Scotland to America

Scottish history relevant to our lineage

Smart family history prior to the 1770s is pieced together from statistical info and pertinent historical facts but not from actual documentation. It should be considered fiction unless sources are identified and noted. However, that fiction (if seen only as is) allows research to explore history somewhat better. See linage

This history of our Smart family goes back to the highlands of northern Scotland. Our recorded family history begins back in 1597 when John Smart Senior's father was born somewhere in Scotland. It is thought he was Roman Catholic. (assumed due to later America immigration via Maryland). Immigration Search Doc

Where they lived is uncertain but the Smeartae (Smart) come from the Northern Highlands. The Smart sir name first shows up around Aberdeen. Smeartae of Scotland

1623 : John Smart Sr.

John Smart Sr. was born in Scotland in 1623. His father was Scottish--born in 1597.

As a highlander, he was aligned with the MacKenzie Clan. Civil war and clan disputes in Northern Scotland were raging during John's youth.

1650 : To England

John Smart Sr. went to England from Scotland sometime prior to 1663, presumably when John was a young man.

1663 : John Smart Jr.

John Smart Jr. was born in Warwick, Middleton, England in 1663. John Sr. would have been 40 years old at the time.

1680 : John Smart Sr. Passes

John Smart Sr. died in 1680 in England.

1684 : Immigration to America*

John Smart Jr. left England in 1684 during the Reign of Charles II at a period called the "Killing Time." At the age of 21, he came to Maryland at a time when southern plantations were being cleared and put into production by rich land-holders who were, in turn, backed by European investors and trading companies licensed by his Majesty, the King. Their hopes of producing significant marketable crops of cotton and sugar were only just beginning to come to some modest fruition. They hoped to reap significant profits from their investment in "The Colonies." But what they needed most was inexpensive farm labor and honest hardworking agents to oversee the steady production of crops as well as improvements in these New World holdings.

It is speculated that soon after stepping off the ship in Maryland, John sought out Joseph Reed, a man situated at the top echelons of the new world. Joseph held vast land grants from The King as well as serving as executor for estates belonging to some of the richest English investors.

John might have presented letters of introduction to this man of property and influence. Joseph probably saw in John a man who could help him in his growing business enterprises. And as John got to know this New Englander and learned more about his ventures, he saw exactly the situation his friends in in the Old World had suggested might be advantageous for him.

* The Ancestry.com immigrations database passenger list index search has John Smart (possibly 21) immigrating to Baltimore, Maryland. -- Randy C. Smart April 5, 2004

1720 : Rutherford County, NC

Our line was in Rutherford County, NC from about 1720 to around 1780.

Not long after his arrival in America, John was enlisted to care for some of Joseph's land holdings in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Either John came to America with significant assets or Joseph Reed rewarded him with them--or both. John managed to hold down a household in Philadelphia while commuting to Rutherford County where he oversaw the plantation operations for his prosperous benefactor who paid John by giving him large pieces of his vast land holding in Rutherford County. John Smart and Joseph Reed remained close for the rest of their lives.

??? search land records ????

John required little in Rutherford County that wasn't already there. The pioneer homes, as well as the furnishings for the home, were built from their forests. As things began to turn a profit, per his agreement with Joseph Reed, John accumulated good farming land--enough for three consecutive generations to remained and prospered on their family land--to live their entire lives in Rutherford County. The closeness of the Reed and Smart families was to endure for many generations.

Rutherford County History

Rutherford County was named after Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford, a famous Revolutionary War soldier. It was formed from Tryon County in April 1779. Early settlers were of Scotch-Irish origin. They traveled down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania. It is assumed that the community of Westminster was the first area of the county settled since the Britain Presbyterian Church was formed there in 1768.

The area was rich, fertile land with plenty of virgin forest pine and hardwood. There was plenty of wild game.

Among the Southern States, Rutherford County was one of the lowest slave-holding areas. There were few slaves used by the Scotsmen because of their hard work ethics and abhorrence for slavery. They were able to do much of the work necessary to make their endeavors successful.

During the Revolutionary War the citizens were attacked both by Indians and Torys.

The first census was 1790 showing 1136 heads of household. In the next 10 years, Rutherford County had a 2,945 increase.

Conditions in Rutherford County, following the War of 1812, were far from inspiring. Land values were high. Prices were high due to transportation costs.

More: Rutherford County's history site

Smart Families in Rutherford County

There is a book (unavailable here) called The Descendants of William Smart, Sr. and Allied Families by Richard Eugene Smart, Evelyn Jeane Bliss and Pamela Gail Bliss. It seems to be the source for most of the genealogy reflected online for Smart families in Rutherford county. However, at least one error was found with the lineage reflected in this book and many places on the Internet. There may have been more than one Smart line living there at the same time.

I understand this book lists seven children of James Smart, including John Novin Smart and Joseph Hiram Smart. However, the will of James Smart explicitly refutes James's family, as shown in the book. More

See Smart Rutherford Project

John Smart Jr. Passes

John Smart Jr. died in 1727 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

However, the John Smart line continued. It is speculated that John was the father of William Smart. The 1790 census would find them, with their families, in North Carolina.