Life and Letters of 
Dr. John T. Smith

Rosedale, Virginia

By William G. Smith

Rosedale, Virginia - March 6, 1968


The writer of this sketch has included numerous letters pertaining to Dr. John T. Smith's life and family, because he feels that the historical value of this information is of consequence; and also the references to other families might be of some interest and assistance to someone else undertaking a similar task. The letters also reveal many of the customs and hardships of the people in this section during this period of time.

The letters are in chronological order, according to date and time of Dr. Smith and his family, and history as related to this area.

Index of Letters: 

Letters of Dr. J. T. Smith to Mary D. Anderson before marriage; Letters of Dr. J. T. Smith to Mary D. Anderson after marriage; 

Letter to Dr. Smith while in Mississippi from John W. Lampkin;

Letter to Dr. Smith while in Mississippi from his sister, Eliza Smith Carter, wife of Dale Carter and grandmother of the late Governor H. C. Stuart; Letter of Dr. Smith to wife; Letter of Dr. Smith to wife describing first train ride;

Letter of Dr. Smith to wife; Letters to son, J. H. A. Smith, while in private school at Lynchburg; 

Letters to wife from Richmond; 

Letter to son, J. H. A. Smith, at Rosedale; 

Letters to wife; 

Letter to son, J. H. A. Smith, at home;

Letter from William A. Wade (half-brother of Mary D. Smith); 

Letter to wife; 

Letter to Dr. Smith from son, J. H. A. Smith; Dr. Smith - List of Property; 

Will of Dr. J. T. Smith; 

Letter of Sympathy to Mary D. Smith from William A. Stuart, husband of Mary Lampkin Stuart, who was daughter of Eliza Smith Carter. William Alex Stuart was father of the late Governor H. C. Stuart; 

Note of C. A. Smith payable to Mary D. Smith, Guardian of J. H. A. Smith, for interest in slaves of grandfather, Henry Smith; 

Letter of Sympathy from S. T. Cox to Mary D. Smith. Mr. Cox was at Saltville attending the funeral of Mary Stuart, wife of W. Alex Stuart; 

Statement of J. E. Evans,Attorney. Henry Long was the father of Richmond Long, both of whom were slaves of Dr. J. T. Smith. Henry escaped and was recovered. Richmond went through the Civil War as a bodyguard of Major J. H. A. Smith, son of Dr. J. T. Smith. Two Notices from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 

Dr. John T. Smith

Dr. John T. Smith was born at Clifton, Russell County, Virginia on July 5, 1805. He was the son of Henry Smith III and Mary McCandlass Taylor Smith. Henry Smith III was the son of Henry Smith II and Mary Strothers Smith. Henry Smith II was the son of Henry Smith I and Mary Crosby Smith.

It is not known where Dr. Smith received his undergraduate education. He was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania about 1833 with an M. D. Degree. Upon completion of his education, he proceeded to practice medicine in Russell and adjacent counties. He also looked after his vast acreage. A portion of his lands is still owned and operated by a descendant, a part of which was patented by Henry Smith.

Dr. Smith sought and won the affection of Mary Douglas Anderson of Elliston, Montgomery County, Virginia. (LETTERS 1 and 2) They were married on the 10th day of October 1833. Mary D. Anderson was born on the 31st day of July 1816. Dr. and Mrs. Smith started housekeeping in a log house on the above-mentioned property, about 5000 feet northeast of present Route 19. This house stood on a beautiful knoll in a boundary that has always been called the "house seat boundary." It was located approximately 150 feet from a beautiful spring.

The writer remembers a shrub or planting that stood nearby the house seat until about 1938.

Written Before Marriage
Pattonsburg, July 24th 1833

Dear Mary,

I am now about to return the promise I made you in my last to inform you at what time you might expect me in Christiansburg. This, I am enabled to do with entire certainty, after making allowance for accidents and unforeseen occurrences. It is my intention to leave here on the 30th inst, and allowing two days for the journey, you may expect to see me on the 1st day of August. Should any thing transpire, however, between this and that period to detain me longer, I shall apprise you of it in order to quiet every thing like mental anxiety, and relieve your mind of the painful anticipation which you might have, as well also, as to supersede the necessity of your trying to look too pretty. If that is all, you think I might spare myself the trouble. It is better to be disappointed in seeing a

sweetheart at the expected time, than to neglect a patient, especially when they are so few and far between as mine.

Though my practice, so far, has been very limited, I have some reasons to be encouraged. I have the promise of the practice of the most wealthy, and respectable families in the vicinity, among which are the Harveys.

This is at least flattering to my vanity, if it puts nothing into my pocket. My patient of whom I spoke in my last has been discharged, cured. This event was as highly gratifying to myself and friends, as it was mortifying to my opponents. Dr. Pendleton and myself are on terms of rather more sociability than heretofore, although there is no friendship between us.

I was at the Judge's yesterday, when, I find that suspicion is on the wing. They cannot exactly see the motive of my visit to Montgomery, especially, for so much punctuality, as I am about to exercise. They say, they suppose I have some love affair up there, and that I always look so cunning out of my eyes when a certain name is mentioned. Aunt Taylor and her two daughters are going up soon, but I hope they will not make it convenient to go with me, although, such is the calculation at this time - 

I received a letter from Margaret some days ago, in which, she informed me that you had paid her a visit on the reception of my letter, and that you expressed much anxiety to know when I would be up, never suspecting all the while, that you had received a letter as well as herself. She says you are "so very prudent that she can get nothing out of you, also, that you are right artful. I wonder if she has just discovered that, if so, she is very much in the rear of myself. I shall show you the whole of it when I see you.

I hope you are thinking very fast, and that, you will have your mind entirely made up by the time I see you, whether my sentence is to be given in mercy or in wrath, if in the former, try to look as angelic as possible, if in the latter, look as little like an angel as you ever did in your life. At all events do not have any set speech made for me, such as, that "Candor requires you to say that you have no warmer feeling for me than friendship. I once heard of a young lady who after giving a gentleman his papers, said to him, by the way of consolation, that it did

not in the least diminish her friendship for him. Said he, "G-d___ your friendship." -

I want you to ride out with me to the Springs during my stay, - and let us try the efficiency of a discussion on horseback. I hope, it will not occupy us three days again, hard labor. Em Gardner, and an escort will accompany us, I presume.

I understand, that Frances, and her beau are about to make a match, and upon my word, when I saw him, I would not have given my chance for his, and it appears to me now, that I am at an awful distance from a wedding. I have nearly expended my paper, and quite my resources, therefore, I must conclude, by recommending you to the especial protection of Heaven - Adieu.

John T. Smith


Written to Miss Mary D. Anderson, before marriage -

Clifton, VA, August 30th 1833
My Dear Mary,

I have nothing to write to you about, and my object is merely to prove to you, that you are yet as fresh in my remembrance as the day on which I parted with you. Time, which is continually wearing away the frail and dissoluble fabrics of earth, serves only to increase my devotion to you. I am counting days constantly with arithmetical precision. Soon, will I commence counting hours, then minutes, and then seconds.

Could I believe, my Mary, that you felt only half the warmth of feeling towards me, which I do towards you, I should enjoy a perfect Elysium on earth, but, woman is called, "uncertain, coy, and hard to please." Still, however, I know her to be capable of the warmest attachment, constant in her affection, patient and persevering under the severest trials.

There is but little sickness in the country at this time I therefore enjoy a state of almost perfect rest. I returned yesterday from a visit to Eliza, having spent only one day with her; she said the reason I would not stay longer, was because, I wished to have some person else to talk to me about that belle in Christiansburg.

The girls and myself were attending a two days meeting on last Sunday from Col. Bowen's, held by Mrss. M'Intyre and M'Kewen in Tazewell. The w_____ was all smiles and graces, but she did not venture to joke me about you, although, she knew what was in agitation, as every body else does. The report, I suppose, was first brought some Wythe to Tazewell, by the lawyers of that place.

I had a most distressing dream about you a few nights since. I thought you had proved perfidious tome, and had suffered yourself to be lead away, by some worthless character. I was not permitted long to suffer such a state of mental torture, the effect was so perturbating as to cause me soon to awake, and thus relieved me of the horrors of such a vision.

Mary, I want to see you very much, indeed, not for any reason in particular, but just to be in your society.

But if I cannot enjoy that happiness now, the day is not far distant when I hope to experience the full fruition of what my most enthusiastic feelings have lead me to anticipate.

I am as ever your affectionate lover.

John T. Smith


To this union the following children were born:
First child, female, 8th day of October 1834 - dead

Second child, male, 26th day of August 1835 - dead

Third child, female, 21st day of November 1836, near Holly Springs, Mississippi - stillborn

Fourth child, male, 7th day of June 1838 at their place near Tallahassee, Mississippi - stillborn

Fifth child, male, 19th day of March 1938 at their place near Tallahassee, Mississippi - stillborn

Sixth child, male, 2nd day of march 1841 at Rosedale - stillborn

Seventh child, female, March 1842, lived about 12 hours and expired

Eighth child, male, 7th day of May 1843 at Rosedale - stillborn

Ninth child, male, 1st day of July 1844 at Rosedale - stillborn

Tenth child, male, John Henry Anderson Smith, born on Wednesday the 28th day of July 1857 at 8:00

o'clock A.M. He was the only child that lived.

Eleventh child, male, 20th day of March 1849 - stillborn

Twelfth child, 12th day of June 1850, at 8:00 A.M., at Rosedale - stillborn



Marion, VA, June 2nd 1834
My Dear Mary,

I write mostly for the purpose of informing you that, I have had a call this evening to Russell to see Scott's wife. She is represented as being in a dangerous way, and from the description given of the case, I am inclined to suspect phlegmasia dolens, vulgarly, child bed fever. I shall start in the morning and probably will not reach home before Sunday next, as I shall probably take Clifton in the way and perhaps May Tate on my return. I shall give orders for our other articles to be brought forthwith, as I have offers to hire some of the Negroes and I think there is little doubt but I can hire them all without difficulty when they come.

I have felt much anxiety about you since your departure, having heard that the waters were up, and dreading lest our journey might fatigue you. I hope I shall bear from you by morning's mail and have my anxiety entirely relieved. I have been in quite a depressed state of spirits ever since you left me. What then is to become of me during an absence of three months? You situation is totally unlike mine. You are in the midst of your friends, relations, and acquaintances. I am in a land of total strangers. You are mistress of your own time and can command your own engagements. I am the slave of the people and must sit still or move at their command.

We held a meeting in the Court house last evening for the purpose of making some arrangements to celebrate the approaching anniversary of American Independence. Dr. Thorman acted as Chairman. Mr. Pendleton was appointed to read the declaration. The orator is yet to be appointed by a committee. The honor of preparing suitable toasts for the occasion, was conferred on a committee, of which I am one. A dinner will also be given and perhaps a ball. I am, however, more inclined to think I shall celebrate my 4th in Christiansburg. I am sure, it would be productive of much more happiness to me.

I hope, my dear darling, you are strictly obeying my directions as to your health. If you do not, I shall reflect on you for it. There is nothing would give me so much pain as for you to practice deception on me. I wish you to write to me and let me know how you are doing and particularly about what I told you. If Capt. Strother and myself should not commence merchandizing here I should like to build a house as soon as possible and let us go to housekeeping immediately. If a female school could be made up, I think we would find it to our advantage to take boarders. I am entirely in favor of building on a back lot.

Give my love to all the family and believe me to be your most

Affectionate husband

John T. Smith

Mrs. Mary D. Smith



Marion, June 19th 1834
My Dear Wife,

You cannot well conceive of the unhappy state of my feelings in not having recd a second letter from you. To tell you the honest truth, for the last three or four days, I have been literally in a state of distraction which has rendered me totally incompetent to every kind of business. Have you totally forgotten the man who loves you far better than his own life? If yo have not how could you treat me with such cruelty, when you knew my extreme anxiety about your health? Is your health too bad? Then you could have got some body else to have written for you.

Nothing but the near approach of Court kept me from starting on Tuesday to see the cause of your not writing.

When the mail arrived, I was absent in the Valley but I hurried home full of expectation of finding a rich repast in the long letter you had promised me.

I shall start down tomorrow and will arrive at Christiansburg by 12 oclock on Sunday. Can you meet me at Uncle John's on Saturday evening. If your health will permit I wish you would as it will abridge that much of my misery till I see you. I hope then my dear you can account satisfactory for not having written.

I have not enjoyed any good health since you left here and I am confident that if I were seized with an acute disease at this time. I should sink under it in your absence. I am compelled to close my letter; my feelings will not permit me to continue it farther.

I remain as ever you truly faithful

And affectionate husband

John T. Smith

Mrs. Mary D. Smith

P. S.

I should get down in two days but for having heard that Betty Crockett is sick, so that I must go by there.

Try my dear to meet me, if not look for me to dinner on Sunday - JTS.



Marion July 17th 1834
My Dear Wife,

I had the exquisite pleasure this morning of reading your very affectionate letter which was dated on the day I left you but postmarked the 15th. From your great promptness, I am inclined to think you must have been trying to imitate some other very affectionate wives of your acquaintance. I am truly sorry my dear, to learn that my absence has exercised so unfavorable an influence on your health, while at the same time. I am compelled to acknowledge that a similar one has been felt on my own from the same cause. My second day's journey was

performed with extreme pain to myself and on the following day I was unable to leave my bed during the early part of the day. I am, however, much improved since that time. I found Betsy Crockett in a much worse condition than

when I left her before. Indeed, I consider her case as wholly hopeless.

My friend Dr. Watson invited me to spend the day with im, also you & myself to call on them on our way home, which I promised to do if we can conveniently - I have not been out of town since my return until last night, when, I was called to Pendleton. James Strother has not been here since my arrival and I am therefore unprepared to let you know our arrangements. I understand that he is at present lying by his wife. I have been called to see Mrs. Harley who has been threatened with abortion for a week, of a foetus of three months, in consequence of a

fright. I think I shall be able to save it if I can prevail on her to use any prudence. I understand that Maj. Taylors family are sick to the number of half a dozen among them, Mary. They did not send for me I presume from the presumption of my absence. Broger is over at Henry Taylor's also Miss Mayo whose bacon I am told he is threatening furiously. The Squire's house is progressing rapidly, so that, we may expect to get into it by the 1 September at farthest. I am fully determined that I will not stay here another spell without you, for the truth is, I

can scarcely be said to live without you. It is as you say, that we never were intended to be parted. I am not so certain about my going down on the 1st August as I originally expected, unless we could be ready to go to

housekeeping by the middle of that month. I am unwilling, my darling, to be absent from here long at a time, as Dr. Allen got several cases in my absence part of which I should have got had I been here. I would therefore prefer

to postpone going down, until I could be prepared to receive you here. I shall however let you know farther of this before that time. Our landlady took leave of us on Sunday for Botetourt. Your last letter arrived here on yesterday.

She contemplated spending a few days in Wythe on the way. I did not invite her to call on you and I presume she will not. I intend going to the Saltworks on tomorrow if I can get off. I understand, the Squire is very anxious to see me, having sent several messages to that effect. I cannot see Juliet before the mailing of this letter, but if I should on inquiry find it necessary, I will communicate to you, early, whatever may be necessary concerning her.

Give my love to all the family and the Squires folks also and believe me as ever

Your most Affectionate


John T. Smith

Mrs. M. D. Smith (write soon)



Marion July 20 1834
 Saturday night
My Dear Wife,

I am sitting in my room at a late hour of the night, absorbed in the most profound meditation about the absent idol of my heart. Yes! Absent to my bodily eyes but continually present to my imagination. I feel that state of melancholy which is inseparable from absence from you, and which I can only alleviate by holding this kind of intercourse with you. If I attempt to read, "thy image steals between my book and me." If I sit unemployed, you are not on my lap to beguile the hours away with affectionate embraces and when I retire to rest, I have no Mary to lay her head on my breast and sooth me to sleep. Ah! Mary - you little know how my heart overflows with love to you.

There is nothing else on earth that has any charms for me or that I desire farther than it would contribute to your happiness.

I have just been reading in Byron, in which I find a great deal to admire and some to condemn, tho' I am fully of the opinion that this literary Colossus has not had justice done him by the world. I am however not a little thankful that I am totally unlike him in private character; still more so that you are so unlike his wife.

Tuesday evening

I have just returned from Saltville leaving all well, but Eliza in daily expectation. The Squire and myself did not decided on any measure certainly tho' our views are very alike.

I called on Juliet who says that John Sanders will be in want of clothing, but that the rest will have a sufficiency. Mary may go down she says.

I met Maria Spotts and Ellen Bowen at Maj. Thompson's; they came in with me and are now at Harley's - 

It is said at the Saltworks on the best authority that Dr. Gunn, that monster of imposture, hypocrisy, and perfidy, has eloped carrying off the wife of a respectable lawyer of Knoxville with him. "Oh! Frailty they name is


It is enough to raise a blush not only on the cheek of the sex, but on that of human nature.

I have not time to say more to you at present as I look for the stage ever minute.

Write my Dear on the receipt of this and add to the happiness of your ever faithful and affectionate


John T. Smith

Mrs. M. D. Smith



Marion, VA Oct. 9th 1835
My Dear Wife,

I am compelled to avail myself of the present opportunity of writing you a few lines merely for the purpose of expressing to you what my feelings are during your absence. I am, indeed, as dejected in spirits as you can possibly imagine, and if I had not already gone so far, I should be almost tempted to decline my contemplated journey entirely - My determination is made up never to be seperated from you again while we both live, but from the most extreme necessity - I hope my dear we will each of us duly appreciate the value of our separation and learn never to doubt each other again in any respect whatever; in other words we must never pout at each other on any account - 

John Crockett and Dr. Sayers just arrived here this evening to go on with us - I expect we shall not start till Sunday - 

I have sold our casting china and a few other trifles to Sheffy but I see no prospect of getting rid of any of the furniture - 

I have the two umbrellas here which I will leave for you and Henry to take with you. I want you as you go to Russell, to stop at Aunt Crocketts and stay as long as you can. Treat them all with great friendship and familiarity as I want you to do all our relations you see while you are out.

Uncle Taylor's suit was just decided today in his favor after a long and tedious discussion.

Oh my darling! Is this the last word I am to say to you till I leave you for a turn, which will appear an age to me? May God bless and protect you in my absence is the constant prayer of your ever loving and affectionate


John T. Smith

Mrs. M. D. Smith


Lawrenceburg, Tenn. Oct 25th 1835

My Dear Wife,

You will see from the date of my letter that I am still moving Westward. I am now only 20 miles from the Alabama line and about 150 from La Grange the place where we purpose crossing over to Mississippi. We have so far all enjoyed perfectly good health and our company, now is reduced to four, Major Thompson, Jno Taylor, Mr. Cunningham and myself - The weather is as hot here now, as Aug is with us - I have traded off old Davy even swap for a very fine horse that is not so well gaited but much better able to carry me thru the mud a thing which I shall feel the importance of very much when I start home - We came on from Marion in company with a Mr. Reynolds formerly of VA to his residence in Giles Co on Friday last, and stayed till today (Sunday) where we were very comfortably entertained in bachelor style. I should have written from there but could not get paper enough -

The destruction of cotton in this part of the State by frost has been beyond example; the planters do not calculate on even a third of a crop.

I expect to write to you again from La Grange and after that you need not expect a letter from me till I get thru the Chickasaw Nation as there are no Post offices in that county. I am apprehensive that his letter will not reach you directly as I fear you will have left C before this reaches you. I want you, however, to write to me at Columbus as early as you receive this and let me know where to write to. I have a great deal more to tell you about but it is late and I am fatigued and sleepy and will reserve it till I write to you again or see you. You cannot

imagine, my dear, how crazy I am to see you and I shall use my endeavors to urge the company to return as soon as possible - 

Farewell my dear Wife

I am as ever

Your Affectionate

And devoted


John T. Smith

Mrs. M. D. Smith


Baltimore, March 16 1836

My Dear Wife,

As Mr. Aston will start home on tomorrow, I avail myself of the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along - We had intended starting to Philadelphia in the morning but Mr. Morrison appears much inclined to abandon the trip entirely. If any of my friends should be going to that city in a few days, I may perhaps go, otherwise, I think I shall not. We had a fine sermon today in Eutaw Church from Mr. Ridgway of the Md. Conference - In the afternoon, I went with William and all the Russell merchants to the new

German Catholic Cathedral - The architecture surpasses all that I have ever seen - As the house was densely crowded, we could not sit down, but stood just within the door. Nearby us, stood an official with his star inscribed J. E. S. and a halbred under his arm to keep heretics in there place. When the congregation came to the part of the service at which all kneel he turned to me, and told me I must kneel, I told him, I would not, but that I could retire; he then told me I must leave the house which we all did in short order - A jolly old heretic taking the hint soon

followed in our rear, and asked us if we had been ordered out, which we answered in the affirmative. I told him I had never committed idolatry, and I was too old to begin it now - We then went to the old Cathedral and arrived before service; we stood long enough to see the splendor and magnificence of the building, saw the foolery of several infant baptisms and profiting by the hint we had already recd we retired more heartily disgusted with Romanism than ever - I saw so motley a crowd assembled together before. Sandy is not a patching to it. It consisted mostly of the lowest order of foreigners who are but little above deformity. We continued our walk to the green mount cemetery - This is the burying ground of the aristocracy of Balto. It is indeed a beautiful place; in the center, stands a magnificent gothic building of brown stone - The grounds are decorated with a variety of ornamental trees and shrubs and alas! With the marble monuments which were more impressive than all the sermons we had heard thro' the day - Of all these there was one, which I stopped to gaze on with peculiar interest - It was a plain marble slab, on which lay a beautiful little infant chiselled out of the purest white marble, over it a thin drapery through

which you could detect the prominence of its form and beneath which projected a beautiful little foot - Under it, was a perfect imitation of a little bed and beneath its head a pillow of the same.

It was a solemn spectacle to a parent - We then returned to our hotels well-fatigued with much improved appetites for supper - 

On last evening Mr. Hy Aston, Tho Alderson and myself were at Mr. Warden's. We were very kindly recd by Mrs. W. who asked many questions about her friends in Russell - Mr. Morrison declined going on the plea of business - They insist on your coming in the fall - and I have promised that you shall -

George has been complaining for two days of a very bad cold; he is quite hoarse today. Wm is well though not so fleshy and rosy as when he was at our house. He and George both appear cheerful and we all appear to enjoy ourselves well together - I have scarcely seen Eldred since the day of my arrival. He is mostly at Conference thro' the day - 

We have not made any new arrangement since my last letter from this city, namely for you to send by Nye's for us on Tuesday the 25 - I think we are both growing a little homesick, and I shall be glad when the day of starting comes - Give my love to all and accept the assurance of my sincere affection

Your devoted husband

John T. Smith


Dr. and Mrs. Smith moved from Russell County to near Tallahassee, Mississippi about 1836 and lived there for approximately three years before returning to Russell County. The population of this area at that time was so thinly settled that it was difficult for a doctor to live by the practice of medicine.
(Letters 10 and 11)

Dr. and Mrs. Smith employed a young Indian maiden to help with the house work while in Mississippi. They became very attached to the little girl and she likewise idolized them. Mrs. Smith taught her how to read and write. Upon their leaving Mississippi, the little girl begged and pleaded to accompany them home. When they boarded a boat to come up the Mississippi River, she became very hysterical and took off one of her little Indian moccasins and threw it on board the boat then jumped into the river and drowned. The moccasin is still in

possession of the writer.

In 1839 or 1840 Dr. and Mrs. Smith returned to Russell County. In 1850 Dr. Smith completed "Smithfield", the brick house which is now occupied by the writer. This house has twelve rooms and a large attic with no windows on the south-west or north-east. All of the original wood was hand-hewn and put together with pegs. Cut nails were used on the beautiful poplar floors. Each of the twelve rooms contains a fireplace. This house took about two years to complete and cost approximately $5000.00. The brick were burned from clay on the farm and are of remarkable hardness. The four corners of the house at the time it was erected pointed north, east, south and west. I feel sure that C. A. Smith, brother of Dr. John T., laid the foundation for he was quite famous as a



Written to Dr. Smith while he was in Mississippi
Abingdon, VA Nov 30th 1837

Dear Sir

Your letter of the 4th Ult. was duly received, and as you have probably seen, I took the liberty of publishing from it some extracts, relating to Mr. Prentiss and the politics of your state. As yet, I have not learned the result of

your recent elections. It seems that Claiborne and Cholson have refused to enter upon the convass taking their stand upon the decision of Congress giving them their seats during the approaching regular session. I cannot approve their course in this matter; - for, from all that I can learn, the people of your state elected them to serve in extra session only. If this be the fact, it appears to me, that the decision of Congress was an assumption of power, to which Mississippi should by no means submit. At all events, as it is a doubtful question, Claiborne and Gholson

should not have refused again to submit their claims to the decision of the people at the polls. So far as the Congressional election is concerned, I feel some anxiety to learn the result. Should the people of the State have elected the Whig members, will it not bring Congress and the State into collision? Claiborne and Gholson will claim their seats under the decision of Congress, at its late extra session; and Prentiss and Ward will claim theirs under the verdict of the people of a sovereign State. Will Congress undertake to confirm their former decision, in

opposition to the expressed will of the people of Mississippi? The question will be a novel one, but it strikes me that the people, of a State, certainly have the right to decide who shall represent them. 

Your remarks in relation to the establishment of an Opposition Press at your place have been considered, and your kind offer, to render me any service in your power, is duly appreciated. At this time, however, I am undecided as to whether I shall continue in this place. My present business is tolerably profitable, and my friends, here, wish me to remain and engage in the practice of the Law, in which they offer to do all they can in my behalf. I do not, however, regard the profession of law as very profitable in this section of country; but perhaps it might do in connection with some other business. In case I should determine to quit this place, I will write to you more fully in reference to locating in your part of the country; but at present, the probability is, that I shall remain here, for

sometime to come, at least.

As to news from this part of the country, there is little that I could write you, which would be interesting. Business is usually dull, owing to the great difficulty in collecting money. Our merchants in this place, are doing almost literally nothing. Only a few of them have laid in a stock of New Goods. The people are more pressed for money than I have ever before known them, and Sheriffs and Constables seem to have their hands full of business.

In a political point of view, I think a considerable change has taken place in public sentiment, in this section of our state. A considerable number of the old Jackson party, who were formerly so hostile to a U. S. Bank, seem now convinced of the expediency of such an institution, as well, on account of the advantages it affords to the people at large in the way of conducting the exchanges of the country and affording a sound and uniform currency - as an account of its aid in conducting the fiscal operations of the General Government. The SubTreasury scheme does not seem to be very popular with us, nor indeed in any part of our State. You have probably noticed the course of Mr. Hopkins, upon this subject. He has gone farther in opposition to the Administration than I had supposed one

of his character and in his political circumstances would do. I presume he would now, as upon a former occasion, be unwilling "to let the people know," his real political sentiments, in full. I was greatly disappointed in the result of the election between himself and Humes - having no idea that Humes would be so badly beaten. I think the individual destined to turn Hopkins out of Congress, is the notorious F. M. M. of Scott. But enought concerning these folks.

Your Brother Henry, is announced as a candidate to represent Russell County in the next Legislature. Gray declines a re-election. Wm. Gibson, I understand, will also be a candidate. I am surprised at Gibson's strength in the County of Russell, as developed in the last election. He was within a few votes of being elected.

From present prospects, I am inclined to think, there must be a new organization of political parties. Should, what is termed the Conservative Party, maintain its position, the remnant of the old Jackson party still adhering to the Administration, will leave it in a lean minority. The Administration will be compelled to retreat from its late position in regard to the currency and fiscal schemes in agitation and fall back, either upon the Special Deposite System, or consent to the re-establishment of a U. S. Bank. The Deposite Bank scheme will not be tried again. The Whigs will never consent to it and the conservatives are too weak, of themselves, to revive that system again. The two parties last named, should they coalesce upon the question, will always be able to defeat the Sub-

Treasury System. The only alternative then, is to resort to the Special Deposite plan, or recharter a National Bank.

At present, the former plan would be more likely to prevail. And I think it not improbable that at the approaching session of Congress, a sufficient number, of the several parties in existence, will unite and carry through this plan.

Should this not be the case, most of the conservatives will fall into the Whig ranks, and the establishment of a National Bank take place at no very distant day.  You must excuse the political cast which I have given this letter, as I could not have filled my sheet, without some speculations of that character. I presume the neighborhood news which would interest you, you generally receive through the correspondence of your friends in this section - I shall, at all times, be glad to receive a letter from you, and whenever I can write you anything interesting from our part of the country, will take great pleasure in so doing. The direction concerning your paper, has been attended to. 

With great respect, I remain

Yours Sincerely

Jno. W. Lampkin

Dr. John T. Smith

Holly Springs



Words copied as misspelled in letter -
Russell County Feb 9th 1839

My Dear Brother

I deem it unnecessary to tell you how much I was rejoiced on the perusal of your letter of Nov. 27th not only because it was from one I had long wished to hear from but also because it contained the very intelligence I wished most to hear. That you have found the pearl of great price, the very best treasure you could ever be in possession of. What a happy thing. I dont know how to congratulate you enough. I hope by this time Mary is a partaker and that she is now a living witness for our blessed Jesus. Very truly do you observe how much better is is even in this life the difficulties and afflictions to which we are subject in this life are more easily supported beside a peace which this world cannot give and the longer you continue a faithful follower of the meek and lowly Jesus you will find that trust and that hope in Him grows stronger and stronger and take it away from us and we would rather live not at all. Though my dear Brother you will meet with many a sane temptation (perhaps have already had some) that will seem to almost overcome you and sometimes feel like you will faint by the way but in such an hour let me tell you to trust in the Lord and in every case watch and pray - I went up to Fathers soon after I received your letter they had not heard that you had embraced religion. They were very much affected at hearing it tears of Joy & gratitude flowed from their eyes. - Mother said she thought she would not see half the uneasiness about you now that she had done in days past. I think Father said very little as he does generally about such things. He still seems unconcerned about that which involves his best interest. The salvation of his Soul. I think we ought to be mightily engaged for him he is getting quite old and his head almost entirely white he stayed with us last night - I think there is a good work going on in our family the female part all appear to be thoughtful and engaged. I thought Henry looked serious on reading your letter. John Taylor is very much changed. I think nothing but grace could have wrought so great a change. I do not know whether he professes or not, Cousin Mary is still going on in the old way I think she is the most pious woman I ever knew. Aunt Taylor is very unwell her health has been bad for some time aunt Peggy scarcely ever leaves her. You wish to hear the particulars of Uncles death Mother was with him she has a great hope for him as he had himself but he would have given everything he had in the world to have known that he would be happy he exhorted his children and his servants and in fact every one he saw to meet him in Heaven. I am told he prayed with every breath never was a family more deeply distressed I suppose but it is wearing off Charles said he was ruined. It is thought Sally T. will marry a Mr. Stewart before long such is the report. When I wrote you last I thought Sally Smith would have married before this but that has all fallen through and I am in hopes it was all for good as she has another "beau who is I suppose a much better man He is the President of the Emory & Henry College I have a slight acquaintance with him he is a Methodist Preacher I dont know what she will do with him. The Editor still visits Clifton occasionally...

*This was Mr. Charlie Collins 1st President of Emory & Henry College.

There has been a great revival of Religion about Marion I understand almost all in and near town have joind the Church James Strother amongst the rest has joined and professes Religion I believe Eliza professed before you left here. Aunt Strother is going fast with her cancer it has eaten considerably about her face. I believe I have given you all the news that I can think of at this time and will therefore conclude a long and hastily written letter.

Mary has given me a lone message for yourself and her Aunt Mary too tedious to write she says she wants to see you mighty bad. Henry is at his Grandfathers and John is at home quite sick and troublesome but is getting better. I hope you will write to me soon again they are complaining at Fathers of your not writing. I hope you will remember me the weakest and most unworthy of all creatures that ever took the name of Jesus give my love to Mary and may the Lord help you to go on may he bless and guide you and at last save you in his kingdom is the earnest prayer of your truly affectionate Sister E. C. C.

Mr. Carter sens his respects to yourself & Mary.

E. C. C.


As previously stated, due to the thinly populated area, Dr. Smith was forced to ride horseback and practice over a large area of Southwest Virginia. Letters attached will indicate that he would ride into Scott county, then over to Washington County and on through Smyth, Wythe, Pulaski, and into Montgomery County. He would always stay with the Andersons at Elliston, his wife's people. As you can see from the following letters he did quite a bit of consultation and surgery on his circuit.
As has been said, Dr. and Mrs. Smith's only living child was J. H. A. Smith I. Mrs. Smith was kept in bed for three or four months before his birth. He attended Emory and Henry College and private schools in Lynchburg.

He entered the Civil War at about the age of 18 as a Captain in command of a company of volunteers from Russell County. He was promoted to major in 1864.

Dr. Smith was one of the first doctors to inoculate for smallpox by removing a scab from an infected person, making a small cut on the person to be inoculated and tying the scab onto the cut. It was successful so I was told but the lack of antiseptic practices very often made quite a sore. He also wrote a paper which was delivered before the National Medical Board on the prevalence of enlarged thyroid (commonly called goiter) in women in this section of the country. He said he was not sure but that he felt the cause was due to the lack of some element in our soil and he thought it might be iodine. This paper was in the possession of the writer but has been misplaced.


Clifton VA April 9th 1840

My Dear Wife

I have just retired from the noise and bustle at a large crowd to answer your sweet affectionate letter just rec'd by todays mail, hoping that I may be able to get an opportunity of sending it to Abingdon on tomorrow thereby enabling you to receive it on Monday. The wedding as you know took place last night. There was quite a respectable little company over from Abingdon and every thing so far has gone off very well. I could not enjoy myself for want of you. I think I never have wanted to see you so badly before in my life but circumstances put it entirely out of my power to do so earlier than the 20 or 21st Inst. When you may look for me with certainty and I hope you will be well prepared to receive me. Henry and family came over last Friday. I was down at home when they came. I have been living with old Mr. Williams ever since I went down who kept me from being as lonesome as I might have been. He is however about moving now to another place. I shall go tomorrow or next day with Dr. Preston to Tazewell to operate on a tumor which will consume a whole week.

This throws me so back that I cannot spare time to go earlier than I tell you. I wish therefore if any dinners are to be given to George they may be given immediately after the wedding or we cannot be at this. John Taylor reached here on last Thursday from Mi with no news more than we have heard. Mary Fulton's son died a few days ago.

I do not remember any thing more than would interest you at this time. Give Mr. and Mrs. Anderson my congratulations for the happy consummation of that event which has contributed so much to their enjoyment.

Accept my warmest love from your absent but loving husband

John T. Smith

Excuse my short letter - it is unnecessary to tell you why. J. T. S.


Dr. John T. Smith died in Lynchburg in January 1862 on his return home from visiting the battle fields in and around Winchester, Virginia. He was buried in an iron casket on a beautiful knoll about 3500 feet west of the Smithfield house. His favorite saddle horse was buried close by his grave. Also buried there was the ranger referred to in the letter from Dr. Smith's son, one Yankee soldier whom he treated while in his home who became ill on the march from Tazewell to Saltville and rode to the doctor's home seeking medical attention, all of his negro slaves who preceeded him in death, and a few other white people.
(Letters 13 through 30)

Richmond VA March 10th 1856

My Dear Wife,

Well, you see I am in the great metropolis of our native state, having arrived a few minutes after three today - As I have been here too short a time to give you any account of the city, I shall defer that and try to entertain you with a sort of description of our trip down. When we reached the seven mile ford, I felt a good deal indisposed and hypochondrical, and felt somewhat like going back home. I thought, however, I would venture as far as Christiansburg and if I still felt homesick, I could only return from there. These inquisitions continued to haunt me till I reached the depot, when a sight of the great "iron horse" and his monstrous train dispelled them like chaff before the wind - How little idea had I of a railroad car or locomotive! and how strange that I have never seen any person who could give me an adequate conception of them! I must be the greatest admirer of the works of nature and art in the world, or the most childish man that ever lived. I wish you could have partaken of my enthusiasm, or even witnessed mine when I first entered the car. Instead of a little narrow pent up affair, resembling a large mail coach in which the passengers sit cramped up together, you are to imagine a building quite as long as our house and wider than our passage with rows of fine walnut, cut velvet spring-bottom seats on each side, each one sufficiently large to contain two persons, with a spacious aisle in the middle, with a glass window to every seat a blind and a curtain; and the backs of the seats to constructed that they can be inverted in a moment, so that you can ride with your face forward or backward, or persons can sit and vis a viz. The whole interior of the car is finished in a highly ornamental style and is admirably warmed by a stove fire. You may guess that as green a gentlemen as I was, highly dazzled with these first impressions, but my enthusiasm had not yet attained its acme.

In a few moments the huge monster in front began to bellow forth the signal of departure - then the monstrous train followed in the rear with a speed which seemed to leave all the world behind - On we went at one moment with a yawning gulf beneath us at another with a frowning precipice over-hanging us then, darting into a tunnel of utter darkness then suddenly emerging into light.

How much did I regret that you and son and Sarah had not all been along. Can you imagine how I felt when I saw old Settensones well known mill-dam, and still more, when I reached the gorge leading up to Aunt Polly's and cost a wistful look at the old place. When we reached the station at Capt. Kent's - I looked out and saw George conducting a lady into the cars. We had but one minute to converse but he told us that Eldred had gone on two days before, and that he, himself, would be on today. When we meet I shall be able to tell you something more.

We reached Lynchburg Saturday at 5 o'clock P. M. and met Mr. F. G. Morrison of the Depot who took us home with him and treated us very hospitably till this morning. Miss Martha promises to go home with us on our return. We went to the episcopalian church on yesterday. It is a very fine building and contained a very fashionable congregation.

I am determined to take you all on a railroad trip this summer if we live. Tell son I have wished for him throughout my journey. We shall spend the day here tomorrow - and leave next day for Balto. I have met with Mac, and various other fiends here who appear glad to see me. I hope you will push the work with your might. Enquuire how the stock are doing and if they are kept out of mischief -

Tell Wm that flax seed is dull at this time and he had better be cautious how he buys - One keg of butter either yours or Carolines we do not know which is still on hand - we shall know in the morning - it is said to be injured by too long delay -

Give my love to Sarah and son and Caroline and William also Mr. Morrison - and believe me your truly

Affectionate Husband

John T. Smith



Alleghaney Springs VA Aug: 13 1858
My Dear Wife,

Douglass and I reached here on the day before yesterday, after spending twenty four hours at the White Sulphur.

I found our friends all well on our arrival on Saturday. On Sunday, I was reattacked with diarrhoea which harrassed me till the following Tuesday, since which time I feel in my usual health. Annie has so far given general satisfaction to all her friends in this quarter. Hamilton and John are devoted to her beyond measure. I met with my old friend Dr. Bourland, whom I knew in Mississippi whom I recognized at first sight and who appeared overjoyed to see me. He has removed below N. Orleans and been greatly damaged by the flood. He introduced me to his second wife whom I found a charming lady from Norfolk. I regretted to part with him. I found Henry Taylor and wife, Virginia Crockett and Mrs. Mays here. We shall go to Christiansburg tomorrow and stay till Monday among our friends.

The Company, here, is not large and mostly of the rather plebeian order, so upon the whole, we do not pass our time very pleasantly.

I received Mr. Morrison's letter last night informing me of the happy termination of Caroline's labor. Tell him that I entirely approve of his selection of a name, and I think he could not bestow it more worthily. I cannot say any thing about going home, but I shall probably remain at least a fortnight longer.

May Kent's wife died lately, also, the widow Craig.

Give my love to all our friends and accept the assurance of my sincerest devotion

From Your Affectionate Husband

John T. Smith


Rosedale VA. Sept 17th 1860
My Dear Son:

I have the pleasure of informing you that I reached home on last Wednesday (the 12th Inst) and found all well. I spent one day and two parts of days at your Uncle George's, one at Christiansburg, one at Dr. Radfords, and from Saturday to Tuesday at Wytheville. I found our friends all well and very glad to see me.

Your mother recd a letter from Mr. Morrison on Thursday informing us that you are very diligent at your studies. This was very gratifying to me indeed. Nothing would give me so much pleasure as to see you a head and shoulders above all the other boys of your age. By patience and perseverance, you may surmount all difficulties which beset your path. Besides intelligence, I want you to cultivate good manners, as no person is ever acceptable in good society without these. Attend strictly to cleanliness of person, by washing your face, hands and neck thoroughly, and cleaning your nails daily; also, have your hair neatly trimmed when necessary. Do not lean back your chain or lounge in it, and when in company, attend closely to the conversation, so that you may learn something, and at the same time be prepared to answer any question addressed to you.

Above all be on our guard against bad company, as nothing is so likely to deprave the morals of boys as that. Be kind to your fellow students, and above all, be very obedient and respectful to your teacher.

Let me again enjoin on you to be very studious that I may see your improvement when I see you; never goto school with your lesson half-learned.

Let not the word Can't be found in your vocabulary. Learn, throughly, whatever you undertake, and look in your dictionary for every word whose meaning you do not know, and as you progress in Latin, endeavor to understand the derivation of words. 

We have had a glorious peach season which has just ended - We have had some so large that they would not go in at the mouth of our cans - Your mother is very much pleased with the new cans I brought, and has them all filled. Tell your Uncle Morrison that we can furnish him with the feathers early in October. Ask your Aunt Caroline, if she would like to have as much as fifty pounds of butter at that time or less; either will suit us. 

Tell your Uncle Morrison that Henry Vencile paid $30 during my absence - and Calvin Griffith paid me $20 on Saturday. 

Your mother and myself send our love to you and all the family. 

I am affectionately 

Yours and Jno. T. Smith



Rosedale Russell Co., VA Nov 8th 1860
My Dear Son,

I write you a very few lines to inform you that your mother reached home on yesterday about 5 o'clock.  When she came in sight of Lebanon, she met our friend Wm. Samples in his buggy, who kindly volunteered to bring her home, and but for this fortunate occurrence, she would have been detained there all night, as the coach horses had given out and were unable to bring her further. Of course, she gave me an agreeable surprise, as I had ceased to look for her after hearing of the disasters on the Railroad. She distributed the various presents among the servants last night, all of which were very acceptable.  I was happy to hear of the progress you are making in your studies, and hope you will be stimulated to still further exertions. Nothing but hard labor will ever make you a man of intelligence. I do not mean that you should not allow yourself time for exercise and recreation.

It is unnecessary to say any thing to you about the election in this County, as you will see a more correct report in the papers that I can give you. Your horse and dog are well. Stewart has not noticed your mother since she came home; he seems a little pouty.

Give our love to all Mr. Morrisons family and accept our most affectionate regards.

Your Affec Father

John T. Smith

We shall send down some things as soon as the railroad damages are repaired - Your mother says you must be careful never to go to bed with cold feet and when the weather gets colder, get you a warmer cravat.

Write to us soon.

 J. T. S.
Get your Aunt Sally to sew string to your shawl so that you can tie it up around your throat.



Richmond, VA 
April 8 1861

My Dear Wife,

I arrived here on Friday about 3 o'clock in company with Mr. Thomas Alderson, without any unpleasant occurrence except the loss of my trunk at Lynchburg. When we arrived there, one of the agents of the Orange & Alexandria road met us to knew if we would take that route, and being answered that we would, he called for our checks and assured us he would deliver our trunks at the depot immediately. We went to the place, and bought our tickets and waited for our baggage till we become fearful it was lost, when Mr. Alderson went over and got his, but could not find mine. The car then started and when I arrived here, I wrote to Mr. Morrison and on Saturday I recd a telegraph from him that my trunk was forwarded that morning. I went to the Depot this morning but it was not there. I then telegraphed again but have no answer yet.

I have met many of my old acquaintances, and been in the Convention some time. The Union men still have a large majority, though many of them have yielded since they came here.

I have placed Cynth in the Hospital and the Doctors think she will be very easily treated, but advise that she should be kept under treatment for some weeks to insure the impossibility of relapse. She is greatly admired by all who see her, and one man on the Cars tried hard to buy her. 

I could sell her at this house the (American Hotel) if she were sound. She is very desirous of being sold here and I think I shall give them the refusal as they appear to be very clever gentlemen.

Tell John Henry to study very diligently till I get home and let me see that he has learned a great deal.

I want to leave here about the last of this week for Lynchburg and stay a few days there, but I do not think I shall stop any where else on a/c of the cars passing after night. I shall however know more about it after I reach Lynchburg. 

You may guess I was in a pretty bad fix about my wardrobe after losing my trunk, but I soon found Will and we went to a clothing store, and I rigged out in the way of shirts, collars, and so forth - 

Will and family are all well. I spent one evening with them. It has been raining every day since Saturday, and is very disagreeable.

Give my love to son and accept my affectionate regard, from your

Affectionate Husband



Richmond VA April 12th/61
My Dear Wife,

I am still here, hoping to recover my trunk but I am about to abandon all hope. The Agent telegraphed yesterday but has received no answer this morning. I have accordingly bought another and if I do not get off tomorrow, I shall do so by Monday. Yesterday was the first dry day since I have been here, and today, it is almost raining again. I took tea with my excellent friend Eckol, night before last and was introduced to his lady and who do you think she is; the widow London whom we met at the Alleghany, and whom we admired considerable. I did not recognize her until after tea, when Mr. E. casually mentioned to me who she was, when I could at once see a resemblance, though she is a good deal broken - She is the same modest, retiring lady she was when you knew her. I enquired for our friend Mrs. Hubert and Ella and expressed a wish to see them; upon which, they insisted on my going, and Mr. Eckol promised to go with me. We went on yesterday and met with a very cordial reception. Ella is large as Lucy Fuller. Mrs. H. is as youthful in appearance as ever. She has a splendid organ in her house which made the finest music I ever heard. We parted with an invitation that I should spend a day with them before leaving the City. She made many enquiries for John Henry and said as Ella had grown too fast for him that she had a niece he might have.

I went to the slave auction on yesterday and determined they should not sell one for me unless they became worse than any we have. I am on a trade today with the proprietors of the American and I think they will give me $900 for Cynth, as she is, and pay all expenses. I am willing to take less for her privately, than to sell her publicly. These men, too, are very kind to all their servants. 

I cannot say when I shall be at home, but will write from Lynchburg. I do not think I shall stop any where else on a/c of the night travel. I shall sue the Company at Lynchburg if my trunk is not found by the time I get there. Give my love to son and urge him to learn a great deal by the time I get home.

Your Affectionate Husband

John T. Smith



Richmond VA April 13/61
My Dear Wife,

I write to inform you that a telegram reached here today about 3 o'clock announcing the capture of Fort Sumpter by the troops of the Confederate States - The attack was made on the previous day about 4 A.M. and on yesterday it surrendered.

There is a perfect furor of enthusiasm here among the secessionists. Cannon has been firing ever since the news was announced in Capitol Square - And all men are wondering was it to be the denouement.  The secession feeling is growing in the East but our members are as firm as rock yet.

Another dispatch has announced that Botts is appointed Sec'y. of War, but this is considered somewhat doubtful. I failed in disposing of Cynth, as I hoped, on account of the fears apprehended of her disease. I shall leave her in the hospital with directions to Mr. Eckols to dispose of her to the best advantage.

I rec'd a telegraph from Mr. Morrison this evening that no news can be heard of my trunk. 

I shall leave here next Tuesday for Lynchburg and when I arrive there I shall see the Company. I have become heartily tired of City life and long for my retired life. Mr. Eckols is still my constant friend ever ready to wait me in every thing needful. I am engaged to dine with him tomorrow.

This is the second dry day since I have been here and it rained the entire night most tremendously. It is so warm tonight as to make fire unnecessary. I say to you again to urge John Henry to preserve in learning. Tell him he can never shine among gentlemen unless he is learned.

I am very affectionately
Your Husband

John T. Smith



Lynchburg, VA April 17th 1861
My Dear Son:

I arrived here last night at 10 oclock, having been delayed from failure to connect at the Junction. I suffered intensely all day from influenza which made its appearance on Sunday morning. I do not suffer so much today with headache, but I am still very poorly. The news is of the most thrilling character. I should not be surprised if the State secedes this week. Instead if she does not the people will compel them to do it. A dispatch arrived this morning that the President has reinforced the Navy Yard at Gusport. If this be true, I do not doubt that any army will be marched immediately to capture it, and also, Harpers Ferry. 

You will see that Lincoln had ordered 75,000 volunteers to be mustered into service to subjugate the Southern States. This is goading the Virginians to madness and there is now but one voice and that for separation.

I am very desirous to get home but as I am too unwell to turn out this cold weather I shall probably stay here till I feel better.

The excitement here is tremendous, all are for fight - Flags are waving from almost every house.

I want you to have all the corn ground harrowed and when necessary ploughed over by the time I get home.

Your Uncle Morrisons family are as well as usual and very glad to see me.

I shall write to you when to meet me. I have not time to write you any more till the mail closes so give my love to your mother and accept my sincere and affectionate regard.

John T. Smith


Lynchburg, VA April 18th/61
My Dear Wife:

I am still very unwell today, more so than yesterday. Still, I cannot forbear coming down to hear the latest news. A dispatch has reached here today that Harper's Ferry has been captured by the VA troops. Every body, here, seems to be on fire. The very women are talking of joining the army.

The soldiers are all in readiness to march at a moments warning. We cannot hear any thing from the Convention as they are still in secret session. But, there is no doubt but we are out of this infamous Union with Yankees. Tell all our neighbors to be rubbing up their guns and to prepare to march when called to repel Lincoln's 75,000 murderers.
I cannot tell when I shall be at home, as I am too unwell to think of turning out yet, and what is more, I would rather wait till the Sup. Court passes, as I should be summoned there every day. Urge the hands to have every thing ready for planting by the time I get home. Have the old orchard cut down broke up and harrowed for sugar cane. Give my love to John Henry and believe me as ever.

Your Affectionate Husband
John T. Smith



Lynchburg, VA April 20th 1861
My Dear Wife:

I write to inform you that by a dispatch last night, we learn that a bloody engagement took place on yesterday at Baltimore between the citizens of that city and a Boston regiment which was on its march to Washington, in which a hundred or more of the enemy were killed and 800 made prisoners while only about 20 of the Baltimoreans lost their lives.

This event has been hailed here with shouts of joy. Our troops are moving on Harpers Ferry and Gusport Navy Yard and other important places. The companies here are burning for a call to the conflict. We send you the latest news by the papers of today. I hope you will impress on our neighbors the war spirit to revenge the outrages offered by Lincoln against our country.

I feel greatly better today than at any time since I have been here, and I shall go to George's tonight. I shall, also, stop at Christiansburg and Wytheville, and get to Lebanon on Friday next, but of this I shall write to you again. I want to get home, but I regret very much to leave the great lines of communication, while events of so thrilling a character are going on. Give my love to son. 

I am Your Affect Husband
John T. Smith

Spread the news.



Lynchburg, VA June 14th 1861
My Dear Son:

I recd your letter of the 10th inst. On the day before yesterday, and though very feeble from an attack of diarrhea, I avail myself of today's mail to answer you. I reached here this morning at 5 « A.M. and find all well.

The news which you will have read before this reaches you of the battle of Bethel Church is fully confirmed. The victory is a most glorious one to the Confed. States. It is now satisfactorily proved that the enemy lost about 300 men, while we lost but one man, and that through his own fool hardiness. 

It is, also, reported on good authority that a second battle has been fought at Phillippi, with a loss of about 100 to the enemy, and a very slight one on our side, whilst our troops have recaptured the village, all the arms lost before, and several cannon besides.

All here is enthusiasm, and all are shouting over our victory. Troops are arriving from the South at the rate of about 10,000 per week. They are greeted every where along the road with the plaudity of a grateful people.

As I received no letter from Richmond, I think I shall go down there on Monday. I wrote to Will to write me a letter at this place; he has written one to Mr. Morrison entirely unsatisfactory.

Write to me again at this place on the recpt of this. Give my love to your mother and my respects to our neighbors and accept the assurance of my affectionate regard from

Your father
John T. Smith



Christiansburg, VA 19th August 1861
My Sister Mary

Be not alarmed when you behold the signature appended to this humble communication. It is not my intention to unloose for a few moments the bonds of silence which hitherto have kept us in (almost) profound silence with regard to each others condition; but now to renew a correspondence, long since abandoned for reason,

I presume unknown to each; that we may be advised in all time to come as to our conditions. I have heard from you occasionally, mere simple statements that you and all with you were well, and such information is but little gratification to those united by the ties formed by nature.

I have not received any direct communication from you since Bro. John was pleased to favor us with a visit (at which time my wife fell in love with him) and I am growing anxious to hear from you.

We have been, and may now be called in large family yet, inroads are being made upon our ranks and will be until twill be but one left on Earth, to keep green in the memory, recollections of former years, places and persons. With the forcible demonstration we have had evidenced the great futility, prospects and aggrandizement of Earthly accumulations, an instance has occurred reminding us of the truthfulness of the declaration "that all flesh is as grass," formed but to wither, created but to expire, set afloat on the boistrous sea of time. To sink and rise in the vast ocean of Eternity, were it not for these ruptures of feelings and association, intended doubtless by God for our immortal and external well-being, we would conclude all mortal save ourselves, and the unwelcome and starting thought of dissolution would never haunt our imagination, or flush the streams of life that course our veins, no never would we think that "corruption, Earth and worms, would have a work to accomplish in refining these vile, frail tenements that enshrine the priceless jewel. Shaped by the hand of Omnipotence, to form the Savior's diadem in Heaven. "Death enters and there's no defense." - I will not attempt a description of that which sickens the heart - the announcement of departed friends, - let it suffice me to say that it seemed to me the hour of darkness and I mourned beneath its power; - here are distresses, losses, partings, and every thing calculated to incite despondency, and cruel the sprit beneath a load too pondrous to be bourne but "there is a land of spirits bright which obey faith I see," where nothing of this kind is known to the inhabitants; thanks be to God for that land, Eternal Glory be to Christ, for the new and living way which has been made accessible; for the fountain for his most precious blood opened for sin and uncleanliness, whereby sin in its deepest dye may be washed away, and man eventually saved, O, Jesus rather than I should forget thee let this stammering tongue, and these limbs be stilled in death. Let me forget my nearest and dearest Earthly friends, even her who bore me, but never O never let me forget thee and what thou hast done for me.

There is consolation in the thought that we all may meet, where the "weary are forever at rest" and by divine assistance I am determined to make my home in that blessed place, there I desire, to meet not only those who have already passed from sorrow, but all who composed the family on Earth.

I must give you some of the news of the village.

Some time since I thought Ellerbe had well night run his race and would shortly enter into the joys of Eternity, he looked as tho' his flesh would soon be unable to hold the spirit, not that he was prostrated on a bed of sickness; but evidently he grew daily weaker, but now he is improving tho' unable to walk about much. Yet I think he will be spared some years to accomplish good on the Earth.

Doubtless you have heard of the death of Dr. Gardner.

All the rest of your friends are well. Aunt Polly appears to be enjoying very good health now and looks much better than she has for some time.

My wife joins in love to you, Sallie, Bro. Jno., Jno. Hen. & all.

Let me hear from you soon.

Your aff and devoted bro.
Wm. A. Wade

Several of Aunt Esther Douglas' family (Ellerbe, Gilson and Anna who was married in Jan to a Mr. Pawley) were here this month and Eliza Anderson went home with them.


Winchester, VA Dec 21st 1861
My Dear Wife:

I arrived here on yesterday morning after a rather wearisome journey from Lynchburg. We left the Junction about dark and reached Strasburg at 10 P.M., and after a nap of two hours on a straw bed in a dirty house, we were roused up to take the hack for this place. I am now in the Hotel formerly kept by Taylor but is at this time a very rough place. My first inquiry after breakfast was for our army which I found encamped three miles from here. My old friends were all very much gratified to see me among whom were the Rays, Howard and Marshall: all of whom are well except Ira Ray who is down with jaundice.

I accidentally learned during the day that John was in town in the employ of Maj. Truhart, and on my return, I went to work to search him out. I inquired for the Ordinance Dept. And when I found it I was told that he was out, whereupon, I was about to leave him my card, but at that moment he turned a corner of the street, saw me and ran to me in double quick time. Maj. T. soon came in, and I was introduced to him and found him a very polished gentleman. I took John over to the hotel and introduced him to Rob and John Lampkin.

The news from Great Britain is most cheering and the first reports are fully confirmed by the papers of this morning. I enclose you three papers just arrived from Richmond, which may contain more than our others.

Read the resolutions of Vallandigham, which is a trap laid for the rogue, to get them committed so that they can't back out. I am going out to the Camp again today and tomorrow John and I are going to Martinsburg to see Ham & Henry who have been ordered there recently with a view to destroy the Chesapeak & Ohio Canal. I learn they are succeeding in accomplishing their object. The people here, as in Lynchburg, are all excitement at the recent news. I have nothing more worth writing at present but may have some thing more interesting by the time I write again.

Give my love to Sarah, John Hand, accept the affectionate regard of your husband,

John T. Smith


Rosedale December 24th 61
Dear Pa

You will doubtless be surprised to hear that one of the Kanawha Rangers has died in our house since you left. They were in a drunken frolic, Dr. Thornton was in the pulpit pretending to preach, while there he was shot through both legs, wishing you to be his surgeon, he made them bring him here immediately believing you were at home. He was brought here Tuesday, the day you went to Abingdon and died Friday evening. He requested Mother to let him be burried on the farm. We found him an intelligent gentleman, much liked by all the company who said he was a perfect gentleman when sober. He was from Kanawha County, was once wealthy, but had spent his property drinking, etc.

Dr. Atkinson, has been with us ever since we came from Abingdon, left this morning for Tazewell and said he would return tomorrow. The cavalry in this county has been ordered to Bowling Green, KY, and will leave in a few days. We have formed the acquaintance of many of the soldiers stationed at the church, and find them very polite, intelligent gentlemen. We are all well and send much love to you. We will expect a letter from you tomorrow.

Your affectionate son
John Henry A. Smith

Census - Inventory of Property (Added by WGS)
Sam, 46; Richmond, 22; Horace, 20; Ambrose, 7; Romulus, 3; Remus, 3; Henry, 3; Stanley, 1; Due, 46; Glouvina, 38; Laura, 24; Camilla, 22; Aurelia, 21; Alice, 18; Leanah, 19; Cynthia, 21; Maria, 16; Dora, 16; Felicia, 14; Lydia, 11; Sophia, 9; Mary, 6; Caroline, 4. Whites males: 1 - 55, 1 - 12; Females, 1 - 44, 1 - 24; Amount of grain: Corn: 1200 bushels; Wheat: 157 bushels; Rye: 87 bushels; Oats: 89 bushels. Horses: 12; Cattle: 60, Hogs: 31, Sheep: 57. Value of Land in Russell Co., 44,000 and Land sold but not deeded: 4,500.

JOHN T. SMITH: 778 acres residence 5446.00; 232 acres Joining same on Price Mountain 464.00; 116 acres joining 778 acre tract 400.00; 75 acres joining Jefso Vermillion Fuller, Jr., 225.00; 200 acres Clinch Mountain Davis place, 900.00; 15 acres same place 60.00; 116 acres joining A. F. Kindricks Kinser, 500.00; 1800 acres Keats Ridge Immel, Tazewell, 2250.00; 330 acres both sides N. F. Clinch of Taylor 1485.00; 182 acres joining same 728.00; 770 acres on Keats Ridge Guison Senrs' 1500.00; 70 acres on north side Clinch R. Hoburn 280.00; 35 acres opposite mouth Musics Branch 122.00; 44 acres Keats Ridge of Kindricks heirs 100.00; 656 acres Warder tract 656.00. A. B. 80 acres of Warder land to be added to the above. 87 acres John Jones Place and various other acreages.

Will of Dr. John T. Smith
In the name of God Amen. I John T. Smith of Russell County and State of Virginia do make this my last Will and Testament as follows that is to say: 

1st - I desire all my just debts and funeral expenses to be paid as soon after my death as it my be conveniently done. 

2nd - I give to my wife Mary D. Smith the place on which I now live including all the land adjacent thereto during her natural life.

3rd - I give to her also all my slaves and their increase until my son John Henry A. Smith shall attain the age of twenty one years.

4th - I give all my other lands to my son John Henry A. Smith on my decease, also on amount of my slaves which shall be equal in value to two thirds as soon as he attains the age of Twenty one years to him and his heirs forever. 

5th - I give to my son John Henry A. Smith the place on which I now live with all the adjoining lands thereto on the decease of my wife Mary D. Smith to him and his heirs forever.

6th - Should my son John Henry A. Smith die before attaining the age of twenty one years, I then give to my wife all my lands and all my slaves and all my other property of ever kind to her and her heirs forever. 

Lastly - I do hereby appoint my wife Mary D. Smith executrix of this my last Will and Testament. In Testimony of the foregoing I have hereinto set my hand and affixed my seal the 3rd day of June 1859.

John T. Smith

At a court held for Russell County on the 4th day of February 1862
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of John T. Smith deceased was produced in court by Mary D. Smith the executrix therein named, and there being no subscribing witnesses thereto, Dale Carter, Henry D. Smith and John W. Lampkin were sworn and severally deposed that they were well acquainted with the Testators handwriting and verily believe the said writing and the name thereto subscribed to be wholly written by the Testators own hand. Whereupon the said writing is ordered to be recorded as the true last Will and Testament of the said John T. Smith deceased. And on the motion of Mary D. Smith the executrix therein named who took the oath of an executrix prescribed by law and entered into and acknowledged her bond in the sum of Fifty thousand dollars with Henry D. Smith and John W. Lampkin as her security conditioned as the law directs. A Certificate is therefore granted her for obtaining probate of the said Will in due form.

R. H. Lynch

A Copy


R. H. Lynch

Letter in sympathy in the passing of Dr. John T. Smith

Saltville Jany 29, 1862
Dear Aunt Mary,

I embrace the first leisure I have had since my return from Richmond a few days ago, to offer you my sympathy and condolence - Your bereavement I know is a heavy one - The sympathy of friends, and all else that Earth can give, must afford very little comfort, to a heart borne down under such a heavy stroke of Divine Providence. But it is all we mortals can offer - It appears to me that much of consolation is to be found in the circumstances of the death of a friend, where they are such as to lead us to believe that to him "Death was the gate to endless joy" - We can then I think resign our last ones - and not even desire their return to this world of sorrow - In this view of the subject I think we all have such great cause for thankfulness to the Great Disposer of human events in granting out departed and lamented friend, his reasoning faculties on a dying bed, a clear view of his approaching end - a praying heart - and above all the hope and resignation of a dying saint - When I think of the lot of many who mourn the loss of a departed companion, I really feel as if I could congratulate you on the lightness of your affliction compared to theirs - taking in view the comforting circumstances of the death of yours - That it may suffice somewhat to lighten your affliction I will mention one instance which is fresh in my mind - My sister Mrs. Headen a few days ago heard of the death of her husband Dr. Headen - He became a lunatic some 6 or 8 years ago - His lunacy was unexpected to him and all his friends, and came on while in his sins - The hope and constant prayer of my sister (who was a praying woman) was that he might have a lucid interval before his death that he might make his peace with God - But this boon for Wise purposes no doubt was withheld - How hard does her lot seem compared to yours - And yet hard as it is I believe that "He that tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb" hath given her grace to submit - and even to kiss the afflicting rod - 

I trust and indeed have no doubt that your faith, with the grace which our Heavenly Father gives his children under severe trials, has enabled you to bear up successfully, under this the greatest affliction of your life - How sweet to the afflicted is that promise "As thy day so shall thy strength be"

We mortals frequently live to see the wisdom and goodness of the Lord in afflicting us and our friends - We sometimes see Him snatch from a family one that is prepared to go - and then see that affliction sanctified in the saving of other members of the family, who before were thoughtless and even wicked - But whether we behold in this world or not the good that is designed for us, or our friends in these and afflictions, we must with resignation submit to them - and rest assured that in another world we shall behold the good designed us by these trials - and beholding, shall feel a fresh incentive to praise the Good Author of them. Let us pray that this affliction may lead to the turning of many friends and relatives of the Dr.'s from the paths of sin to the way of holiness - and especially of that son of his upon whom he doated -

Many joins me in love to you and John Henry - We are all well -

Yours affectionately,
W. Alex: Stuart


Dec 16th 1881 Sent to 

Judge Burn's this day
One day after date I bind myself my heirs to pay Mary D. Smith guardian of her son John Henry A. Smith the sum of two thousand seven hundred & fifty dollars for his interest in the slaves of his grand father's estate they having been this day divided and his for being valued at that sum by persons chosen for that purpose , I have the privilege of holding this money until John Henry arrives at the age of twenty one or to make payment at any time previously in current funds - 

Witness my hand, and
Seal April 26th 1863

H. D. Smith              C. A. Smith (Seal)


Mrs. Smith
My dear friend

being here at Mr. Stuart's (having come yesterday to the burial of Mary) I concluded to drop you a line. But what shall I say? That I was greatly shocked to hear of Mary's sudden demise you may believe truly! But when did death not come unexpectedly? But I am quite assured she sleeps peacefully and that her spirit now basks in the sunshine of Paradise. How little did any of us dream that she and her Uncle John would so soon have met! Our Julia too has gone! Yes! Death has come to our little circle and stolen perhaps the brightest gem! You knew Julia. She knew and loved you all, but her joyous spirit has left the bright scenes of this beautiful earth and gone to a purer clime. I feel that she is safe, while I am left to struggle on. I am now teaching near Chilhowie Springs Smyth Co., VA, 7 mile Ford is my P. O. But why need I tell you, you will never write me a line. Ah! How I have sighed for a good long talk as in the olden times! But it seems that I always miss seeing you. No one loves you as does my Paxton, she has so often recounted me pleasures of her visit to your house. She has always been a sick child, her baby Paul a noble fellow is very feeble, and I doubt it he Survives the Summer. All the connection praise your boy as being smart & noble. I do so desire to see him. Give him and Sarah my love and a kiss and believe me your friend and well wisher.

S. T. Cox

July 5th 1862

Pages 50 to 77

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