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John W. Smitherman, Sr.

Submitted by Margie Nell Smitherman & Gary McMillian

According to his tombstone, John W. Smitherman, Sr. was born 24 March 1783. Census records list that he was born in Va. John W died 27 April 1864, in Bibb County, Alabama.

John W. Smitherman served in the War of 1812 under Sgt. Rolly Spinks [who also came to Bibb Co., Al.]. He served in the 5th Regiment 4th Company detached from the Randolph Regiment from Randolph Co. NC.

John W. Smitherman and family first appeared in the 1830 US Bibb Co., Al. Census. His household consisted of:1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 2 males 10-15, 1 male 40-50 [this is John W who would have been age 47], 1 female under 5, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 40-50 [this is Martha J who would have been age 40], and 1 female 60-70 [this is probably the mother of Martha J]. According to census data on his children he and his wife Martha arrived in Alabama after 1817 when son Garrett/Garry was born in NC, and before 1819 when son James was born in Alabama.

John W Smitherman SR's wife was Martha J. [middle initial comes from her tombstone. No record has been found to indicate what the J stood for.], and her maiden name is unknown. There has not been a marriage record located for John W and his wife Martha J. It is however safe to assume that they were probably married somewhere in NC, since Martha J. and their three oldest children were born in NC according to census records. Her tombstone tells us that Martha J. was born 9 March 1790 and died 20 January 1871.

In 1831 John Smitherman obtained two land patents in Bibb Co., Al. These included 159.4 acres [quarter section] NE Section 4 Township 22 North Range 11 E from the Cahaba land office purchased 5/17/1831. The second land patent was for 79.89 acres [half of a quarter section] W ½ SE Section 33 Township 23 N Range 11 E from the Tuscaloosa land office purchased on 7/1/1831. There were 2 land patent purchases made by John Smitherman on 1 October 1835 in Sections 3 and 4 containing approximately 40 acres each. In 1837 there was another land patent for 39.355 acres in section 3. Then in 1839 there was another land patent for 79.89 acres in Section 33 [half of a quarter section]. These were without doubt sold to John W Smitherman Sr. since his son John W Jr. would have only been 16 at the time of the 1839 patent and the other John Smitherman in Bibb Co. was also not of age [son of Thomas 1788]. It is not known at this time exactly how much land John W Sr. had acquired and sold by the time of his death.

On 7 November 1864 the administrators on the estate of John Smitherman petitioned the court to sell the property of John Smitherman. Property was listed as
[1.] NE ¼ of the SE ¼ Section 4 Township 22 Range 11 E [note: this land consisted of 39.85 acres and was obtained by John Smitherman on 1 October 1835.]

[2.] SE ¼ of the SW ¼ Section 34 Township 23 Range 11 E [note; this consisted of 39.65 acres and was originally obtained by John Smitherman on 1 June 1858 at the Tuscaloosa Land Office.

[3.] SE ¼ of the NE ¼ Section 5 Township 22 Range 11 E [note: this consisted of 40.35 acres and was originally obtained by John W Smitherman on 10 August 1850]

[4.] W ½ of the NE ¼ Section 4 Township 22N Range 11 E [note: on the land patents this property is listed as simply NE and contains 159.40 acres of land, and was originally purchased by John Smitherman on 17 May 1831].

[5.] NW ¼ Section 4 Township 22 Range 11 E [note: this must be the NW ¼ of the NW ¼ which was obtained by John Smitherman on 15 July 1854 and consisted of 39.85 acres.]

The following is a list of personal property of John Smitherman sold on 19 January 1865 to the highest bidder.

1 lot wheat 5 bushels - Wm Smitherman $75.00
1 Band & box - M Fulgham $1.00
1 Thrasher - J R Fulgham $5.00
1 Fan - J R Fulgham $4.00
1 Gin Band - J R Fulgham $33.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6 - Wm Craven $150.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6 - James Latham $150.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6 - Jno R Fulgham $150.00
1 lot corn 50 bushels $2.50 - Martha Smitherman $125.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6. - Wm. Barnett $150.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6.20 - Jno R Fulgham $155.00
1 lot corn 25 bushels $6.25 - Wm. Barnett $156.25
1 lot Fodder 500lb $8.00 - J A Butler [? sp.] $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb $8.00 - Wm Craven $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb. $8.00 - J A Butters $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb. $8.00 - Jno Smitherman $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb. $8.00 - Wm. Craven $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb. $8.00 - Jno Smitherman $40.00
1 lot fodder 500lb. $8.00 - Jno R Fulgham $40.00
1 lot oats 5 bushel $4.50 - L J Law $22.50
1 lot oats 5 bushel $5.00 - L J Law $25.00
1 lot oats 3 bushel $5.00 - L J Law $15.00
1 Grind stone - Martha Smitherman $1.00
1 Clock - Martha Smitherman $5.00
1 Bed & Bed stead - M Fulgham $77.00
1 Shot gun - Wm. Craven $6.75
1 Yearling - Rolly Spinks $13.75
Slaves Willis & Gracy - Martha Smitherman $4,000.00
Slave, Viney - Martha Smitherman $800.00
Slave, Margaret - Martha Smitherman $1,605.00
Slaves, Sylva & 2 children - Lucy Smitherman $8,000.00
Slave, Jsume [? sp.] - Jno R Fulgham $4,060.00
Slave, Alex - David Wells $2,305.00
Slave, Carson - M Fulgham $3,625.00
40 Acres of land - Lucy Smitherman $75.00
40 acres of land - Rolly Smitherman $41.00
80 acres of land - M Fulgham $800.00
80 acres of land - Martha Lawrence $760.00
80 acres of land - Martha Lawrence $500.00
40 acres of land - Jno R Fulgham $80.00

Sworn to & subscribed to before me in open court the 11th day of December 1865
Jackson Gardner Judge of Probate

Other personal property sold

3 cows and calves $130.00
1 bull $50.00
6 head of dry cattle $150.00
1 wagon $100.00
4 ___ and Cradles $15.00
2 ____ Stands $10.00
1 fan and thresher $10.00
1 lot of barrels and Boxes $5.00
1 Yoke of oxen's $100.00
1 lot of tools $10.00
1 lot of flax $25.00
1 Brandy $4.00
1 lot of old axes $3.00
3 grinding hoes $3.00
1 Spade and shovel $8.00
2 Frames $1.00
1 Plowstock and gear $3.00
2 crosscut slaws $15.00
2 weeding hoes $ .50
10 Stand of bees $30.00
1 set of Smith tools $50.00
1 log chain $4.00
1 small mule $100.00
1 large mare ___ $130.00
1 Bay mare $20.00
1 Sorrel filly $20.00
1 g-lot of barrels $30.00
7 sides of tanned leather $100.00
14 sides of un-tanned leather $100.00
1 pair of Milards $3.00

The following is a list of notes held by John Smitherman at the time of his estate settlement:

1. One note on A J Smitherman for $183.85 due Jan. 1, 1852
2. One government receipt for twelve hundred dollars
3. One Note Garry Smitherman for $1000 dollars dew September the 1, 1862. Also one given the same time $68.19
4. One note on Charles H Ray for $300 dollars dew Dec the 25th 1861.
5. Note on William L Lawrence for $50 Dollars dew April the 6. 1861
6. Note on James Smitherman for $294 Dollars and 29 cents dew Oct the 1. 1858
7. Note on Rolly Smitherman for $100 Dollars dew Oct the 10. 1863 with a credit of $34 Dollars April the 21. 1864
8. Account on Andrew J Smitherman for $50 Dollars given July the 16. 1859
9. Note on Mike Fulgham for $450 Dollars dew Jan the 1. 1860
10. Note on Jesse Smitherman for $62 Dollars dew Jan the 1, 1849 Credit of $44 dollars December the 25. 1850
11. Money on hand to the amount $491 Dollars and sixty cent.

July the 4. 1864
T. J. Fitts
James Latham
John Hicks

John W. Smitherman and wife Martha J. are both buried in what is known today as the Fulgham Family Cemetery located near the present day Antioch Road in Bibb Co., Alabama. John W. Smitherman appears to have been the first person buried in this cemetery in 1864. His wife Martha J. was the second person buried there in January 1871. Next follows their daughter Margaret A. Smitherman Fulgham [wife of Michael Fulgham] who died 18 October 1881. Then there is, John R. Fulgham b. 8 May 1802 d. 9 August 1882 [husband of Sarah "Sally" Smitherman eldest child of John W & Martha J. Smitherman]. The last and only other person buried in this cemetery with a marked tombstone is, Michael Fulgham [husband of Margaret A. Smitherman Fulgham, daughter of John W & Martha J Smitherman] b. 18 Jan. 1812, d. 25 October 1897.

According to the estates of John W Smitherman Sr. and his wife Martha J. they had the following children:
1. SARAH SMITHERMAN b. ca.1815 NC. Sarah married John R. Fulgham on 3 Feb. 1831 in Bibb Co., Al. We have not found a marked tombstone for Sarah "Sally", however her husband John R. is buried at the Fulgham Family Cemetery. John and Sally had 12 children that we know of, many of whom moved to Texas.
2. NANCY SMITHERMAN b. ca 1816 NC. Nancy married William Smelley on 20 December 1845 in Bibb Co., Al. NOTE: In the 1850 US Bibb Co., Al. census there was a Martha Smelley age 4 listed in the household of John Smitherman Sr. and wife Martha.
3. GARRETT GARRY SMITHERMAN b. ca 1817 NC. Listed on marriage record as Garry Smitherman. Married Mary Whittle on 28 Feb. 1837 Bibb Co., Al. He and his family moved to Texas. In 1860 was living in Houston Co., Texas. Garrett Garry died about 1862 in Texas. It is interesting to note that John W Smitherman Sr. served with a Garrett Spinks in the War of 1812 and then later named a son Garrett. At the time of John Smitherman's death, his estate listed that Garry had the following children: (1) Sarah of full age, (2.) James Smitherman, (3.) Joseph M Smitherman, (4.) Mary F Smitherman, (5.) George W Smitherman, (6.) Richard Smitherman, (7.) Susan Angeline Smitherman and (8.) Hetty Ann Elizabeth Smitherman all minors under the age of 14 years of age and all residents of the State of Texas.
4. JAMES SMITHERMAN b. ca 1819 AL. He married Lucretia Susan Childress Jones [widow of Thomas Watson Jones] on 28 December 1843 in Bibb Co., Al. James died 3 August 1863 in Bibb Co., Al. His widow and his children later moved to Louisiana. His widow died in April 1903 in Liberty Hill, Louisiana. To this union was born 11 children. NOTE: In a biography of James Smitherman compiled until 1 July 1952. The biography appears to have been written by one of the daughters of Robert Grandison Smitherman because it states "my father". In this there is a notation that lists: "The family Bible belonging to James and Lucretia Childress Smitherman contains an elaborate history of the Smitherman family, as well as that of the Childress family, but before the death of Lucretia she gave her Bible to her daughter Priscilla Taylor, and unless it has been destroyed should now be in the possession of either Lucy Taylor Cole or Crawford Taylor, her brother, who presently lives at Arcadia, Louisiana". This Bible has not been located at the present date. I have a note listing that Crawford Taylor passed away in 1971.
5. JOHN W SMITHERMAN JR b. ca 1823 AL John W Jr. married Dolley Whittle on 20 December 1845 in Bibb Co., Al. Dorotha/Dolley/Dolly/Dollie was the sister of Mary Whittle, and they were the only children of James Whittle and Sarah Gardner. At the time of his father's death in 1864 John W Jr. was listed as deceased and his heirs all resided in Houston Co., Texas. In 1860 John W Jr. was still living and his family was residing in Bibb Co., Al. In order to qualify for a land grant of 1280 acres in Texas, his widow testified that he was killed in the Civil War.
6. MARGARET SMITHERMAN b. 10 December 1833 AL d. 18 October 1881 and is buried at the Fulgham Family cemetery, Bibb Co., Al. Margaret married Michael Fulgham on 4 December 1851 in Bibb Co., Al. with consent of her father.
7. ANDREW SMITHERMAN b. 1836 AL. Married Mahala Corley on 14 September 1856 in Bibb Co., Alabama. Andrew was deceased at the time of his father's death. His heirs were listed as Sarah A M Smitherman and Mary M Smitherman, residents of the State of Louisiana.

It is tragic that all four sons of John W. Sr. died due to war (and other unknown causes) prior to his own death in 1864.

There have been several assumptions as to the father of John W Smitherman. Some researchers feel that he was the son of Samuel Smitherman Jr. who remained in Wood Co., Va. [later W. Va.]. This has always been the accepted belief. From looking at tax records and other data it is more likely that he was actually the son of Thomas Smitherman Sr. who died 1812 NC. Thomas' two oldest children were born in Va. prior to the 1784 tax rolls. Thomas' eldest son was also listed as John. Most of Thomas' children came to Bibb Co., Al. about the same time that Thomas' brother William Smitherman Sr. and his family left NC and came to Bibb Co., Al. This was also the same time that John W Smitherman and family left from NC and moved to Bibb Co., Al.

SOURCES: US Alabama Census records 1830-1880. Marriage records of Bibb Co., Al. US Texas Census records. Estate of John W Smitherman Sr. Estate of Martha Smitherman, Loose papers on estate of John Smitherman Sr.

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