SMITH, Robert Sr - I72245

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Robert Smith Sr was born in Kirton in Holland Lincolnshire, England, (FamilySearch Person Page). His father Edward Smith (1570-1632) was also born in Kirton in Holland, and migrated to Wood Enderby, Lincolnshire where he married Margaret Flayne in 1592, (Wood Enderby parish record, Marriages 1592). After a time, they returned to Kirton in Holland where their son Robert Smith was born and baptized 5 March 1595 (Kirton in Holland parish record Baptisms 1595). They remained in Kirton in Holland until their passing. The records show that Robert Smith (1595–1643) was a householder and spent his life as a resident of Kirton in Holland parish despite various epidemics from 1600–1625 that caused many families to relocate (Kirton in Holland parish record, Burials, 1643; Fea,2020; Wood, 2020).

On 1 June 1624, Robert married Miss Grace Watson (Kirton in Holland parish record, Marriages, 1624). Grace Watson was born to parents Andrew and Ann Butcher Watson and was baptized in 1610 in the port city of Boston, Lincolnshire (Boston Botolph parish record, Baptisms, 1610). Before her marriage to Robert, Grace Watson and her family attended services at the Boston Botolph parish. John Whittingham, who played a significant role in the Smiths’ later migrations, was baptized in 1616 (Boston Botolph parish record, Baptisms) and participated in the services of the same parish as Grace.

Robert and Grace’s first son Thomas (patronym for Robert’s grandfather) was baptized in May 1624, in Kirton in Holland and was buried about 19 months later in November of 1625 (Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1624; Burials, 1625). Their second son William (patronym for his great uncle William who settled in Haydor) was baptized 30 January 1625, and was buried the “same day” as noted by Vicar John Vues (Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1625; Burials 1625). Both sons possibly died from the 1625 plague and were buried in the Kirton in Holland parish (Wood, P. H. “Infection unperceiv’d, in many a place”: The London plague of 1625, viewed from Plymouth Rock. We’re History.Wood, 2020). William may have died due to complications during his delivery. Their third son Robert (named for his father) had to have been born as a surviving twin to William for his birthdate to fit with William’s baptism and death. Pregnancy and delivery, or perhaps due to the epidemic of 1625 that may have taken her other sons (Kirton in Holland parish record, Burials, 1625/6). This left Robert Sr. with an infant son who needed to be baptized and cared for in the wake of grieving and sudden single parenthood. Two months after his mother’s death, Robert Jr. was baptized in Kirton in Holland parish on 30 April 1626 (Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1625/6).

Nine months later, Robert met and married Margareta Gibson 14 November 1626 in Kirton in Holland (Kirton in Holland Parish Records Marriages). (Also see Margareta’s Life Sketch). They along with along with infant Robert Smith Jr., began their new life together and remained in Kirton in Holland after Margaret and Robert’s marriage.

Robert and Margaret had eight children together: 1) William (patronym for Margaret’s father and possibly in honor of Robert and Grace’s deceased son, 1627–1709), 2) Susan (1628–1629), 3) Katherine (1629–1629), 4) John (1631–1638), 5) Samuel (1633–1636), 6) Thomas (1634-1635), 7) Grace (patronym for Robert Sr.’s first wife, unbaptized–1635), and 8) Susan (1637–1637) (Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1627, 1628, 1629, 1631, 1633, 1634, 1635, 1637; Burials, 1629, 1629, 1638, 1636, 1635, 1637; see Robert Sr’s Person Page). At this point it must be mentioned that the only children of Robert Smith Sr. to survive to adulthood were Robert Jr. and William, who both emigrated to America with John Whittingham in 1638—and consequently took all of Robert Smith Sr.’s Y chromosomes with them to Northeastern Colonial America. This provides a reason for why there is no apparent DNA evidence of this Smith family existing now in Lincolnshire, England, as noted by Ugo Perego (De Groote, 2008, para. 20).

The most likely reason for the death of Robert and Margaret’s children was a lack of food caused by multiple well-documented deficient harvests from 1629–1637 (Hoskins, 1968, p. 16). Robert Smith Sr., as a householder and smallholder who might also have had to work on the land of larger landowners to maintain himself, was impacted by deficit harvests and these would have directly affected Robert’s ability to provide for his children.

Also spreading through England in the Early Modern period of the 16th to the 18th centuries was the Golden Age of English Literature (Mastin, 2011). The Lord guided Robert Sr. to the places “according to [His] will and timing” (Bednar, 2011, para. 11) and blessed and prepared his sons Robert Jr. and William by staying in Kirton in Holland. A “grammar school. . . . originally a free school, [was] founded [there] in 1624 by Sir Thomas Middlecott” for “the benefit of children of the parishes of Kirton” and others nearby. The curriculum included “Latin and Greek languages and provid[ed] English commercial and agricultural education to children.” As children, Robert Smith Jr. and William Smith would have learned “principles of the Christian religion, Latin and French, mathematics, algebra, land surveying, with the several branches of a thorough English education” (Staunton, 1869, p. 484). What a convenient and timely way for Robert Sr. and his wife Margaret to educate and prepare their sons to be successful patriarchal emigrants.

Robert passed away in Kirton in Holland in 20 October 1643.

References

FamilySearch Person Page

Wood Enderby parish record, Marriages 1592

Kirton in Holland parish record Baptisms 1595

Kirton in Holland parish record, Burials, 1643; Fea,2020;

Wood, P. H. “Infection unperceiv’d, in many a place”: The London plague of 1625, viewed from Plymouth Rock. We’re History.Wood, 2020

Kirton in Holland parish record, Marriages, 1624

Boston Botolph parish record, Baptisms, 1610

Boston Botolph parish record, Baptisms 1616

Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1624; Burials, 1625

Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1625; Burials 1625

Wood, P. H. (2020, April 15).

Kirton in Holland parish record, Burials, 1625/6

Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1625/6

Kirton in Holland Parish Records Marriages 1626

Kirton in Holland parish record, Baptisms, 1627, 1628, 1629, 1631, 1633, 1634, 1635, 1637; Burials, 1629, 1629, 1638, 1636, 1635, 1637; see Robert Sr’s Person Page

De Groote, M. (2008, August 8). DNA shows Joseph Smith was Irish. Deseret News. 2008, para. 20

Hoskins, W. G. (1968). Harvest fluctuations and English economic history, 1620–1759. The Agricultural History Review, 16(1), 15–31. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40273255

Mastin, L. (2011). Early modern English (c. 1500 – c.1800). The History of English. 2011

Bednar, D. A. (April 2011). The spirit of revelation. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2011, para. 11

Staunton, H. (1869). The great schools of England: an account of the foundation, endowments, and discipline of the chief seminaries of learning in England. Strahan and Co. Publishers, p. 484 Less

Author Kristin Cannon