Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 1

Working on the assumption that the obituaries for Ranslow Smith's (1805-????) purported brothers, Lyman (1812-1889) and George Smith (1807-1876), are correct, the parents of these three (and perhaps more?) persons was Russell and Esther (--?--) Smith.


* Russell Smith must have been born before at least 1785 and perhaps as early as 1760.

* The 1880 census for Lyman Smith in Dodge County WI says that his father was born in CT and his mother in RI (this is, of course, about 100 years after the fact!).

* The Bible record for Ranslow Smith (in my possession) says he was born in Henderson, Jefferson County, NY. Was he?

Searching for a Russell Smith in the census records reveals:

* 1800 US Census

** Western, Oneida County NY: Russel Smith males 1-0-0-1-0. females 0-0-1-0-0 (other Smiths in Western: Caleb, Benjamin, James, Philip, David, John and Arnold)

* 1810 US Census

** Fabius, Onondaga County NY: Russel Smith - males 2-1-0-1-0, females 3-0-0-1-0

** Hadley, Saratoga County, NY: Russel Smith - males 1-0-0-1-0, females 0-0-1-0-0
** Mamakating, Sullivan County, NY: Russell Smith - males 0-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-0-1-0
** Hartford, Washington county, NY: Russel Smith - males 0-0-0-1-0, females 0-0-0-1-0

* 1820 US Census:

** Genoa, Cayuga County, NY: Russel Smith - males 4-0-0-0-1-0, females 1-1-0-1-0
** Austerlitz, Columbia County, NY: Russle Smith - males 0-0-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-1-0-0
** Fabius, Onondaga County, NY: Russell Smith - males, 2-1-0-2-0-1, females 2-1-1-1-0
** Henrietta, Ontario County, NY: Russell Smith - males 1-1-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-1-0-0
** Troy, Renssalaer County, NY: Russell Smith - males 1-0-0-1-1-0, females 1-3-2-2-0
** Greenfield, Saratoga County, NY: Russell Smith - males 3-2-1-1-1-0, females 1-0-1-1-0
** Hartford, Washington County, NY: Russel Smith - males 0-0-0-2-0-1, females 2-0-0-0-1

* "Our County and Its' People" Chapter 37, The Town of Lee [Oneida county, NY}:

** Page 461: "...David Smith and his sons, David and Russell, came to the Mohawk country, near Delta, described by a writer of that time as 'away up the Mohawk country beyond Fort Stanwix, inhabited only by bears, wolves and Indians.' David Smith, Jr. built a saw mill there soon after, which he subsequently sold to Judge Prosper Rudd..."

* "A History of Jefferson County in the State of New York ..." by Franklin Benjamin Hough, pub. 1854:

** Page 72: In a list of early settlers in Adams township, the following are found:

*** 29 Oct 1799: Solomon Smith, David Smith,
*** 14 Nov 1799: John W. Smith
*** 1800: Russell Smith

** Page 73: "...A tract of 500 acres, where Adams village now is, was taken up by David Smith [Footnote: Mr. Smith died March 18, 1844, age 73], who in 1800, built and got in operation a saw mill, and the same season witnessed the arrival of numerous settlers, mostly from Oneida County..."


That's all I've been able to find in the 1790 to 1820 time frame for Russell Smith in searches of, Google (including Books), and the USGenWeb sites for Jefferson County and Oneida County in New York.

Based on the Hough book, it appears that a Russell Smith was in Adams township, Jefferson County NY in 1800, along with a David Smith. Are these the brothers David and Russell Smith from Oneida County in the Oneida history book, and the 1800 census records for Oneida County NY? Possibly.

The first record for my Ranslow Smith is in the 1830 census for Henderson in Jefferson County NY. Henderson township is the township just to the west of Adams township.

Are any of the Russell Smith families in the 1810 and 1820 census records in NY the same Russell Smith who was in Oneida County in the 1800 census? If there are three brothers that are sons of Russell Smith, then his family would have had at least two males under age 10 in the 1810 census and at least 1 males under age 10 and 2 males aged 10-16 in the 1820 census. The only Russell Smith that I see in the 1820 census that fits that criteria is the one in Greenfield, Saratoga County, NY. While the one in 1810 in Fabius, Onondaga County in 1810 also qualifies, he is still in Fabius in 1820 with only 1 son aged 10 to 16. It is possible that this is the correct Russell smith family and the three sons went up to Jefferson county NY sometime after 1820 to settle, perhaps with an uncle or cousin. All of that is very thin evidence to stake a proof on! It is also possible that Russell and his family were enumerated among other Smith families in Jefferson County NY in 1810 and 1820.

In a future post, I will define the Smith families in Adams and Henderson townships in Jefferson County, NY in the 1800 to 1840 census records.

Unfortunately, finding only two mentions of the name Russell Smith in or near places that my Ranslow Smith lived is very disheartening - I need to look for land and probate records for Smith's to see if Russell Smith put roots down in Adams township. The search, and analysis, is complicated by the Smith surname ... it is difficult to connect families with so many given names and so few pieces of information about each.

I realize that this post may be very boring - and probably skipped - by many readers, but writing this down makes it easier for me to figure out what I've done and what I need to do next.

If anyone has suggestions for further research, I am open to them! Please! Please! Please! Russell Smith appears to be a real elusive ancestor!

1 comment:

m0mmy1225 said...

i am also looking for smith family in jefferson county not as early as you are yet.i'm looking for a walter smith he had a son clarence smith in 1880's.have you ever tried the web sight ? i have been on it in jefferson county and in oneida family is from oneida county's a free web sight that has alot of town folk information.i dont know if its the same david smith but i know there is a mention of a david smith in oneida county.i know the name but i haven't been on it in a while so i dont remember any information on can contact me at for an question or comments.