The Story of the Malakoff Man


Descendants of John Smith (1770 Virginia - after 1850 Texas)

The objective of this document is to describe the evidence and reasoning that leads to the linkage of the various members of the descendants of John Smith who was born in Virginia in 1770 and died in Texas sometime after 1850.

It all begins with the 1850 Census of Walker County, Texas in which Mary Smith Chandler is found living as head of household with her two children, Jane (age 4) and John (age 3). Also living with her is a John Smith, (age 80), a farmer born in Virginia.This suggests that John Smith may have been either her father or grandfather, but for reason shown later, it is assumed that he was Mary's father.

1850 Census - Walker County Texas - Mary Smith Chandler

The next family listed by this census is that of William Smith (age 27) and his wife Adaline. That these two families live next to one another that the age of Mary and William is so close, suggests that they might be sister and brother although the fact that William was born in Arkansas and Mary was born in Louisiana weakens this assumption. But what seems to reinforce the assumption of their relationship is that the last person listed in William's household is Elizabeth Chandlier [sp], who may have been a third child of Mary's living with her uncle as her mother had her hands full taking care of an elderly man and two young children.

Thus at this point we suggest that (1) William Smith was likely to have been the brother of Mary Smith Chandler and (2) that John Smith may have been their father or grandfather.

Looking to the top of the page, above the listing of Mary and her family, one finds three children and a farm laborer.  But it is a partial listing which must have started on the preceding page. So we go back and look at the last listing on the preceding census page.

1850 Census - Walker County, Texas - John William Smith

Now we find still another Smith family -- that of John and Susan Smith and eight children.  John is 41 and was born in Illinois. This birthplace suggests that it is only a coincidence that this John Smith was living next to Mary Smith Chandler and her family.  But was it?

On Ancestry.COM the Beechler Illinois Family Tree says that this John Smith, whom they identify as John William Smith, was the son of a John Smith born 1770 in Virginia, but who died in 1845 in Kentucky. And they do not show any other children for him but John William Smith. 

However, it seems that there is just too much of a coincidence that John William Smith and family are living next to Mary Smith Chandler who has in her household a John Smith born in Virginia in 1770. So, although this may seem to be a great "leap of faith," we are assuming that John William Smith, Mary Smith Chandler and William Smith are siblings -- all children of John Smith born 1770 in Virginia.

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