After I had discovered that Henry Smith was the brother of Jane Smith Johnson McCoy from the letter of my grandfather, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr., grandson of Jane, I decided to look into the descendants of Henry and Mary Smith and the enslaver of Henry Smith, John Skinner Smith of Laurens County, SC. When working with African American genealogy, I knew I was so fortunate to have been given more clues with yet another interview.
Reverend Ulysses Rice lived in Washington, DC, and I lived in Hopkins, SC at the time I interviewed him. We were introduced by James Martin Wall, a double Johnson-Vance cousin. Rev. Rice sent me an interview conducted by Pat Whitehead, granddaughter of Howard Smith, son of Henry and Mary Smith. Rev. Rice is a grandson of Minnie Smith Young Summers, daughter of Henry and Mary Smith.
The “History of ‘Smith’ Family Name” was a portion of an interview of Rev. Ulysses Rice conducted by Pat Whitehead. The plantation, located in Laurens, SC, known as the Smith Plantation. Henry, a Cherokee Indian, was enslaved. He was known at the time as a “houseboy.” The Smith’s paid for Mary Bosch (spelling maybe incorrect), an Irish woman, to come to the United States and work at the plantation until the debt was paid.
The plantation owner vowed to lynch Henry after it was discovered that he and Mary were involved and had fallen in love. Henry ran away and hid in the woods for weeks. The plantation owner, John Skinner Smith, sent word to Henry that if he would come in and only be involved with Mary, he would let him live.
Henry return and married Mary. They gave birth to sixteen children. Mary brought two children of her own into this marriage.
Looking for Historical Documentation on Henry, Mary, and John Skinner Smith
I was able to find John Skinner Smith with his wife, Mary, and family in 1850: