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Smith was born 7 Oct 1812 in Tennessee. William Smith a farmer, born in Tennessee
married in Lawrence Co., AL in 1834 and
then moved to Monroe Co., MS by 1836.
is likely the son of
John Smith or
John Smith is found in the 1830
Lawrence Co., AL census and the 1840 Monroe Co., MS census. Abner Smith is in the
1820 & 1830 Lawrence Co, AL census.
William Smith married Elizabeth Beacham or Beachum.
According to Alabama marriages, William Smith married Elizabeth Beacham 16 Oct 1834 in
Lawrence Co, AL and the marriage was performed by C. McDonald. The date fits well
with the children births and Lawrence Co., AL is one county away from Monroe Co., MS where
the family later lived. In addition, William & Elizabeth had a grandchild named
Leonard Beacham Smith, named after Elizabeth Beacham.
Elizabeth, was born 31 Mar 1816 in Kentucky. She is likely the daughter of John Beacham born between 1780 and 1790. John is the
only Beacham in the 1830 Lawrence Co, Alabama census. John Beacham is in Kentucky marriages
where his marriage to Ann Hester 23 Oct 1809 in Logan Co KY, is recorded. John
Beacham's family moved from to Itawamba Co, MS to Lawrence Co., AL. Monroe Co., MS
is next to Itawamba Co, MS where Elizabeth Beacham's family relocated.
In 1840, William, age 20-30,
lived in Monroe Co., MS with his wife and two children under five years
old. They owned one slave, a girl under 10 years old. Nearby was a John Smith,
who was born between 1790 and 1800. John, because of census proximity, (2 names
separating the two) probably was William's father. John had 3 sons, 2
daughters, a wife (age 30 to 40), another female the same age as his wife and a
In 1850, William's wife was listed as Elizabeth Smith born 1816 in
Kentucky. They lived on their own farm, valued at $800, in Monroe Co.,
Mississippi with five children; David, George, John, William Smith and two years
old Franklin Smith.
Just prior to 1854, William and his family immigrated southeast of Austin to Bastrop Co., Texas.
By 1860, William Smith owned his own farm, valued at $8000, southeast
of Austin in Bastrop Co., Texas. Living with him were his eight sons of which
five were school age and attended school. In 1870, William's Bastrop Co., Texas
farm was next to his son's William Jr. Smith. William Sr.'s farm had dropped in
value to $3500, still a good sum, and his son's (William Jr.) was $400. Nearby,
lived another son named John Smith, born in Alabama in 1843. Also there were
several families of blacks whose children were born as early as 1851 in Texas.
The black fathers were farm laborers. Since they moved to Texas about the same time
the Smith's did, they may have been family slaves in Mississippi.
In 1870, W. B. Loper and W. R. Loper were neighbors of William Smith in
Bastrop County. They were both born in Mississippi, in 1835 and 1845
respectively and based on the ages of their children they moved to Texas from
Mississippi about 1868. William Smith of Bastrop Co, TX, 12 Oct 1872, gave his sons (John R., William A., and Franklin Smith) 546 acres of land,
part of L. Loomis tract, along the Colorado River.
The daughter of Marvin Smith, Helen Smith, claimed Smithville, Bastrop Co.,
TX was named after their family. In the 1927 Smithville Times is written
History of their Home City, compiled jointly by Mrs. Arnold E. Adamcik and Mrs.
E. Clay Williams (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txbastro/1920s.htm):
to an old tradition fabulous silver mines were worked by the Mexicans in early
times in this immediate neighborhood. Traditions say that the Mexicans,
fearing an attack by the Indians, buried a large amount of silver not far from
the banks of what is now known as Gazley Creek. Many prospectors are
said to have searched this neighborhood, and the account they gave of
prospective wealth induced Dr. Thomas G. Gageley to visit this section. The
resources of the country claimed him and in 1827 he decided to place his
headright, which was a patent to a league of land, located on the banks of the
Gazeley Creek, named for the first settler, Dr. Gazeley.
about this time a man by the name of John P. Jones came to this settlement,
but nothing can be recalled about him except at one time he is said to have
owned all Smithville.
passed and Dr. Gazley brought his family consisting of a wife and four sons,
Thomas Jr, William, Frank and Ed., and settled on the banks of Gazely Creek.
He brought the first slaves to this locality and one of the most
faithful was known as old Jack Gazeley. The slaves helped him build the
first house built in this vicinity. It
had only one room made by driving cedar posts in the ground and fastening hand
hewn clap boards for weather boarding, and hand made cedar shingles for
roofing. The hose was located on the exact spot where the seed house now
stands. The old slaves filled their days with work, and shirk, pretty
much as the present generation.
years later a man by the name of William Smith
decided to settle in this fertile valley of the Colorado, so he came with his
wife and five sons, Preston (note, Preston is in
error in this article, the son should be William R.), Dudley, Anderson, Frank and
Henry. He built his home, which was a very crudely constructed
affair, on the banks of the river south of what is now the Elbert Thorne home,
between the big clump of knurled oak trees midway between Thorne's and Olin Fite's.
owned all the land where the present High School stands and on back to the old
line that used to mark the division between between Captain Gazeley's and the Smith
property. To give you a vague idea as to where this division point is:
the old oak tree in Mr. Mark Young's back yard was one of the markings.
The line falls so that it cuts through our present depot, and followed along
the Lake Road until it ended near the Lake and cut back in the vicinity of the
Smith home. The river was the other
it interesting to know that when William Smith
divided his property among his sons, he gave Dudley the portion in the northeast part of his territory.
built the original house where Mr. Elbert Thorn is now living. The
coming of the Smiths marked the uplift of
progress in this little settlement. He owned a store and bartered and
traded with the Indians and whites.
settlers began to get word about this ideal location and migrated here.
The Northeast part of the surrounding land, now known as the Hudgins farm, was
owned by a wealthy slave trader by the name of Shipp, his property included
the Lake, called Shipp's Lake in honor of the owner. Mr. Shipp built the
large two story home at the foot of the lake on the river and it remained
standing until a few years ago when it was destroyed by fire. (Mr. Shipp
married one of Mrs. Whitworth's sisters.)
John Fawcett, another settler of note, was born in England. He
originally came to Texas for the purpose of selling race horses, but in 1845
he settled here and built the beautiful two story brick dwelling northwest of
town 150 feet above the Colorado river valley, and up until it was destroyed
by fire a few years ago was one of the most beautiful residences in the state.
The slaves constructed the home out of hand pressed brick, and timber from the
surrounding pine hills. This place was finished long before the Civil
War and was used as a chief lookout for the Indians, due to its ideal
location. Some of us have visited the little cumpalo atop of the two
story mansion many times.
was not peaceful in these days. The brave little band of settlers in their
struggle for existence lived in constant terror and were increasingly on the
lookout for the warlike Comanche Indians. General Edward Blakely
Burleson, one of the first white male children born in Bastrop County, who
lived on the headright across the Colorado river at the mouth of Alum Creek,
played quite a prominent part in the days of the Indians. The friendly
Tonkowa tribe was a help to the white settlers and Chief Plasado and his
thirty warriors assisted him in his many skirmishes with the savages.
the Battle of Brushy, fought in what is now Williamson County, the whites
being commanded by General Edward Burleson, and the Comanche's under command
of their Warlike Chief. Captain Jake Burleson, a brother of Edward, was
in advance of the Texas army, and came upon the Indians while cooking their
noonday meal. The Captain ordered his men to dismount and fire, and
after hitching their horses in a grove, the twelve men turned a deadly volley
of rifle balls of the savages, but the Indians proving too much for the little
company of twelve men, Captain Burleson ordered the boys to mount and fall
back. One of his boys, only fourteen years of age, in his excitement mounted
his horse while yet hitched to the tree. The Captain saw the condition
of the boy, dismounted his horse, cut the rope, but as he was again mounting
was shot dead. The Indians cut off his right hand and foot; took out his
heart thinking all the while that he was General Edward Burleson, their sworn
is said the last Indian War dance in this part of the country was held out
here at the forks of the road at the end of the lane across the river under
the six or eight big oak trees on your left as you turn to Winchester.
The Comanche's were on their way to attack the settlers and were met on Rock
Hill and turned back by the friendly Tonkowas. Oh, it was good to see
the Tonkawas on Warpath.
people who had ventured this far, and also had suffered attacks from the
Indians, and inconveniences of pioneer life were Captain D. O. Hill, father of
Mr. Ollie Hill, who came in 1835 and settled near Smithville.
W. Hill located twelve miles southeast of Bastrop in 1838 - and in 1875 the
firm of Yerger Hill and Son came in to existence. It was later moved to New
Smithville, in 1888.
passed and in about 1860 there were rumors of war between the states, and the
brave and adventurous little band of men rallied to their commander and
bravely marched away to fight the Yanks. Men who went from the vicinity
of Smithville were: Eight boys from Hill family, T. J. Taylor, Wh. Foxel, John
Claiborne, Jack Conner, John Burleson, and Aaron Burleson.
Gazley built the first store, and it was located where Mr. Charles Stitler's
home now stands, and he operated it until just before the Civil War at which
time his death occurred.
store became the center of the Town's business life. The year after the
war Mr. John Fawcett owned and operated a store, but sold it in 1867 to Dr.
Taylor, the first Doctor to arrive here, who later took Murray Burleson,
another of the early settlers, and also a brother-in-law of Dr. Taylor, into
partnership. Three years later Dr. Taylor sold his interest to Mr. Smith
and that left Burleson and Smith handling an
extensive trade. The home of Mr. Olin Fite is located on the exact spot
where this store stood. This little town of Old Smithville has been
named in honor of William Smith, one among the
was unusually hard in those days. There were very few comforts to be had
at any price. The average attire for men was Jeans pants, cotton check
shirts, high top boots or brogans and broad brim hats. Many people wore
blankets instead of coats in bad weather. Rawhide was much used. It was
a common remark that Texas was tied together with rawhide, so many were its
uses - used on bedsteads instead of slats, instead of leather for bridles and
harness and chair bottoms.
of chills and fever were not uncommon. Quinine sold from $5.00 to $7.00
an ounce. The first tragedy was the shooting and killing of William
Gazley and his son, Thomas by Aaron Burleson, then about two weeks later
Burleson was killed by a man hired to murder him.
in spite of all these hard timers, and ill feelings the staunch little band
managed to enjoy life occasionally in the pastimes of the day. The old
Square Dance being among the foremost in entertainment, and who was more
popular at this time than the old time fiddler who knew all the popular times
such as "Pop Goes the Weasel" etc., and "Diggin' Taters in
Sandy Lane" -
the story could be told about a certain citizen of high standing that
overindulged in a drink of a certain drink of a certain liquid and became
pretty much of a nuisance and was hailed into the honorable court the
following day, the same being held under one of the numerous live oak trees
that are still standing in our present day community. There is no doubt
that much true nobility was found in these open air courts.
first little school house was a one room edifice located right in the middle
of what is now Main Street, at the end of the river bridge.
Wagons trains were used to haul the cotton from Bastrop and this section to
Brownsville where it at one time brought 40 cents a pound. A story is
told by Mr. Dawson in Bastrop that at one time he was driving an ox wagon to
Brownsville with a load of cotton and was returning with a load of salt, and
suddenly the oxen having became thirsty turned off to the side and stubbornly
stumbled on, tearing down rail-fences, tracking newly planted fields and never
stopping until they reached a well where they stayed until they were watered.
It is said they went by Upton and Smithville.
1846 the last herd of buffalos was seen in this country. They were fastly
dying out then. They crossed the river at the mouth of Gazeley Creek at
the "old Buffalo" crossing and went up the river bottom to the
Fawcett home. Mr Fawcett shot one but finding it very poor, he kept only the
hide, throwing away the remains of the last buffalo ever killed in this part
of the country. The old trail is still dimly marked but very few know
where the place is.
first gin was built by Mr. Grassmeyer and was run by horse power.
of these earliest families had separate graveyards - The Gazley Cemetery was
on the Rosanky Road is one of the oldest in the State of Texas. The old Oliver
graveyard, which is a part of the Hill Cemetery is to the Northwest of the
town. The John Hill Cemetery is Northeast of town just opposite the
the most interesting among these is the original Smith
Cemetery which is located two and a half miles east of here. There are
very few if any who know the exact place of this burying ground. The
Burleson Cemetery is about two miles west on the banks of the Colorado River.
It is very near the old Hardeman home, better known as the Burleson place.
Presbyterian Church, founded September 24, 1871, was the first organized
church in this immediate vicinity. Mr. J. M. Renick was the first
pastor. The first meeting was said to have been held under a large live
oak tree on the Hudgins farm. Later, meetings were possibly held under
the tree that is in the backyard of the present Buesher home. Later the
other churches were duly organized.
was along in 1881 that another event of interest occurred. Sass and
Rosinfield operated a store here where Verge Rabbs house now stands. Dr.
J. H. E. Powell had just located here as a yound doctor.
Saturday evening in November as night began to fall a robbery occurred.
The store was one long room with a door in each end. Mr. Sass and his clerk
were behind the counter, two or three men were lounging around when two masked
men walked in, two remaining at the door and one at the back, and demanded
gold. They were told no gold was at the store and they demanded to be
taken over to the house to get the gold in the horse-hair trunk. After
this order was carried out, they returned to the store, Dr. Powell, having
walked in on them while they were going through the trunk was ordered back to
the store with them and there they continued in their high handed manner.
people located here were the J. M. Renicks, Mr. S. A. Camer, Mr. John Hudgins
(1883), Mr. B. J. Gresham, the Saunders, Mr. C. C. Cockrill, and many others
along with Z. P. Eagleston, father of the late Ed. Eagleston.
came here and made plans for the coming of a railroad that would connect with
San Antonio as well as the North. Mr. Murray Burleson donated the
original tract of land for the depot. Colonel Giddings from Giddings
played an important role in the signing of legal documents and official
arrangements of this new deal.
were seventeen families in this immediate townsite at the time the railroad
was built. A townsite Committee was formed consisting of Murray
Burleson, Colonel Hopper, H. G. Fleming and John Herrin. They divided
the town into lots giving each church the land on which they are now located.
little settlement that had previously been located on the banks of the
Colorado was known as old Smithville, having held that name for many years.
But now that the railroad was coming a new name was under consideration,
because the town would be moved near the tracks. Murray Burleson had
played such a prominent part in the new arrangements that "Burlesonville"
was considered, but the older inhabitants wanted the old name - so they
flipped a coin to decide - on Smithville or Burlesonville. And so
Smithville it stayed!
new railroad was called the T. B. & H. - Taylor, Bastrop and Houston.
It stopped at Boggy Creek near LaGrange where the turn was made for the return
trip. Seven years after the first train the division was brought here
and prosperity was in evidence on every hand. A great free barbecue had
been prepared and on August 27, 1887, the first train blew its way into the
little town of Smithville. People came from Winchester, LaGrange,
Flatonio, West Point, Alum Creek, Pearidge, and Paige to see this wonderful
sight. Children came to see their first train, many of them becoming
frightened and running away.
committee of welcome was on hand and delivered the flowery speech on this
Jane Saunders, Mrs. Jimmie Jones, Dr. Powell and a few others in our town
today were present on this great occasion. Mr. Ch. Turney was conductor.
Mr. C. M. Still was engineer on this train which came from Taylor and brought
passengers from every town along the route, Granger, Elgin, Bastrop, Hills
Prairie, where Mr. A. P. Lowry and his brother were persuaded to get on . This
first train was a long line of flat cars with planks nailed across for seats creaking
along. Much excitement was in the air. The train was due any
minute! The crowd grew more excited! Whistles!
whistles could be heard in the distance! The train was coming! The crowd
rushed madly over! Greetings were exchanged. The children screamed in
fear! The brakes were applied-
train had arrived! The band boys proudly stepped from the train and burst
forth into a spirited march. The excited crowd joyously fell into step
and followed the band to the barbecue grounds on Gazeley Creek where a big
barbecue was spread under the great oak trees in celebration of the coming of
the first train to the little town of Smithville on August 27, 1887.
seven years time the M. K. and T. had incorporated that Taylor, Bastrop and
Houston road into it's system, and had surveyed and built a branch road to San
Antonio. On Sept. 1, 1894 the rail road shops with a working force of 500 men
was brought here from Taylor and Alvorado. Over night the population of
the village doubled. Every family shared their homes with the new
comers, and still men were forced to sleep on porches in box cars and on the
railroad platforms. Houses sprung up like mushrooms and in a few years
the population had reached 3,000.
1894 the first newspaper was established which still serves the community
1901 the first bridge was built over the Colorado River at the end of Main
street displacing the ferry in use. The flood of 1913 destroyed this
bridge. A year later the present bridge was erected, higher and stronger
than the first one.
has always spent a great deal of time and money on good roads. This precinct
was one of the first in the state to vote bonds for good roads in 1912.
The earliest residents of the town had the streets in front of their property
graveled, and in 1924 the first paved streets were laid. Today there are
5 miles of paving in the city limits.
little Methodist Church erected before the railroad came which, served as a
community church has been replaced by the handsome brick edifices of the
Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic Churches. The Christian,
Lutheran and Assembly of God denominations own comfortable frame buildings.
public school system has grown from that small school opened on June 4, 1888
under Prof. G. D. Scott to three separate division - The Grammar School, High
School and Colored School Systems. The buildings are modern and well
equipped, the faculty trained in modern pedagogy and methods. Barry
Athletic Field is considered one of the finest in the State.
City Hall, a Colonial brick structure erected in 1916 has recently been
modernized and redecorated. The auditorium seating 300 people has a
grand piano on the stage.
High School Auditorium used for larger audiences boasts a splendidly equipped
stage with beautiful scenery and lighting effects. The piano there is a
Steinway concert grand.
the Grammar and High School P. T. A's are active forces for cultural and civic
Woman's Club maintains a Public Library as part of their civic work. A
recent flower show sponsored by them was said by critics to have been worthy
of any city. A nationally known judge added prestige and authority to
this exhibit. The Woman's Club in addition to a regular study course
brings to the city from time to time out-standing lecturers and artists.
Lion's Club organized in March 1927 lives up to it's creed by encouraging
scholarship in the schools, sponsoring an annual community Christmas tree and
for the past two years a series of community programs during the summer
Chamber of commerce pays a full time secretary to look after its interests.
The farmers of this section have been greatly benefited by the meetings
arranged for them through the Chamber of Commerce, where soil and fertilizer
experts have lectured. The Chamber of Commerce bought a canning outfit
for the farmer's use several years since. In 1934 the Chamber of
Commerce bought a brick building and equipped it for a modern canning plant
which is running over time to take care of the rural and urban canning needs.
has one of the finest Swimming Pools in the State. Buesher Park will
soon be an ideal recreation spot.
on the M. K. & T. Railroad on Highways 71 and 95 Smithville is easy of
access. Her wide, tree lined streets, beautiful houses and yards bespeak
Garden Club especially pledges it's members to the further beautification of
the yard and gardens.
those first settlers failed to find the silver legend told about tho
bequeathed to their descendants more precious heritage.
in those unsettled days of Texas' struggle for independence Smithville's
founders shared in the Titanic effort and glorious victory.
people of Smithville are proud of that heritage. The indominitable will
which guided those pioneers still lives in her citizens and she will continue
wife, Elizabeth, died 7 Jun 1870 in Bastrop Co, TX. The
photograph on the left is picture of Elizabeth Beacham Smith
was taken in Gatesville, Coryell Co., TX.
On 8 May 1871 William Smith wrote his will in Bastrop Co., TX:
"... to my three Eldest sons
John R., William R. and Franklin Smith the North Half of my Farming Land
between the River and a Ditch that runs across the South end of my farm also
the entire front on the River that may not be deemed fit for cultivation with
all the improvements with the exception of those that have been put there by
other parties they may be moved when my three Eldest sons think it expedient,
I also give to my three Eldest sons all of my timbered Land south of Lake
Creek, the residue of the farm and timbered Land I give bequeath and dispose
of as follows to wit to my three youngest sons Dudley, Henry C. and Anderson Smith,
with all the improvements there on, the above farm being situated in Bastrop
County, Texas and known as a portion out of the west half of the Louis Loomis
League No, my Personal Estate after my four sons Franklin, Dudley, Henry C.
and Anderson is made Equal with what I have here to forgave to my two Eldest
son which will be found charged against them, the residue is to be divided
Equally between all six of the Boys, if either of my Children shall before
such division have died leaving lawful issue such issue to receive the parents
share but if there be no issue then such share to fall into the general fund
to be divided among the survivors the manner before directed, Likewise I, make
institute and appoint my three Eldest sons John, William R. and Franklin Smith
to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament here by revoking all former
Wills by me made in Witness Whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and
affixed my seal, the Eighth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand
Eight Hundred and Seventy One." William Smith (seal)
witness: W. B. Loper, Bastrop Co.
Texas W. R. Loper, Bastrop Co. Texas John B. Williams, Bastrop Co. Texas
William Smith died 4 May 1873 Bastrop, Bastrop, TX. He is
buried in the Smith Family Cemetery, Smithville area, Bastrop Co., Texas.
3/31/1816 - 6/7/1870 Wife of William. Our Mother
Smith, William 10/7/1812
- 5/4/1873 Our Father. Founder of Smithville
On 20 Jan 1874, probably
from William's estate, John R. Smith received 333 1/3, 65 1/6 and 117 acres
partials originally purchased from W. J. Jones along the Colorado River and Lake
Creek. Franklin Smith received about 65 1/6 acres next to John Smith and along
the Colorado River and 117 acres near Lake Creek. William R. Smith received a 65
1/6 and 117 acre tracts of land purchased by his father William from F. W. Grassmeyer. This deed was witnessed by Jonathan P. Jones, Notary Public, and
Jonathan B. Taylor. For the sum of $1000 in gold and a note for $800 @ 10% per
annum interest, John R. Smith sold to Dudley Smith of Bastrop County 117 acres
along the west bank of the Colorado River, 15 Dec 1874.
Many of William Smith's children and grandchildren settled in Fort Worth, Texas and in the Texas Panhandle.
William and Elizabeth had nine known children
(in parenthesis is age in census records):
William had a
daughter whose name is unknown, born between 1835 and 1840, probably in Alabama.
2. David Preston Smith
born 1836 in Alabama. (1850-14, 1860-24) David served in Terry's Texas Rangers, the
8th Texas Cavalry Regiment, 1861-1865 from Bastrop Co, TX. He mustered in with company D
on 7 Sep 1861 in Houston, TX. He died from illness at Bowling Green, KY on 26 Nov 1861.
3. George Smith was born
1840 in Monroe Co., Mississippi. (1850-10, 1860-20)
Since George is not mentioned
in his fathers will of 1871 and has not been found in the 1870 census, he died before 1871.
George Smith served in the
Civil War from Bastrop County as a Corporal in the Confederate 17th TX Infantry Company
F. Also in Company F is his brother, John R. Smith. Photo is the 17th Texas
Infantry Company F Battle Flag.
4. John Ricerd Smith born
1843 in Alabama. (1850-7; 1860-17, 1870-27) John
served with his brother in the 17th TX Infantry Company F, and in the
17th TX Infantry Company G. Photo is of the17th Texas Infantry Company F Battle
Flag. John married in Bastrop Co, TX, 25 Dec 1865, to
Mizella Van Hook.
5. William Rupert Smith Jr. was
born Oct 1845 in Monroe Co, MS. (1850-5; 1860-15, 1870-25, 1900-10/1846, 1910-64,
1920-74) He married Tempy Gage "Tempie" 26 Sep
1866 in Bastrop Co., TX. William died 5 Feb 1922 in Waco, McLennan, Texas.
Franklin Smith "Frank" was born Feb 1848 in Monroe
Co, MS. (1850-2; 1860-12, 1870-22, 1880-32,1900-2/1848, 1910-62, 1920-71) Frank married Sibbie Allie Graham 20 Dec 1876 in Bastrop Co, Texas.
7. Dudley Smith, son of William and
Elizabeth Smith, was born Sep 1850 in Monroe Co, MS. (1860-10, 1870-19,
1880-28, 1900- 9/1850, 1910-59) Dudley married Eliza
Elizabeth Darwin "Bettie" more than likely, in Bastrop Co., Texas.
Clay Smith was born 1 Nov 1853 Salado, Bell Co, TX. (1860-6, 1870-17,
1880-26; 1900 11/1853, 1910-56, 1920-67) Henry married
Ida Serene Standerfer 11 Nov 1885 Bosque Co, TX.
9. H. Anderson Smith
born Feb 1857 in Texas. (1860-3, 1870-13, 1900 -2/1859, 1910-653, 1920-62;
1930-73) About 1880, Anderson married
Lena Cara Cobb "Leana"