Sunday, April 9, 2017

Piecing together information on Asa

Boat Building near Dinan, Brittany, Francis Danby, 1838.

In trying to dig deeper into the details on Asa Putnam Smith, my 4th-great-grandfather, I continue to run into a lack of available information. We have the widow's pension application submitted by his wife Lucinda McIntosh Smith in 1879, and we have a few census entries in Crawford County, Indiana. We also have a couple of US Land Office entries in Crawford County, and two earlier land patents in Wabash County, Illinois in 1825, showing that he was a resident of Edwards County, Illinois. And we also have statement by Lucinda's brother Daniel McIntosh that he was a witness to the marriage ceremony in Mount Carmel, Illinois.

Looking closer at these records, and census and death records for Asa's children, we have a bit more information to work with. In the 1850 US Census, Asa said he was from Massachusetts. He listed his occupation as carpenter, and he could not read or write. Asa and family lived in Leavenworth, Jennings Township in Crawford County, Indiana, a river town on the Ohio. Lucinda's widow's pension application said Asa was from Nova Scotia. This is backed up by the 1910 US Census entry by children James and Amanda Smith, Amanda's 1920 US Census entry, and James' death record in 1914. Asa's son Elam noted on his 1910 US Census entry that his father was from Massachusetts. My 3rd-great-grandmother Permelia Smith Lamon also said Asa was from Massachusetts in her 1880 US Census entry. So what's accurate here?

In the widow's pension application, Lucinda noted Asa Putnam Smith had served in Colonel Dudley's regiment in the New Jersey Militia during the War of 1812. She said he volunteered in Jersey City, New Jersey and served for two and half years. The War Department rejected the pension because they could not find reference to a Colonel Dudley in New Jersey. But what if she had heard the story wrong, and Colonel Dudley was Lt. Col. Dudley of the Massachusetts Militia?
Source: Fold3. War of 1812 Service Records.
To learn more about the Asa Smith who served in the 1st Regiment, Massachusetts Militia, I need to visit the US National Archives in Washington DC and pull a copy of the service record. It will be a couple of weeks before I can find time to do that. In the meantime, the research on Asa Putnam Smith will need to wait. As I take a break from following his story, I will return to the line of John Og McIntosh, my Scottish ancestor, and follow his incredible journey to America during the Revolutionary War.

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