The James Smart Will - 1836

original will [new version June 16 2012]- transcription as published

About This Will

James Smart's 1836 Will, in conjunction with the census and marriage records from Kentucky and North Carolina in that era, strongly suggest that James Smart and Nancy (Scott) Smart are the parents of Joseph Reed Smart, born in 1799 at Eddyville, western Kentucky. See Children in will

In light of James Smart's will, it seems James and Nancy (nee Scott) Smart are NOT the parents of Hiram Joseph SMART, as reflected in most genealogies such as those at and

The lineage, as this site has it: Ancestry of James and Nancy (nee Scott) Smart

"Source" Information Lacking in Book

Having never seen the book, I hate to condemn it but it seems an error originated in: "The Decedents of William Smart, St., 1720-c. 1795 and Allied Families," Vol. 1 by Richard Eugene Smart. et at., The Gregath Co., Cullman, Alabama. Published date - 1986?

The authors should be applauded for their efforts however, this book (as understood) doesn't list any actual sources. Does anyone have a copy of this book?

Transcription of the James Smart Will - 1836/7

In the name of God, amen.

I, James Smart, of Caldwell County and State of Kentucky and being old and feeble but of sound mind and disposing judgment knowing of a truth that I, by the course of nature, must shortly die and leave this present world. In order therefore that, after my decease, my estate, which God was pleased to give me, lie justly and properly disposed of amongst my heirs. I ordain the following to be my last Will and Testimony and I do by this presents repeal disamicel [sic] and make void all and every former will whatever.

It is my will and desire that my beloved wife Nancy Smart shall, after my decease, possess and enjoy the full benefit of all my lands and tenements, household and kitchen furniture, farming utensils and all my stock of cattle, hogs, sheep and horses with the exception of the bald-faced sorrel colt which came of my sorrel mare--all of which it is my will that she, the said Nancy Smart, should enjoy during her life or widowhood.

It is my will that my daughter Polly R. Polly Reed Smart shall have and I give to her the aforementioned blazed-face [sic] sorrel horse colt. I also give to her the loom, which she had in possession. The above mentioned sorrel colt and loom I give to my daughter Polly R. Smart as a portion in advance of my estate which will only make her portion equal to the portions of all my other children.

It is my will and desire that, after the decease of my beloved wife Nancy Smart, that all my lands and tenements, household and kitchen furniture, farming utensils and stock of cattle, hogs, sheep and horses be sold and equally divided among all my dear children John S. Smart, Polly R. Smart, Joseph R. Smart, Luanna Patterson, Jane S. Leroy, Nancy Patterson, William M. C. [or Mele?] Smart.

But it is my will and desire that all that portion of my estate which falleth to my daughter Luanna Patterson, should be equally divided amongst all her children for their exclusive benefit. And it is my will and desire that all that portion of my estate which falleth to my daughter Nancy S. Patterson should be given to my grand son Matlachi [spelling?] Smart, the son of the said Nancy Patterson, to be his forever. And I do, by these prescuts [sic], constitute my beloved wife Nancy Smart and my son William M.C. Smart executors to this, my last Will and Testament. In witness thereof, I affix my hand this 9th day of January, 1836.

James Smart


James W. Mansfield
Mary V. Mansfield
Commonwealth of Kentucky
County of Caldwell
Tet May Tum 1837

I, Charles B. Dallam, Clerk of the county court for the aforementioned county, do hereby certify that the within last Will and Testament of James Smart, deceased, was at a county court begun and held in and for said county on this 13th (?) day of April 1837 Produced in open court and laid over until today when the same licing called said Will and Testament of writing was provided in open court by the sacred oaths of James W. Mansfield and Mary V. Mansfield (now Mary V. Reese) the two subscribing witnesses thereto in due form of law wherefrom the same is ordered to be recorded in Testimony whereof and that I have recorded said will and this certificate in my office. I hereto set my hand this 15th day of May 1837. C. B. Dallam ______ [last word unreadable]

Transcription: R. C. Smart

Children Mentioned in Will

It is probable that James constructed his will to provide a complete family genealogy within it, as was the custom. In his 1836 will, James named his wife, Nancy, and their children as "...all my dear children..." followed by their names in this order:

John S. Smart
Poly Reed Smart
Joseph R.[eed] Smart
Luanna (sp?) [nee Smart] Patterson
Jane S. [nee Smart] Leroy
Nancy [nee Smart] Patterson
William M. C. (Mele?) Smart

I have more unsourced information on these children. Randy C. Smart

A Phony Version of the Will

A second version of the will has surfaced--a phony that is easy to spot.

The phony will was furnished by Troy Smart of NC who says he got it from the papers of a deceased researcher, Hurbert Joseph Smart. Hurbert was working with a female researcher back in the 80s. She is now living in Nashville, TN. Troy claims to have queried her with no admission.

This phony version of the will reflects only two differences from the original- in the middle initials of two of the children:

A New Copy of the Original

I have another copy of the original will--obtained in the manner as the first one--ordered directly from a Caldwell County clerk, Dena (270) 365-6754 100 E. Market St., Princeton, KY 42445. The file number is C0023506. She asked for a written statement of the request and $3, cash, check or money order. She sent a receipt.

Conflicting Information

Comparing the Wills:

Joseph’s middle initial is R not H

Here are the sections containing the two middle initials in question. I’ve placed them side-by-side for easy comparison:
From Caldwell County:
Tampered Will:


John’s middle initial is S not N
From Caldwell County:
Tampered Will::
This should resolve the issue. Those who verify this independently will see the same inconsistencies. - Randy