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Davis Smith Plantation of Monroe County, Georgia (published June 4, 2022)

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The Smith genealogy traces back to ca 1760 in North Carolina.

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L-R: One of Miranda's daughters; Miranda holding her grandchild; Jennie Smith; Thomas Young Brent; two young boys were sons of Jennie and Ty Brent. Right: Sallie. Photo taken ca 1885.

Alexander Smith
Alexander Smith resided in Warren County. He was married to Martha Franklin, a daughter of the Reverend William Franklin who founded the Little Creek Baptist Church and Franklin College.
Their son, Davis Smith, was the administrator of his father's estate in 1814, Warren County. Davis Smith was born in 1792 in Warren County and was a resident of Laurens County when he married his first wife, Hannah Tuttle. He must have been eminently proud of his grandfather because he assigned "Franklin" as the middle name of his first two children by Hannah. Hannah died early and her two children's graves were found in the Davis Smith Cemetery in Monroe County.
Davis Smith married again, this time to Elizabeth (Dixon) Jordan, widow. In 1824 this couple settled on several hundred acres of land which Davis Smith purchased in Monroe County (Hwy 83 West of Forsyth). The county had just been formed, and so they were pioneer settlers. Elizabeth was known to be musically talented. When the Swedish soprano, Jenny Lynn, was brought to Charleston, South Carolina by Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1850, Davis took her to hear the concert. The couple returned with a new piano, known to be the first piano in the county. Elizabeth taught music to her daughter, Jane (called Jennie), to the first female college in Georgia (founded 1837), Wesleyan Female College in Macon. Jennie also sent her daughter, Lizzie (Elizabeth Smith Chambliss) to Wesleyan Female College in Macon. Elizabeth, the wife of Davis, died before the war. After the death of Elizabeth, he married for the third time, this time to Martha Hogan, and thus acquired the Hogan plantation which was reverted back to her family at her death, according to their Marriage Contract on record in Monroe County.
During the War Between the States, the sons of Davis Smith went off to war leaving behind them Davis Smith and his female children who resided in the home. Miranda Smith, an older sister of Jennie, was married to Orlando Holland and that family also resided on the plantation during the war years. The records show that Davis Smith owned over 20 slaves, which makes him a planter. The plantation prospered and a store was built to sell off the overflow.
The family casualties during the War Between the States were all three sons of Davis Smith, as well as Dr. Wesley Clements, the first husband of Jane Smith.
After the War Between the States, Jennie's husband, Thomas Young Brent, took over the plantation and the community was designated as "Brent, Georgia". All of Davis' slaves left during the war to follow the long trial of the Army of General Sherman as it devasted Atlanta and passed near the plantation. What the history books ignore is the fact that the slaves following on the heels of the Union Army were burdensome. For one thing, there was not enough food to feed such a following. By the time his army left Atlanta, the number of trailing slaves outnumbered the army. So, it was known to the residents of Washington County, as told to me during the 1960's, that the army drove many slaves into local creeks and rivers to drown. One slave insisted upon remaining with the Smith family. Her name was Sally. She is pictured to the right of the plantation house. The Smith plantation did not lay in Sherman's path, however, he sent foraging parties to gather food and animals. One such party was cited coming towards the Smith Plantation. The elderly widowed Davis Smith was sich with cancer and was the only gentleman on the place. My grandmother recounted again and again to us the story. The home sat back off the main road and was planted with a lane of cedar trees. The path was kept neatly swept. When the soldiers were spotted Davis quickly scampered up one of the cedar trees, to hide himself from the soldiers. As luck would have it, the party stopped their horses under the cedar where he hid. Davis' gold pocket watch ticked loudly in his ears. He feared that the soldiers would hear it. Instead, they made quick their foraging, taking chickens, horses and other farm animals. Davis Smith died in 1868 leaving his son-in-law, Thomas Young Brent, to maintain the plantation. Although Brent kept the store alive in the community, it was quite impossible to farm without laborers. The local Negroes refused to work, even with pay. Thus, the Smith Plantation fell into disrepair. Georgia's agricultural crisis of the next fifty years or so drove people into towns and cities. Such was the case at Brent, Georgia. Jennie and Ty Brent were removed to Atlanta, but when Jennie died she was returned to Brent and buried in the old Davis Smith cemetery across the street from the home. When I viewed the site in the 1960s, all that was remaining was a pasture and bricks from the chimney. But this is where Jennie's grandchildren and greatgrandchildren spent their summer vacations. And this is how the story remained alive in the family.

Alexander Smith was born in 1770 and died in 1820 in Laurens County, Georgia when Davis Smith administered his estate. He was married to Martha H. Franklin who died 1825/1829 in Warren County, a daughter of William and Mary Franklin. Rev. William Franklin helped build the first church in Wilkes County. Davis Smith named his first two sons after Franklin. Apparently, there was a great deal of family pride. It is said that Rev. Franklin came from Currituck County, North Carolina with the Mercer family. Alexander and Martha had three known children, viz: Matthew Smith (1790-1860), died in Dooly County; Davis Smith (1791-1868); and Jeremiah Smith (1793-1861), buried in the Smith Cemetery at Brent, Georgia.

Davis Smith was born 9 September 1791 in Washington County, Georgia and on died 14 May 1868 on the family plantation in Brent, Monroe County, Georgia. He was married (1) on 6 Jan 1820 in Laurens County to Hannah Ferth and by her had two small children. After Hannah's death, he was married to Elizabeth Dixon, the widow of Francis Tennille Jourdan of Washington County. He left Laurens County ca 1823 and purchased land in Monroe county where most of his children were born. Issue:
  • Martha Franklin Smith, born 29 Dec 1820, died 5 Oct 1821, buried in Smith Cemetery.
  • Miranda Smith, born 23 Mar 1822, died 19 Oct 1909, buried in Smith Cemetery, married 7 June 1842 in Monroe County Orlando Holland.
  • Mary Warren Smith, born 11 Apr 1823, died 6 Jan 1841, buried Smith Cemetery, married 13 Aug 1840 in Monroe County, Urbane Billingsley.
  • Tyrus Thomas Smith, born 25 Jul 1824, died ca 1903, buried in Smith Cemetery, married 19 Dec 1844 in Monroe County, Eliza J. Hill.
  • Davis Smith, born 20 May 1825, died during the War Between the States.
  • John Dickson Smith, born 10 May 1828, died 2 Jul 1829, buried in Smith Cemetery.
  • James Smith, born 14 Feb 1830, died during the War Between the States, married 20 Jul 1851 in Monroe County, Rebecca Bartlett.
Jennie Smith
Jane (Jennie) Smith, daughter of Davis and Elizabeth Smith, married (1) Wesley Clements (2) Thomas Young Brent.