Then Marblehead Forever! God bless the good old town!

May she never shame her noble ancestry!

She was first in Revolution, was first in ’61 !

And from whiskey bondage we will keep her free!

 Was everyone singing? In honor of Patriot’s Day I will tell you about my 5th great grandfather, Captain Joel Smith who served in the Revolution. I don’t know much about him so I am hoping to connect with someone who may.   I am sure all of us ‘headers have at least one patriot in our family.  How many of you are members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, (DAR) or Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)?  I am not, but I could be as many of my direct ancestors served in the Revolution in 1776.  Capt. Joel Smith was the Captain of Company One of General John Glover’s 21st Regiment.

This is a copy of Joel Smith’s service record found in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/213956. He was engaged in the war on April 24, 1775 for a service of 3 months and 16 days; he may have returned to duty in October 1775. In November, 1777 he was raised to serve in the Continental Army for a term of eight months.  


 As far as I can tell Captain Joel Smith was born June 29, 1734 to Joel Smith and Sarah Haley in Biddeford, Maine. He was married twice. He married his first wife, Sarah Blackler on March 3, 1757 in Marblehead and she died April 17, 1769. He then married Sarah Burrill on May 7, 1772. Joel died June 11, 1781 and is buried in Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, MA. He was a carpenter by trade. Joel and Sarah Blackler had 4 children:

  1. Sarah Smith – born August 27, 1757 and died August 30, 1844. She married Phillip Follet on January 11, 1778 in Marblehead and he died just over a month later on February 25, 1778. She married again to William Hooper Reynolds December 6, 1779
  2. Mary Smith – born September 18, 1762 and died on April 8, 1838. She married Michael Trefry on December 19, 1780. They named their second son Joel Smith Trefry.
  3. Benjamin Smith – born April 14, 1767 and died July 12, 1823. He married Margaret Ashton (remember that name from Marblehead’s Robinson Crusoe) on April 28, 1781. They named their fourth child Joel Smith
  4. Ruth Smith- born March 23, 1769 and died September 17, 1769.  

It was at this point that Joel’s first wife Sarah Blacker died on April 17, 1769 leaving Joel with 3 small children to raise. He remained a widower for 3 years and on May 7, 1772 he married Sarah Burrill in Lynn, MA.  They had 2 children before she died August 25, 1777, most likely as a result of childbirth as her daughter Lydia died on August 23, 1777.  

  1. Anne Smith was born December 29, 1775 and died March 16, 1781.  
  2. Lydia Smith was born August 14, 1777 and died August 23, 1777  

Once again Joel was left with several young children, a daughter and his second wife to bury within two days of each other.  

On April 12, 1772 Joel signed a deed to purchase a house from Ruth Witt, a widow from Marblehead for 14 pounds lawful money. He purchased the house and land formerly owned by Mark Morse, a fisherman. I need to do a lot of plotting and platting to determine where this is, but I have a copy of the deed to help me out.  On July 16, 1766 Joel and his wife Sarah sold to Sanford Flack for 20 pounds lawful money the land that was willed to Sarah by her father William Blackler.  She had received 2/3 of his real estate. 

When Joel died an inventory of his estate was taken by his executor William Hooper Reynolds, husband of his daughter Sarah. It appears he may have been a pretty well off man as his real estate totaled £350 (350 pounds) and his personal estate was £332 and with some old debts paid to him his estate was valued at about £557 or about $80,000.  Some of his belongings were a black walnut desk, mahogany table, round chair with a looking glass foot, delft plates, wine glasses, a large bible, brass candlesticks, 3 pairs of gloves, and 3 pair of deerskins women’s slippers, clapboards and nails. His lot of land and house was divided three ways to his heirs. 

I wonder if Captain Joel Smith helped row George Washington across the Delaware or what role he actually played in the Revolutionary War.

Joel Smith grave


More Information on Marblehead and the Revolutionary War can be found on the Marblehead Museum website http://www.marbleheadmuseum.org/archives/marblehead-soldiers-sailors-and-pows-in-the-american-revolution



One thought on “

  1. He must have been a Mason. I wonder if there is more info on him through the masonic site or in the museum in Lexington, Ma. Great story Marge !


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