Smith, Col. Maurice Smith


COLONEL MAURICE SMITH was born at 'Hycotee', the family home in Caswell county, North Carolina, 10 June 1801; a son of Samuel SMITH, Jr. (1765-1816) and his wife, Elizabeth HARRISON SMITH (1772-1838), both scions of old Virginia families. The father served several terms in the Senate of North Carolina.

Colonel SMITH was a stocky man, with fair and determinate countenance, a quite man who carried his point; he had been educated at the Hyco Academy in Semora and afterwards preferring a planter’s life, he had time to run for the State Senate, as a Jacksonian Democrat (latter-day expression of his political ideas), where he served two terms, and then he emigrated to Fayette County, Tennessee, where his prudential insight and care assured him of a sound livelihood and prominence.
Colonel SMITH was a devout Methodist, doing many things for the spread of that faith in Arkansas; he avoided publicity, while others imbibed it, but his contribution to the Ridge was well understood by his contemporaries. The Reverend A. R. WINFIELS, who had long know Colonial SMITH, wrote of him, “ and to his influence and ability more than anyone was this community indebted for the early settlement, and whatever the intellectual or moral development it may have attained…”
Colonel SMITH’s first wife, Martha Williams HAYES, gave him two children, Cornelia (1823-1987), wife of Dr. William B. LANGLEY, and a son, Samuel Gallatin (Gally) SMITH (1826-1863), a well educated and able attorney, before her early demise. By his second wife, Clarissa (Clara) Harlowe REID (1806-1874), whom he wed in 1830, Colonel SMITH had several children: Elizabeth Keziah (Betty) SMITH (1831-1913), who was married to Chesley Page Patterson BARBEE (1821-1851), a university of North Carolina graduate (1843), and a lawyer; Annie Maurice SMITH (1839-1894), who was married to Felix STRONG of Clark County; she was educated at Tulip, Science Hill Academy in Kentucky, and later taught music at Malvern, Arkansas; Lockie Lenora SMITH (1841-1925), who was married to her kinsman, William Hargrove SMITH, and lived at Malvern; Olin Durbin SMITH (1844-1879), unmarried, farmer and later merchant at Malvern; Asbury Warren SMITH (1847-1927), who was married to a young widow and lived at Little Rock.
Colonel Maurice SMITH died at his home, 14 May 1871; his friends and former slaves filed through his bedchamber for a final goodbye; in all, he touched more lives than he was ever to know. Towards the back of Tulip necropolis, where SMITH kinsmen lie buried, one should find a think, small marker bearing the inscription: Maurice SMITH, 1801-1871: Pioneer Methodist. It is a humble monument to a man’s memory; a casual, non-knowing visitor might easily pass it by. But if there have been saints among men, this man was certainly one of their number.

Source: Smith, Jonathan Kennon, (1965), The Romance of Tulip, Memphis, Tennessee.


Headstone of Col. Maurice Smith from Tulip Cemetery, Tulip, Arkansas. 

Photo Credit: Col. Maurice Smith”

From: The Smith Family Papers. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, ARK.                

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