NOTES ON JOHN SMITH, IMMIGRANT
Contributed by Steve Edgerton
Posted April 05, 2003 by Myrtle Bridges.
"I found this while rummaging through more of Jay's history. Very interesting. Hope you find it useful.
The attached is in Dreamweaver, if you use that program to create the county site. It includes oral
tradition from Malcolm Fowler about the Scots in Cumberland, Moore and Harnett.
The following few pages I found in my late brother's genealogical materials and library. Information
in parentheses ( ) are part of the original typed document. HHH indicates a note by late Henry H. Hodgin,
genealogist of Robeson County, NC. JSE indicates a note by the late J.S. "Jay" Edgerton, Jr., genealogist
of Robeson County, NC. JAS indicates the author's note." Steve Edgerton
Notes on John Smith, Immigrant copied from a xeroxed copy made by James A. Sinclair after a visit to the
old John Smith cemetery on the Cape Fear River. (Cemetery has now been bulldozed and no trace left). Future
generations may thank Malcolm Fowler and Jimmy Sinclair for copying and preserving what information that
could be found in it. (Henry H. Hodgin)
SMITH NOTES by James A. Sinclair, Raeford (now Fayetteville, N.C.) 20 January, 1968 (Sunday)
Today Jack Crane, Malcolm Fowler, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Farmer of Cumberland and Harnett Counties, made a
trip to upper Cumberland, in the vicinity of Linden. Turn right off Highway 401 North at the marker
(historical) for the Rev. James Campbell and proceed down this road (dirt) to around Westminster Church
and before reaching Anticoch F.W.B. Church (colored) to the property of Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Hall. Their
property runs from their home to the Cape Fear River and is located just across the river from where
the present Bluff Presbyterian Church stands. You can see the roof of the church on the other bank from
the Rev. Campbell's grave. South of this small graveyard about one mile, and directly behind the home
of Douglas Hall toward the river is a small graveyard in which all of the stones are either broken or
down. The following stones are legible (partially).
In memory of John Smith who was born June 20, 1748, died ______ (age 36 years) (broken stone). He is
supposed son of Malcolm Smith, son of John Smith, immigrant.
In memory of Flora Smith who was born (23 April) 1754 and died 21 January 1796. Consort of John Smith.
To the left of these graves (toward) the river and in the same row was an old stone with the inscription
"J.S." and no other information. (Malcolm Fowler says this is the grave of John Smith, immigrant. HHH)
There were approximately three of four graves marked with field stones between the grave marked "J.S."
and those of John and Flora Smith.
South of these graves (row of graves) some ten paces was the following:
Daniel Munro (Munn?) who was born 8 March 1728 and died 10 December 1786. His age 58 years 9 months & 2 days.
There was a sink beside this grave which may have been the grave of his wife.
Malcolm Fowler, a well known genealogist of the early Scots and the area said that the grave marked with
the "J.S." was that of the immigrant John Smith, father of Janet "Jennie Bahn" and
Malcolm Smith. He did not know who the unmarked graves were unless they were some of his grandchildren.
(Also Malcolm Fowler had told me previously that immigrant John Smith's wife was Margaret Gilchrist and
the mother of Janet and Malcolm. She died coming up the Cape Fear River and is buried on the bank of the
river near Elizabethtown.) HHH
John and Flora Smith whose grarves were marked were the son and daughter-in-law of Malcolm and his wife
Sarah Peterson McKissick Smith, and was the grandson of John Smith and Margaret Gilchrist, immigrants.
Old John's wife was said to have been Margaret Gilchrist who died on the trip up the Cape Fear River
from Wilmington when they were coming to the "Bluff". She is said to be buried in Bladen County
on the banks of the river. Malcolm and Sarah Peterson McKissick Smith are said to be buried on Juniper Creek
in Cumberland County where they owned property.
Malcolm and Sarah had seven sons according to Mr. Fowler. All can be accounted for except Peter. He
indicated that he would forward me some information on the Smiths. Old John was my gr.gr. gr.gr.grandfather
(Jimmy Sinclair's line. JSE ) through Malcolm, Daniel, Eliza, Eliza Blue Sinclair.
Mr. Fowler alos told several other interesting things about his area.
Old John Smith owned serveral hundred acres of land on the river here and lived in the area. The graves
were on a small ridge that obviously paralleled the river and clearly the hightest spot in an otherwise
low wet area. The Cape Fear River at this point curves and this graveyard is located in the bend of the
river. It is part of Mr. Hall's pasture.
Old John had sold part of his land to Daniel Munro who had previously lived on the other side of the river.
Daniel Munro had probably moved to the west side of the river later, died and was buried there. Folwer did
not rule out the possibility that he may have married into the Smith family, but did not say for sure.
Mr. Fowler had a map on which he had sketched Old John's property and other rec. (receiving?) grants. He
said that Old John's daughter, Jennet Bahn married Archibald McNeill (Scrubling Archie) and that they
lived all over Cumberland County and finally moved over into Moore. All Malcolm's sons are mentioned in
his will except Peter. (There is a Peter Smith buried at Mill Prong. JAS) Fowler said that the Bluff Church
was first on the west side of the Cape Fear River at the place of Roger McNeill's and called Roger's
Meeting House, later moved to a point on the other side of the river just south of its present location
and was there two or three years, then to present location in the 1780's.
He also said the first Scots came in 1739 and that Old John was in this crowd with his wife (and children).
The first colony was organized in Inverary, Scotland, Argleshire, by three McNeill's including Sailor (Mate)
Neill McNeill and a McAllister. Contrary to what is sometimes written, according to Fowler, the colony of
300 Scots, who were the first to the area did engage a minister by the name of either Richardson or Robinson
who either died or decided not to come before shipping time. Fowler plans to go to Inverary in September.
He said that the Battle of Moore's Creek lasted about three minutes, or long enough for everybody to get
muddy on the creek bank and that the Loyalists were not captured at Moore's Creek, but near Lillington
as they waited for the ferry to cross the Cape Fear. They were skirting Cross Creek which was already in
the hands of the "Patriots".
From here we went to the site of the old County Seat at Choffingham (sp.?) -- pronounced Koffingham. It
is near the point where Lower Little River and the Cape Fear join, to the left of a dirt road (county road)
and in a curve. Fowler said never more than 12 houses and the Court House. Choffingham was an old Welsh word.
Some of the early settlers -- (viz. Jones, etc.) were Welsh and I believe he said Quakers. Seems also that
he said that the earliest church was Quaker Meeting House.
"Quewhiffle" according to Jack Crane means "broken spoon". Fowler said that some had said that it took
the name of an extinct Scottish Tribe, but he didn't know. (Dr. Bethune also had some comments about this
but I never read what he said about it.)
They told me the tale of "Consent Bonshee".
Fowler said that you could tell where old houses stood from the air in the early Spring by noting the
livlier vegetation since the nutrients were preserved where the house stood. He is quite a scholar on
these old Scots. He said that Scots appointed a seer or historian to remember family history before they
had a written language and that it carried down, with the old timers remembering detailed facts about the
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