SOMERSET SMITH, HERO OF THE ALAMO
Smith was born about 1806 at “Mt. Arundel”, Benedict,
Charles County, Maryland.
He was the son of Charles Somerset Smith (1770-1831)
and Ann Sothoron (daughter of Henry Greenfield Sothoron and
Mary Bond of “The Plains”) of St. Mary’s County.
It is assumed that Charles decided to
leave Maryland shortly after his father’s death in 1831.
He moved first to New Orleans but by 1835 he was in the
territory of Texas. On
October 14, 1835, a land grant for 4,428 acres in Austin’s
Colony was registered to him in the Texas Land Office.
The property was described as being on Walnut Creek, on
the west side of the Colorado River. The date of this land
grant is significant as it was made just two weeks after the
beginning of what is now considered the most important time in
Texas history--the beginning of the War for Independence from
Mexico (September 30, 1835-April 21, 1836).
Before he could settle on his land,
Charles Smith would have to first defend it. On October 10,
1835, just a few days before his land grant was formalized, he
entered the service of Texas, participating in the Siege of
Bexar (now San Antonio), the first major campaign for Texas
independence from December 5 to December 9, 1835. On December 14, 1835, he volunteered to serve four additional
months. At this
time, he was still in Bexar but now as a member of Captain
William R. Carey’s artillery company known as “The
Invincibles” who were serving under the command of Col.
James Clinton Neill.
Captain Carey and his 56 men, including
Charles Smith, were sent to the Alamo to take charge while
Col. Neill remained at Bexar.
On January 14, 1836, Col. Neill moved his entire force
into the Alamo. During the siege and battle of the Alamo,
Carey and his men commanded the fort's artillery.
As luck would have it, Col. Neill had left the Alamo in
mid-February to care for his family, all of whom were
seriously ill, leaving William B. Travis in temporary command.
He was riding back when the fort fell.
The Texans were vastly outnumbered at
the Alamo. There
were just 189 defenders against a force of almost 2,000
Mexicans, but yet they held their ground from February 23,
1836 until March 6, 1836.
It was on this date that Charles Somerset Smith was
killed and his body, along with the other defenders, was
burned at the orders of Santa Ana.
Col. Neill would later say of Charles
Smith that he "served faithfully and fell in the
Alamo.” Thomas Kenny, the administrator of Smith's estate,
collected his pay account of $74.66 on October 12, 1837.
An article published in the Summer 1994
edition of the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin
by James Young claims that there were two Marylanders killed
at the Alamo. In
addition to Charles Somerset Smith, he also lists Charles M.
Haskell (Heiskill), son of George Heiskell and Elizabeth Fry
who were married in Hagerstown on February 16, 1802.
Yes, George Heiskell was a Marylander, his son Charles
was not. George
and Elizabeth (Fry) Heiskell moved their family first to
Virginia, then Tennessee, and finally Kentucky.
None of their children were born in Maryland; therefore
Charles Somerset Smith is the only native Marylander
who fought at the Alamo.
A Brief Genealogical Sketch of the
Col. Richard Smith (d. 1714, St. Leonard’s Calvert Co.)
married as his third wife, Maria Joanna Lowther, widow, in
1697 at Christ Church in Calvert County.
She was the daughter of Charles Somerset of Acton Park,
County Middlesex, England.
Depositions taken re: the birth and lineage of Charles
Somerset Smith of Calvert Co.
Sarah Clagett, age about 55 said she was acquainted
with Capt. Richard Smith, late of Calvert Co., and Maria
Johanna, his reputed wife, who went by the name and title of
Madam Lowther. Within
a year of their marriage, she was present at the birth of
Charles Somerset Smith, youngest child of Capt. Richard Smith
and she was his godmother.
Deposition of Capt. Thomas Clagett, age about 40 that
Capt. Richard Smith and Madam Lowther were reputed to be
married at Christ Church in Calvert Co. by Mr. Hugh Jones, a
clergyman of the Church of England.
Deposition of Patrick Hepburn, Gent., age about 55
stated that Josiah Wilson, late of Pr. Geo's Co., deceased,
told him that he was present at the wedding of Capt. Richard
Smith and Maria Johannah Lowther, relict of Col. Lowther (MD
Charles Somerset Smith (1698-1738), son
of Col. Richard Smith and Maria Joanna Somerset, married
second, Margaret Smith (daughter of William and Priscilla
Smith of Charles County).
Will of Charles Somerset Smith, Charles
Wife: Exec., 1/3 personal estate.
Son: Richard, land on sw side of St. Nicholas' Creek.
Son: Charles Somerset, land on n. side of sd. creek where
dwelling plantation stands.
To: Francis Wilkinson, he having married
daughter Elizabeth, the moiety of "Wiltshire Plains"
and personalty. Children:
Richard, Charles Somerset, Ann, Dicandia, Mary, and Jane,
residue of personal estate. Overseer: Brother, Walter. Wit: Samuel Perrie, Theophilius
Swift, Edward Burch. (Maryland Calendar of Wills).
There’s a very important family
connection here. Francis
Wilkinson, the husband of Elizabeth Smith, was the son of
Francis Wilkinson and Ann Smith (niece of Richard Smith, d.
Wilkinson and Ann Smith were the great grandparents of Jane
Herbert (Wilkinson) Long (1798-1880), “daughter of Maryland,
wife of Mississippi, mother of Texas,” therefore, Charles
Somerset Smith (1806-1836) and Jane Herbert (Wilkinson) Long
were third cousins.
Charles Somerset Smith (1733-1781)
married Ann Hynes (daughter of Joseph Hynes of Charles
Marriage contract between Charles Somerset Smith of CC,
Gent. and Ann Hynes of CC, dau. of Joseph Hynes (now dec'd),
and John Perry of PG Co.
Sd. Smith moving, he granted to sd. Perry Lot #8 in
Benedict Leonard Town in CC, at present occupied by Joseph
Anderson, 0.75 ac., until the solemnization of sd. intended
marriage, to be held for the use and benefit of Ann Hynes, in
lieu of dower; she to receive the annual rent of a plantation
sd. Smith holds by descent as heir to his brother, Richard
Charles Somerset Smith (1770-1831).
As stated above, he married Ann Sothoron.
"The family saw the British sail
up the Patuxent River to Benedict, landing there before
proceeding to the Nation's Capitol to burn it. The British
officers landed and called on Charles Somerset Smith.
He received them and served them wine to which croton
oil had been added. The
officers became ill which detained them at Benedict. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith moved his family out of harm's way and
he then proceeded to Washington to warn the city.
After the British had won the battle of Bladensburg,
and burned the Capitol and the White House, they marched back
to Benedict to their ships.
Before sailing, they set fire to 'Mt. Arundel', the
lovely old home of Charles Somerset Smith."
Doctors of St. Mary's County, 1634-1900 by
Children of Charles Somerset Smith and
Sarah Mary Smith (1795-1834)
married Dr. William Bruce Locke on October 2, 1810.
She and her husband are both buried in the Locke
Cemetery located directly behind Mechanicsville Elementary
Died 7/1, after a severe and protracted illness, at the
res. of George Thomas, St. Mary’s Co., Mrs. Mary Locke in
her 41st year. Her
children have been deprived on an affectionate and devoted
Intelligencer Newspaper Abstracts, 1834-1834).
No additional information available.
He was living at the time of his father’s will in
John Smith (1796-1825). 11/29/1825: Died:
Mr. John Smith, age 29 years, on 11/19 at the res. of
Henry Sothoron, nr. Benedict.
Parents, brothers, and sisters are bereft. (National Intelligencer Newspaper Abstracts, 1824-1826).
Arundel Smith (1801-after 1850).
Arundel Smith moved to Bladensburg, Maryland.
Married on 7/24 by Rev. Mr. Gillis, Mr. Arundel Smith
of Charles County to Miss Margaret, d/o Dr. John Wooton of
Montgomery Co., MD. (National Intelligencer Newspaper Abstracts, 1832-1833).
Margaret Smith (ca1812-1844).
Margaret Smith married first, Thomas Gonsalvo Hodges,
December 13, 1831. Her
second husband was John T. H. Sothoron, her first cousin (son
of John Sothoron and Mary Elizabeth Attaway Briscoe) whom she
married December 3, 1840.
Eleanor Sothoron Smith (died
was the first wife of Dr. John Henry Turner of “Bachelor’s
Hope”, Chaptico. They
were married December 17, 1844.
Mortimer S. Smith (1817-ca1855).
Mortimer Smith married Dorothy Ann Thomas (daughter of
George Thomas and Mary Tubman) prior to 1840.
After his death, Dorothy married second, her
brother-in-law, Dr. John Henry Turner about 1856.
Linda D. Reno, July 24, 2003
This article was printed in fall
edition of “The
Generator”, a quarterly publication of the St. Mary’s
County Genealogical Society.
Their web page: http://www.smcgsi.org/.