An Original 1848 Letter

Written by Mr. Seth Smith of Lyons NY

Do you have an elusive Smith in your family? We hope this helps someone with the "Smith Problem". This transcript of the original 1848 letter from Seth Smith of Lyons to his nephew in Onondaga County was made by Allyn Hess Perry. A copy of the original may be viewed at the Office of the Wayne County Historian. We would appreciate any information about who Seth, his nephew and other persons mentioned were to post on this page.

**** Genealogical information about Mr. Smith's family appears below the letter.

Mr. Sidney Smith
Onondaga Co.
(Seth Smith)

Rec'd July 26, '48 - (Lyons, July 24, 1848)

Dear Nephew,

I received your letter of the 16 [Inst]. Bringing the sorrow full news of the death of my sister. This is another sad event to add to the many I have had of the same kind for many years past in my own family and in my Father's family, as well as amongst other relations and neighbors. Every death brings my sorrow to my mind and feelings, and fastens a gloom upon my life which is uncomfortable to bear. But it is consoling to hear that she has been exorcised with little or no pain and that she left this left with much [lep = less] agony than is common when [haping = passing?] out of the world. I have not heard from you very directly since last fall; But I have asked Mr. Miller every opportunity who hears from you more frequently, and he has usually mentioned that Betsey was rather poorly but not more so than was to be expected, so I was not alarmed, knowing that you would inform me if she should be any length of time seriously ill. I had not expected she would be carried off so suddenly. A sudden death is hard to bear, whether the person is old or young.

Concerning her property which you speak of, I will write to Cyrus and consult him on the subject. It would suit me but to be with him and you together on the ocation but I do not see how I can be at liberty until nex winter as I am this season engaged in the Collecton Office which keeps me confined every day, and every other night, all night. I think it best to have it done without the Expense of law; and I think there will be no difficulty in the way. You will please keep everything snug & safe as usual. The case I think needs no hurry, so as to put any one to inconvenience.

My family are as well as usual. Please remember me to all yours. I have intend to write for a long time past, but it is something of a task to me, which is the reason I have not done it.

I am affectionaly


12/26/10 - Seth Smith and his wife Lois appear in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses of Lyons. According to information found on line (which needs to be verified as to original source) Mr. Smith was born July 13, 1790 in Connecticut and passed away September 24, 1877. He's said to have married Lois Hecox (1795-1870) on January 15, 1822. In 1850 and 1870 his occupation was clerk, and in 1860 as book keeper. Lewis and Cornelia in the census are two children in their large family. Mr. Smith's parents were Job Smith and Elizabeth Keeler. The Cyrus Smith referred to in the letter was his brother. Smiths aren't listed on any of the county historian's cemetery listings. There was another Seth Smith who resided in the Town of Galen.

The following undated August 1889 obituary from the Arcadian Weekly Gazette of Newark should be of assistance:

Died. In Skaneateles, August 10th, Mrs. Chloe Smith, widow of the late Lewis Smith, aged ninety-six years. Mrs. Smith was the sister of the late Mrs. James Miller of this town, and sister-in-law of the late Seth Smith of Lyons, and Cyrus Smith of Clyde.

This genealogical information about the father and siblings of Seth Smith was kindly sent to the Office of the County Historian by Byron Fitch Jefferies in 2012. The original source is: Mortuary records with genealogical notes of the town of Spafford, Onondaga County, New York, by Captain George Knapp Collins, published by the Onondaga Historial Association. Dehler Press. 1917. Formatting is as in the original book.


In memory of Job Smith. Died January 16, 1827, age
80 years.

(He was born in Norwalk, Conn., and married there
Elizabeth Keeler; from there he first settled in Greenfield,
Greene County, N. Y., and from there came to this town,
about February 25, 1806. and settled on a part of the State's
Hundred Acres, on Lot 74, Marcellus. He was Paymaster
in the War of the Revolution. By his wife, Elizabeth
Keeler, who was also born in Norwalk, Conn., he had the
following children: William, married Mary ______, he
was a farmer and settled in Richmond, Ontario County,
N. Y., he never came to this town; Sarah, married Mr.
Shepard in Greene County, N. Y., she never came here, she
had a son, Cyrus Smith Shepard, who resided with his
maternal grand parents in this town, and went to Califor-
nia, where he died; Elizabeth, died unmarried at Thorn
Hill ; Stephen, married Freelove Green, he was a farmer
and carpenter, and died at Thorn Hill, December 27, 1825;
Phebe, married Amasa Sessions as his second wife, she died
at Thorn Hill, she had a son, Alonzo Sessions, who settled
in Ionia, Michigan, and became very wealthy, he was Presi-
dent of a bank in Ionia, Member of the Michigan Legislature
on several occasions, Sheriff of the county of his residence,
President of the State Constitutional Convention of Michi-
gan, and once Lieutenant Governor of that State. Another
of her sons: John Sessions, was a lawyer in Brooklyn, N. Y.,
and married Elizabeth Fisher, a niece of Bishop Hunting-
ton, of Syracuse, N. Y. She also had a grandson, John
Sessions, Jr., who was also a lawyer, and married a
daughter of Bishop Huntington; Lewis, married Chloe Ben-
son; Charles, married Sophia Bull, he died in Skaneateles
at the age of 34 years; Seth, married Lois Hecox, sister of
Col. Warren Hecox of Skaneateles, he moved to Lyons,
N. Y.
; and Cyrus, married Lucinda Harvey, daughter of
Medad and Anar (Buell) Harvey, he was a merchant and
settled in Marengo, Wayne County, N. Y. From there he
moved to Clyde, and then to Chautauqua County, N. Y.
From Chautauqua County he moved to California, where
he was engaged in the milling business at the time of his

Mr. Jefferies notes that "Lois [Hecox] Smith and Col. Warren Hecox were daughter and son of Samuel Hecox Sr. (Patriot) of Oneida County, NY. Brother and sister of Cyrus, Samuel and Eli Hecox as well. There were other descendants of Samuel Hecox Sr. as well but settled other locations."

Volunteer typist: Allyn Hess Perry

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