian wars, and as a soldier on the American side in the Revolutionary War, removed to Buncombe, then Burke, and settled immediately east of the railroad at the first branch above the passenger station at Asheville, on the hill just north of the branch where his cabin stood for many years, and where he died May 17, 1824. He was buried with military honors on the hill where Fernihurst now stands; but about 1875 his body was removed to the Newton Academy graveyard where it now rests. The curious and interesting inscription on his tombstone is as follows: "In memory of Col. Daniel Smith, who departed this life on the 17th May, 1824, Aged 67. A native of New Jersey, an industrious citiien, an honest man, and a brave soldier. The soil which inurns his ashes is a part of the heritage wrested by his valour for his children and his country from a ruthless and savage foe." His old rifle is still in Asheville. His widow, Mary Smith, who was a daughter of Major William Davidson above mentioned, died April 29, 1842, in the 82d year of her age and is buried by his side. At the home place of Colonel Daniel Smith just described was born on January 7, 1894, his son, James McConnell Smith. The latter married Polly Patton, daughter of Colonel John Patton hereinbefore mentioned.

    Daniel Smith Pension Letter 1926.

    Pension Number W-6127
    Service: North Carolina
    Smith, Daniel
    North Carolina
    Mary Smith, dec?d
    Widow of Daniel who was a Captain in the Revolution
    Husband died 17th May 1824
    Inscribed on the Roll at the rate of 300 Dollars 00 Cents
    Per annum to commence on the 4th day of March, 1843 and ending 20th May 1843
    Certificate of Pension issued the 29th day of May 1845 and Sent to
    Col J. S. Hawkins of North Carolina
    Now pursuant to Act of March 3, 1843


    In order to obtain the benefits of the 3d section of the Act of July 4, 1836

    State of North Carolina
    Buncombe County
    Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
    July Term 1844

    On the 4th day of July One thousand eight hundred and forty four personally appeared before the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the aforesaid County of Buncombe James M. Smith, son of the late Daniel Smith, deceased, a resident of the County and State aforesaid aged fifty seven years, who being first duly sworn according to the said doth, on his oath, made the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions by the Act of Congress passed July 4th 1836.

    That this declarant the aforesaid James M. Smith on behalf of himself and the other heirs of said Daniel Smith, deceased, states that the said Daniel Smith was a Captain of Militia, the heirs understand and as such he served the United States at different times during the War of the Revolution against the common enemy for the period of two years or more under the commands of General Rutherford, Colonel McDowell and others at witch time he the aforesaid Daniel Smith lived in Rowan and Burke Counties, North Carolina, the latter of which was taken off of Rowan County in or about the year 1778 and in which County the said Daniel Smith resided.

    The declarant further states that to give furtherance of the above claimed service of his father he can say further that he has often heard his father state, and others known to the fact, that the said Daniel Smith served as a Captain and that he was frequently out on the frontiers of the State against the Indians, during the War and that he was also stationed, a part of the time, at a Fort with a company of men at the head of the Catawba River in Burke County.

    This Declarant also states that the aforesaid Daniel Smith was married in the fall of the year Seventeen hundred and eighty one, 1781, to Mary Davidson as husband and wife they lived together till the death of said Daniel Smith who died on the seventeenth day of May Eighteen hundred and twenty four, 1824, leaving his wife Mary a widow who departed this life on the twentieth day of May Eighteen hundred and forty three, 1843.

    And this declarant further sets forth on his said oath that the aforesaid Mary did not marry after the death of her husband the aforesaid Daniel Smith but remained a widow till her death.

    Sworn to and subscribed on the day and year full above written before the Court.

    Jas M. Smith

    N Harrison CCC

    State of North Carolina
    Buncombe County

    J. N. Harrison, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the said County of Buncombe do hereby certify that satisfactory evidence was this day furnished the said Court (now in session) that the parties above named, Captain Daniel Smith and Mary Davidson were lawfully married in the fall of the year Seventeen hundred and eighty one, 1781, that the said Daniel Smith died in the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four, 1824, and that his widow the aforesaid Mary died on the twentieth day of May in the year of Eighteen hundred forty three, 1843, leaving surviving the following eight children all of lawful age, to wit, James M. Smith, John L. Smith, Daniel Smith, Moses Smith, Betsy Patton, Polly Hawkins, Nancy Burnett, and Jane Fortune who are the only surviving children of Mary Smith, deceased.

    I do further certify that it was shown in evidence to the satisfaction of the Court that the aforesaid Daniel Smith was a Captain in the War of the Revolution and as such he served the United States.

    And I do certify that James M. Smith who was sworn to and subscribed the foregoing declaration is well known to the Court to be a person of and to whose statement is due full faith and credit.

    I further certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the Court in the matter of the application of the heirs of Mary Smith deceased for a pension whereupon the Court orders the Clerk to Certify the same to the War Department. In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal of office at Office in Asheville this the 4th day of July 1844.

    J. N. Harrison, Clerk of Buncombe County Court

    State of North Carolina
    Buncombe County

    I, John Thrash, presiding Justice of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County aforesaid do hereby certify that Nathan Harrison whose certificate signature and official seal appears above is Clerk of our said Court duly appointed and qualified according to law, that his signature is genuine and is entitled to full faith and credit.

    In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this the 4th day of July, 1844
    John Thrash (Seal)

    State of North Carolina
    Buncombe County

    On this the 25th day of January 1845 personally appeared before me J. Dunlap one of the acting Justices of the Peace in and for the said County, James M. Smith a resident of the County & State aforesaid and made oath in due form of law that he is a son of Daniel & Mary Smith deceased of said County, whose heirs are now applying for a Pension due to said Mary Smith dec?d on the account of the revolutionary services of her said husband the aforesaid Daniel Smith deceased and that he Deponent has now in his possession the Old Family Bible of the aforesaid Daniel and Mary Smith in which is recorded that age of Wm D. Smith the oldest child of the aforesaid parties of which the following is a true copy:

    Wm D. Smith born October 1st 1784

    That the said Record is in the handwriting of the said Wm D. Smith and that he believes it is correct and true and the same is hereto appended as will more fully appear.

    Sworn to and subscribed on the day and year first above written before me.

    J. Dunlap JP
    James M. Smith
    [fn pp. 8-10]

    An additional item of proof included in the Pension File was the following letter from David Lowry Swain who served as Governor of North Carolina 1832-1835 and as President of the University of North Carolina 1835-1868

    Chapel Hill 7 January 1845

    Dear Sir:

    I avail myself of the first moment of leisure to reply to your letter of the 27th asking for information in relation to the late Col. Daniel Smith of Buncombe. I was born on the 4th of December 1801 - in the winter of 1806-07 my father settled in Asheville within two miles and a half miles of Col. Smith?s residence. I went to school with his children from 1807 until 1820. I knew him familiarly, wrote his Will, wrote the epitaph for his tomb-stone, & was even one of a company which about the last of May 1824 buried him with military honors. He was extremely proud of his revolutionary services, frequently referred to them in conversation, and was universally esteemed by his neighbors as an old soldier of much more than common intrepidity. His second son James M. Smith, Esq, of Asheville was the first white child born in that portion of the State west of the Allegheny now constituting the Counties of Buncombe, Yancey, Henderson, Haywood and Cherokee. I have no recollections of many other individual of that section of the State of the same name, who was at any time [?] reputed to have been a revolutionary officer. I have now in my possession ?a talk? to the Cherokee Indians from Gen. John Steele commissioner appointed by the U S in 1789 (was subsequently Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States) which was sent to the nation ?by ____ _____ ____ Captain Daniel Smith? The War Ford on the French Broad at which place the Indians met the Commissioners was immediately up river not more than two miles distant from Col. Smith?s residence. I wrote an obituary ____ of Col. Smith containing references to his military service which was published soon after his death in 1824 either in the Salisbury Western or Raleigh Register or perhaps both and have no copy and little recollection of it. I recollect no ___ ___ at present which seems to fall within the scope of your inquiries. He was an illiterate man, could not write, & I suspect was unable to read [?]. His circumstances were good and his reputation that of a brave and honorable revolutionary officer.

    Yours very respectfully,

    David L. Swain

    George Little, Esq.

    Colonel Daniel Smith was among those who on 25 September 1790 signed a petition requesting that a new county (which was named Buncombe) be created from Burke and Rutherford. At this time the Swannanoa River was recognized as the dividing line between Burke County to the north and Rutherford County to the south. Buncombe County was named for Colonel Edward Buncombe, a North Carolina soldier of the Revolution.

    Buncombe County Court, 17 April 1792: "Ordered by court that [among others] Daniel Smith be a jury to view and lay off a road from Col. William Davidson's on Swannano, to Benjamin Davidson's Creek the nearest and best way according to law and that said Jury meet on the third Monday in May next at the ford of Benjamin Davidson's creek at which time and place Lambert Clayton, Esq. is to attend and qualify said jury who report to July Court." This was the first order in regard to roads ever made in Buncombe County. The road became know as Boilston Road.

    Buncombe County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
    Minutes of April Court 1795

    A release from Benjamin Yardly to Daniel Smith, for a contract made with said Smith for work done at a house was acknowledged in open court and ordered to be registered as follows. Know all men by these presents that I Elihu Chambers of the county of Buncombe and State of No. Carolina of four pounds fourteen shillings and four pence in hand paid by Daniel Smith, to Benjamin Yardly in part pay for the building a house for the said Daniel, in which we at first were Jointly concerned, to perform to Daniel - Do release the said Benjamin from all damages on that account, and further engage to indemnify the sd. From any further demands from the said Daniel Smith. Witness my hand and seal this 24th day of April 1795. Elihu Chambers (seal) Sealed and delivered in presence of Jas. Holland, John Leak.

    Elihu Chambers vs. Daniel Smith: App'l. Jury empand. To wit: John Craig, James Wilson, Js. Davidson, Mark Forster, Robert Baker, John Gash, John Patton, Wm. Gillihan, Jas. Matlock, Wm. Whitson, Eben. Fain, Jas. Love.
    Nonsuit. A release introduced on part of the plaintiff from Ben Yardly.

    Obituary of Colonel Daniel Smith

    Died, In the vicinity of Asheville, in this State, on Monday, the 17th ult. Col. Daniel Smith, in the 67th year of his age. Col. Smith was a native of New Jersey, but at an early period in life emigrated to this state, and in the year 1785, settled in this county, shortly after the Indian title to this section was extinguished, and at a time when our infant settlement was still exposed to the terrors of the tomahawk and scalping knife. From the period of the Declaration of Independence, till his settlement here, his days and nights were devoted to the service of his country; and there are some yet alive, who can testify, that, whether combatting with the skill and bravery of English veterans, or counteracting the insidious wiles of their savage allies, no man ever exhibited greater zeal for the public welfare, or a higher degree of personal courage. In private life, he was the independent, high-minded and honorable citizen, and the truly honest man. The evening of his days was tranquil and placid, and the great King of Terrors to others, was to him the welcome messenger, that called him from a scene of cares and anxieties, to a world "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." The day after his death, his remains were conveyed to the"narrow house," attended by a numerous train of relatives, a large concourse of respectable citizens, and a small military corps which had been assembled to render the appropriate tribute of respect to the departed soldier.

    Source: Western Carolinian (Salisbury, North Carolina), Vol. IV (Tuesday, 1 June 1824). This obituary was written by David Lowry Swain, at one time Governor of North Carolina and President of the University of North Carolina.

    William Brittain: Born February 7, 1762 in Orange County, NC. Enlisted there under Col. McCauley as 2nd Sergeant and was at the capture of Hillsborough and the taking of Gov. Burke by the Tories. He removed to Burke County, NC and enlisted there under Col. Joseph McDowell and went into the battle of Cowpens and served a three month tour at the upper Fort near the head of the Catawba River in Burke County under Captain Daniel Smith and Samuel Patton was in this tour with him. He lived in Burke County until about 1789 then moved to Buncombe County, NC. In 1832, age 72 years. His pension papers were witnessed by Nathan Harrison (clergyman), Samuel Davidson, Samuel Patton, William Kimsey (clergyman), and James M. Smith. He is buried near Dula Springs, north of Weaverville, NC.


    The following is from an unspecified source: "Colonel Daniel Smith was a true pioneer, a fearless frontiersman, an Indian fighter, a Revolutionary War Veteran, and well respected and loved during his lifetime. He fought at Kings Mountain, the engagement many thought was a turning point in the Revolutionary War."

    In the 1800 census, Daniel Smith was listed as the head of a household consisting of two males under the age of ten (possibly sons John L. Smith and Daniel Smith, Jr.), two males ages 10-16 (possibly sons William Davidson Smith and James McConnell Smith), two males ages 26-45 (possibly Daniel himself; and one unknown), three females under ten (possibly daughters Mary ?Polly? Smith and Nancy Smith; plus one unknown), one female 10 to 16 (possibly daughter Elizabeth ?Betsy? Smith), one female 26-45 (possibly wife Mary McConnell Davidson), and one slave. Son Moses was born in 1802 and daughter Jane in 1804, completing the family.

    Buncombe County, North Carolina
    Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
    April Court 1796

    A deed from William Stuart by his Attorney David Vance to Daniel Smith for 300 acres of land was acknowledged and ordered to be registered.

    Source: Minutes of Buncombe County Court, April Term 1796, Page 156.

    While attending the Union Hill Academy (Newton Academy) in the eighth year of her age she [Harriett Elizabeth Alexander] was allowed to go to the funeral of Colonel Daniel Smith, a famous Indian fighter and Revolutionary soldier whose wife Mary was a daughter of Major William Davidson, and who had lived and was originally buried less than a mile from the academy. The interment was with military honors where Fernihurst is now. The little girl was much frightened at the noise made by the "firing by platoons" over the grave and never forgot the incident.

    Source: Sondley, F. A. My Ancestry. Asheville: The Inland Press, 1930 )p.126). Print.

    "Daniel is an enigma. His headstone says he was born in New Jersey. He was a Smithson and changed his name. He was in Rowan County when he married Mary Davidson. Later he was involved in building Davidson's Fort (now Old Fort, NC) and was business partner with Samuel (one-eye) Davidson there. Samuel was married to Daniel's sister Mary Smith. Samuel was Mary Davidson's uncle, her father William was his twin brother. After Samuel was murdered by the Indians, the Davidsons and Smiths moved alittle further west and Mary's parents are buried in the Bee Tree Community near Swannanoa. Daniel and Mary are buried at the Newton Grove Cemetary which is now pretty close to downtown Asheville. There are many stories about Daniel's hatred for the Indians after the murder of Samuel and he considered himself an Indian fighter. He served in the Revolutionary War and was called Captain Smith (don't think that was really his rank) and was well respected as a soldier. I understand from staff at the Smith McDowell house that Daniel was a little rough around the edges for the tastes of the up and coming Smiths and that he remained a pioneering, Indian fighting, Soldier up to the end."--e-mail from Sheila Quinn -

    Source: Daniel Smith.

    John Hawkins, husband of Mary (Polly) Smith Hawkins, was one of the three administrators of the Daniel Smith estate in 1824.

    Daniel Smith, who is referred to in the following address, was the particular friend and hunting companion of Samuel Davidson. He married Mary Davidson, daughter of Samuel Davidson's brother Colonel [Major] William Davidson; and it is said, (how correctly cannot now be known), that the wife of Samuel Davidson was a sister of Daniel Smith. Prominent among the men who came over the mountains to avenge the death of Samuel Davidson, as mentioned in the address, which follows, was this Daniel Smith. He became Colonel Daniel Smith and was one of the first emigrants to Western North Carolina. His residence stood on the hillside immediately east of the railroad and directly north of the first small branch which runs into the French Broad River above the Passenger Station of the Southern Railway at Asheville, North Carolina. The site of his home is now within the corporate limits of the City of Asheville. Here, on June 14th, 1787, was born his son James M. Smith, the first white child born in North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge. Colonel Daniel Smith died at this place, and was buried, with military honors, on a hill on his farm at the spot where Fernihurst now is, overlooking the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers and their junction. In 1875 his remains were removed to the burying ground at Newton Academy, just south of Asheville, where they now rest. His tombstone bears the following inscription:

    "In memory of Col. Daniel Smith: who departed this life on the 17th May 1824 Aged 67. A native of New Jersey, an industrious citizen, an honest man, and a brave soldier. The soil which inurns his ashes is part of the heritage wrested by his valour for his children and his country from a ruthless and savage foe."

    In later life Colonel Smith was almost daily seen on the streets of Asheville mounted on his large white horse. His hatred of the Cherokees never abated. At the unveiling of this monument at the grave of Samuel Davidson, Colonel Daniel Smith's old gun, carried by him throughout the greater part of his life and used by him in the attack on the Indians near the mouth of Christian Creek, which followed the murder of Samuel Davidson and is mentioned in the address, was present, having been loaned for the occasion by his grand-daughter, Mrs. Jane C. Spears. It was known as "Long Tom," and many a Cherokee met his death from its fiery discharge. This gun is as a smooth bore, or musket, with flint lock and rifle sights, the bore being a little larger than that of an ordinary fowling piece. The length of the weapon is six feet, and that of the barrel alone is fifty-six inches; while the stock, smaller than usual at the butt, extends underneath the barrel clear to the muzzle. "Long Tom" was capable of carrying a large ball or several shot, and was a most formidable engine of destruction.

    Source: Address by Forster A. Sondley delivered at the commemorative exercises when a monument was unveiled September 25th, 1913, at the burial site of his second-great granduncle Samuel Davidson.

    On July 13, 1767, a public proclamation made official a new boundary line delineating the western frontiers of the province of North Carolina from the Cherokee hunting grounds. The boundary mandated that white settlers west of the line should remove themselves by January 1768, and anyone wishing to trade with the Cherokees was required to obtain a license from the governor.

    In 1766, John Stuart, superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern colonies, pressed Governor William Tryon to enter into negotiations with the Cherokees regarding extension of the boundary line. Tryon appointed commissioners to conduct the survey and mounted a personal military expedition to take part in the negotiations.
    The Cherokees were flattered to receive the governor's visit and gave him the title "Great Wolf of North Carolina."
    The commissioners began their work in June 1767 at the Reedy River in South Carolina. From there, with the assistance of the several Cherokees, they surveyed a line 53 miles north to a tree atop the peak that the Indians called the "great Mountain" and that the commissioners renamed Tryon Mountain.

    It was agreed that the boundary would extend in a straight line into Virginia, but that that portion would by necessity remain unsurveyed.

    Source: "Tryon Mountain Along the Indian Boundary," This Day in North Carolina History (July 13, 2016).

    The foregoing is placed in this entry for Daniel Smith as it explains creation of a boundary west of which whites were not allowed. Note that Governor William Tryon was colonial governor of North Carolina 1765-1771, having been appointed by the King of England. This new boundary protected the Indian lands from further westward expansion, at least that was the theory. Of course white pioneers violated the boundary and extended settlements into Indian territory. The Davidson and Smith families were among the first to establish a foothold west of the boundary, whether lawfully or not is not known. The Indians were not amused and opposed the "intruders." Near present-day Swannanoa, North Carolina, they ambushed and killed Samuel Davidson (1736-1784), uncle of Daniel Smith's wife, Mary McConnell Davidson. The Indians sided with the British during the Revolutionary War.

    Buncombe County, North Carolina
    1800 Census
    Explanation of Chart: Columns Left to right:
    1st column - Name of head of Household
    2nd column - # of Males (0-10)(10-16)(16-26)(26-45)(45-+)
    3rd column - # of Females (0-10)(10-16)(16-26)(26-45)(45-+)
    4th column - # of Others
    last column - Slaves

    Smith, Daniel
    Males: 2 2 0 2 0
    Females: 3 1 0 1 0
    Others: 0
    Slaves: 1

    Family Data Collection - Deaths
    Name: Daniel Col Smith
    Death Date: 17 May 1824
    City: Ashville
    State: NC
    Country: USA

    Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots
    Name: Daniel Smith
    Cemetery: Newton Academy Cem
    Location: Asheville NC 49
    Reference: Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Vol.4, p. Serial: 11393; Volume: 3

    Father: Unknown Smith b: in New Jersey

    Marriage 1 Mary McConnell Davidson b: 14 OCT 1760 in North Carolina
    • Married: 17 OCT 1781 in North Carolina
    1. Has Children Daniel Smith b: 05 FEB 1798 in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    2. Has Children Mary McConnell Smith b: 25 NOV 1795 in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    3. Has No Children Nancy Ann Smith b: 14 MAR 1800
    4. Has Children Jane Davidson Smith b: 18 OCT 1804 in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    5. Has Children Moses Smith b: 14 MAR 1802 in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    6. Has Children James McConnell Smith b: 14 JUN 1787 in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina
    7. Has Children William Davidson Smith b: 01 OCT 1784 in Burke County, North Carolina
    8. Has Children Elizabeth Smith b: 01 APR 1789 in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina
    9. Has Children Sarah McConnell Smith b: 1793 in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    10. Has No Children John Leander Smith b: 1791 in Burke County, North Carolina

    1. Details: The Heritage of Old Buncombe County, Doris Cline Ward, Editor (1981) at 190-191 (Article #307, "Major William and Margaret McConnell Davidson" by Mrs. Dorothy Hyde and Mr. William E. Bryson)
    2. Details: Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society (Smith Family)

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