Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Family of Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott of Medina, Portage, Wood and Sandusky Counties, Ohio

       This is a blog regarding my husband's paternal great great great grandparents. Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott.  Abner was born circa 1798 in Massachusetts.  His parentage is unknown at this date, although there are several guesses.  My favorite is Abner Smith and Olive Onion of Denham, Massachusetts.  Sarah, daughter of Ezekiel Mott, Jr. and Mary (Polly) was born in Trumbull County, Ohio in 1798.

Connecticut Western Reserve map 1789 with Trumbull, Portage and Medina Counties underlined

     The story begins in Deerfield County, Ohio in 1809 or earlier, on land located then in the Connecticut Western Reserve.  Acres of land in this area was being sold by the Connecticut Land Company to pioneers from the New England area who wanted to venture west.  "Initial settlement of the area was sporadic and slow, however by the 1820's, the region began to prosper.  he first settlers and towns they established reflected the culture of Connecticut and New England." (The Western Reserve Historical Society).

     Following his service in the American Revolutionary War, Ezekiel Mott, Sr. made his way west with his family.  His son, Ezekiel Mott, Jr. probably accompanied his father.  Records are sketchy at best.  Ezekiel Mott, Jr. married Mary (Polly) and his first child, a son, was born in Pennsylvania in 1797.  His second child, a daughter, Sarah, was born in Trumbull County, Ohio in 1798.  Trumbull County is underlined in the map above, far right hand side.

     What year all the Motts arrived in Deerfield Township, Portage County, Ohio is unknown.  Both Ezekiel Mott senior and junior were enumerated in the 1810 Ohio Tax List.  Both were listed as residents of Portage County, Ohio in 1809, probably Deerfield Township.  Portage County is the middle county underlined on the map above.  Sarah was age eleven and helping her mother with household chores and raising three younger brothers.  There were numerous extended Mott family members living in the same township.

     Several Medina County, Ohio history accounts reveal that Ezekiel Mott, Jr. had removed to land in Granger Township in 1816, squatting on land that was owned by George Codding--hence Sarah's father was known as Squatter Mott.  Medina County, Ohio is the far left hand side white underlined county above.

     When Abner C. Smith arrived in Medina County, Ohio from Massachusetts is unknown.  In fact, little is known about him until his marriage.  Had Abner connected with the Mott family when they lived in Deerfield Township in Portage County and followed to Medina County?  Was he traveling on his own, a young man, from Massachusetts to the Western Reserve looking for a new life in the west?

     On October 6, 1820, Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott, both twenty two years of age, married in Medina County, Ohio.  Burt Codding, Justice of the Peace, certified the marriage on November 20, 1820.

A Digression of Sorts:  Straightening out Land Records

     I am taking a moment here to express that although the reader might think that following the life of someone named Ezekiel Mott in the early 1800's would be child's is not.  This particular Mott clan named and renamed sons and grandsons Ezekiel.  I have mentioned in other blogs that my husband, a lawyer, has always said, follow the land.  The sticky wicket for me has become land records in Medina County, Ohio.  

     Why do I mention this?  Trying to untangle Mott land records?  Because I believe Abner and Sarah may have also lived on Ezekiel's land...Abner, a farmer, assisting his father-in-law. 


     The first actual land record I was able to locate for Abner is dated 1827, Bath Township, Medina County, Ohio.  Today Bath Township is located in Summit County, Ohio which was not formed until 1840.  Abner has three head of cattle, no horses, paid his canal, school and road taxes.  

     Was this land Aber is enumerated on actually his father-in-laws property?  Ezekiel purchased sixty acres from Burt and Betsey Codding of Bath, Medina County, Ohio in 1819:  Township 3, Lot 22 for 300 (foreign coinage was utilized at this time).  The purchase is found in Medina County land books, Volume A&B, page 85.  I had originally thought Ezekiel's land was in Granger Township.  Now it appears his property was more probably in Bath Township.  Ezekiel and his wife had removed to Portage County where he died in 1828.  There is a deed of Ezekiel's property by Ezekiel to Richard Paul in 1827 and date of record in 1828 by his wife, Mary. By the 1830 Ohio Federal Census, Abner C. Smith and Sarah had removed to Deerfield Township, Portage County, Ohio.   Also note that Abner and Sarah's marriage was certified by Burt Codding, JP, probably the same man her father purchased property from one year earlier.

Back to the Smith Story

     Utilizing the land information and the fact that I can find one record, I am assuming that Abner and Sarah lived in their own cabin or with her parents on the Bath Township land.  Abner farmed.  Sarah raised children and tended to the home.  

     Back in 2000, James Brandon II, shared his Abner C. Smith database.  According to his research, Abner and Sarah had three daughters by 1830.  His data aligns with Abner's 1830 Ohio Federal Census. The names of the two youngest girls are mentioned in a biography of Jacob Plants who married the third daughter, Sarah, named for her mother. (Wood County Ohio Atlas 1875-1912, page 47FF)

     The Smith Family began adding to their family with a daughter, Harriett Smith, born April 17, 1822.  Next three years later, Mary Ann, born April 2, 1825.  On October 31, 1827, Sarah was born.  Her information lists Portage County, Ohio as her birth place.  There is no month or day on the 1827 Bath Township Land Owner Record.  Perhaps the Smith Family had relocated to Portage County by their daughter Sarah's birth or she was actually born in Medina County, Bath Township.

     The 1830 Ohio Federal Census for Portage County, Deerfield Township, is extremely difficult  (impossible) to read on Ancestry.  Back in the day, 1990's, I scrolled through microfilm and jotted down information on this particular census report.  Page 206:  one male age 30-40 Abner; one female under age 5 Sarah; two females age 5-10 Harriett and Mary Ann; one female age 30-40 Sarah.

     Records I have found on Ancestry list the birth of three sons: Ezra, 1829; William, July 2, 1830 and Ezekiel, February 16, 1832.  I question Ezra because he does not show on the 1830 Ohio Federal Census report.  On census reports from 1850 and 1860, Ezra age shows he was born circa 1833

     I found a listing for Abner C. Smith on a school census report.  Abner had three children aged 4-12 enrolled in Deerfield Township School District #1, Portage County, Ohio in 1832. (School Census of Portage County, Ohio Enumeration of White Youth, Age 4-12, 1832)  According to ages in 1832, the three girls would have been attending school.

     Abner's 1832-1833 Deerfield Township, Portage County, Ohio Tax Assessment shows that he owned two head of cattle and paid taxes for a state canal, road and county school.

     It appears that the Smith family farmed a piece of land in Deerfield Township for a decade.  There were numerous Mott families farming there during the 1830's and through the 1800's.  In fact today there is a Mottown Cemetery and a Mottown Road.  At one time there was a railroad stop listed as Mottown.

     What prompted the Smith's to pack up and leave what appeared to be the safety of family?  A place where they had made their home for over a decade.  Were they traveling with friends or extended family?  And why did they ever choose Wood County, Ohio which was covered by The Great Black Swamp?    

     Now I am running into a little technical issue.  I wrote the son's blog before the father.  To make my life easier, please excuse my cut and paste from the blog of Abner and Sarah's son, Orison.  And, to see more information on The Great Black Swamp, it is on Orison's blog.

     The exact year the Smith Family settled in Wood County, Ohio is unknown.  Abner's 1840 Ohio Federal Census, lists him as a farmer residing in Wood County, Portage Township, Ohio. Adding to the confusion, Abner is listed as an early pioneer in 1839 residing in Montgomery Township, Wood County, Ohio.  (Commemorative Historical and Biographical Record of Wood County, Ohio:  Its Past and Present, Early Settlement and Development, Biographies and Portraits of Early Settlers and Representative Citizens,  J.H. Beers & Company, 1897, page 332).

     The map above shows a portion of Wood County.  When the Smith family moved to Wood, Portage Township encompassed Montgomery Township, which adds to the confusion as to where they actually settled.  My hunch is that they were farming near the town of Wayne, which was then called Freeport.  One reason Abner wanted a plank road constructed in Freeport.  

     The Smith's seventh child, Orison, was born on October 10, 1838.  His death certificate lists Wood County, Ohio as his birth place.  Orison is my husbands paternal great great grandfather.

     The 1840 Ohio Federal Census gives a good snapshot into the family makeup.  Abner is engaged in agriculture and living in Portage Township, Wood County, Ohio.  There are two males under age 5--Ezekiel and Orison.  One male age 5-10--Ezra and one male age 10-15--William.  One male 40-50--Abner.  One female age 10-15--Sarah.  One female age 15-20--either Harriet or Mary Ann (one is either married or deceased). One female age 40-50--Sarah.

     Everyone in the family would have been engaged in running the farm and/or the house.  Farmers had to construct drainage systems on their land to clear the swamp.  Underneath was rich soil.  The area had a church, school, dry good store and a post system using a horse and rider.

     A final child, a son, was born on May 18, 1841, Augustus Hutchins Smith

     Abner has four Tax Assessments, that I located, all in Montgomery Township, Wood County, Ohio.   The 1842 tax assessment on page 116, Abner owns two head of cattle, no horses and paid his fair share for a state canal and roads.  Page 118 lists Abner with 3 head of cattle, no horses and marked delinquent in payment.  Delinquent again in 1844, he owns three head of cattle, page 40.  The 1850 assessment does not list any personal ownership for any of the men listed; only the amount paid for the state canal and roads.  Abner paid the amount due.

     I found the above listing for Abner on Google Books dated Monday, January 28, 1850.  (Journal of the House of Representatives General Assembly of Ohio, Being the First Session of the Forty-Eighth General Assembly, Held on the City of Columbus, Commencing on Monday, December 3, 1849, Volume 48, 1850, Columbus:  S. Medary, printer, page 203)  When I first read it I thought that the Smiths had removed to Fremont; however, the 1850 Ohio Federal Census, taken on October 13, 1850 lists the family as farming in Montgomery Township, Wood County.  There is no other Abner Smith listed in the 1850 census in Sandusky County.  Abner must have traveled to Sandusky County to join the other citizens in their plea for a new road from the mill to Freeport in Wood County.

     Finally.  The 1850 census lists names.  The Smith Family is enumerated in Montgomery Township, Wood County, Ohio on October 13, 1850, page 408.  Abner, age 52, born in Massachusetts, a farmer with $100.00 of owned real estate.  Sarah, age 52, born in Ohio.  William age 20, born in Ohio.  Ezra A. age 17, born in Ohio.  Ezekiel age 14, born in Ohio.  Orison age 12, born in Ohio.  Augustus age 9, born in Ohio.  The daughters are all missing.  I believe Harriet died before 1840.  I know Sarah married Jacob Plantz (Plants) in Sandusky County on December 8, 1844.  Then there is Mary Ann.

     I have not found anyone who has traced Mary Ann Smith.  So I went down a rabbit hole. Hours of on line research.  Assuming that this Mary Ann Smith is indeed the daughter of Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott Smith, she married Hubbard H. Cross in Wood County, Ohio on October 14, 1844.

     Sometime after 1855, the Smith Family made their final move, to the Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio area.  Son, Orison, states in this Civil War pension file that he was working as a sailor and shoe repairman and living at his home in Fremont by 1857.

     The 1860 Ohio Federal Census confirms the relocation to the Fremont area.  Enumerated on June 12, 1860, Sandusky Township, Sandusky County, Fremont Post Office, page 48, Abner C. Smith, age 62, day laborer, born in Massachusetts, can read and write.  Sarah, age 62, born in Ohio, cannot read or write.  Ezra A. Smith, age 28, farm laborer, born in Ohio.  Ezekiel Smith, age 25, farm laborer, born in Ohio.  Augustus H. Smith, age 19, born in Ohio, attended school within the year.  I would like to note that the family is enumerated with a page of farmers.  I am concluding that Abner is a farmer, although he lists himself as a day laborer.  Sons missing from the census:  Orison--probably working as a sailor and not at home since it is summer.  William--could be married or living on his own as a twenty eight year old man.  His Civil War pension file could lead to an answer.

Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in The War of the Rebellion 1861-1866, Volume 6, page 106.

     The news of the growing civil unrest in America was certainly known in Fremont.  It is a fear that strikes a mothers heart and would have been discussed at the dinner table every night.  There are records of all of the Smith sons enlisting in service in various companies of the Ohio Volunteer Army.  William, Augustus and Ezra all enlisted in 1861 with Company F, 72nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army.  Only Augustus returned home from service.  Orison enlisted into Company G, 111th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army and was discharged with medical disabilities.  (Details regarding his service is found on his blog).  I have found a Civil War draft registration for Ezekiel, but no information if and with which regiment he served.

William Smith

     William Smith, age twenty eight, joined Company F, 72nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army, at Fremont, on November 16, 1861, for three years.  He mustered in as a private on February 18, 1862 in Camp Chase, Ohio.  He died of disease three months later on May 28, 1862 at Louisville, Kentucky.  His burial is listed at New Albany National Cemetery, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana on Find A Grave.  

Ezra A. Smith

     Ezra A. Smith, age twenty six, joined Company F, 72 Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army on November 6, 1861, at Fremont, for three years.  He mustered in as a private on February 18, 1862 in Camp Chase, Ohio.  He died four months later on June 15, 1862 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Ezra was originally buried at Wesleyan Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.  He was re interred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, St. Louis County, Missouri.

       The sorrow of the family to have two sons die within months of each other in states far away.  By 1860, there were two railroad lines crossing through Fremont.  Were the parents or other family members able to visit the burial sights to grieve?     

  The Smiths not only lost two sons to the war, also a step grandson, Emmanuel Plantz, who served with Company I, 72nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army and died of a gunshot wound on April 8, 1862 in Tennessee.  One record lists his burial was at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.  On the website for the Shiloh National Cemetery, the name was changed from Pittsburgh Landing to Shiloh National Cemetery in 1888.  Grave markers have been erected there; however, sadly,there is none for Emmanuel.  

     Also of interest is the record of Hubbard H. Cross, also serving with the three Smith brothers in Company F, 72nd Regiment who died, at age 40, June 12, 1862 in Tennessee.  Hubbard is the husband of Mary Ann Smith, who I believe is the daughter of Abner and Sarah Smith.

     This brief biography of Jacob Plantz, Sarah Smith's husband, mentions her family; the family of Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott.  It was in the 1875 Hardesty's Atlas of Wood County, Ohio, page 47EE.  Both Jacob and Sarah were alive to give the information.  One piece of misinformation is Orison Smith's Civil War service.  He enlisted with the 111th Regiment. 

     From the end of the Civil War forward, I have found no mention of Abner or Sarah Mott Smith, only a death record for Abner.  There is no 1870 census report, no grave or tombstone.  These two early Ohio pioneers are lost to history.

     The record of Abner's death.  He is listed as a widower, having died in Madison Township in Sandusky County, Ohio.  Perhaps on his farm?  Perhaps buried beside his wife, Sarah, in a cemetery on the farm?  As I mentioned, they have become lost in history.

   Additional Family Blogs

Orison and Drusilla Knapp Smith

Sarah Smith and Jacob Plantz

Augustus Hutchins Smith and Mary (Polly) Plantz

Ezekiel Smith and Harriet Neil

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2020, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

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