This week, I am taking you back to the 1700’s! Our prompt this week is “favorite name.” While I was researching another person, the name of Lt. Stephen Justephonicus K Smith came up and immediately attracted my attention! Wow, what a name! It really spiked my curiosity so I started researching. I mean, who would name their child Justephonicus? Sure, it is attention grabbing and it does have a nice ring to it. Reminds me of a name that would go nicely in a silly children’s song. When I looked into Lt. Stephen J K Smith, I found a lot more than just an unusual name and…a photo of him!
Lt. Stephen Justephonicus K Smith is actually my 6th Great-grandfather and was born about 1703 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia Colony. His parents were William Smith (1678-1739) and Elizabeth Downing. Both parents were born in the Virginia Colony. William’s father, Richard Smith was born in Yorkshire, England but immigrated to Virginia. Elizabeth was at least a 3rd generation in the new Colony and both parents and grandparents were born in Virginia. So Elizabeth and William Smith named Stephen Justephonicus K Smith, or did they? Here is what I found out.
Stephen’s mother, Elizabeth Downing, was born 30 Dec 1670 in St. Stephen’s Parish, Northumberland, Virginia Colony. I am thinking that she named her first son Stephen after the parish where she came from. I found out that Stephen, as he grew up, used the name “Just Stephen” to distinguish himself from others with the very common surname of Smith. This “Just Stephen” morphed into “Justephan-icus” and must have become part of his name! The new adopted version became Justephonicus. After he served in the local militia, where he presumably became a lieutenant, he used the name Lt. Stephen Justephonicus K Smith. Before this, he was “just” Stephen Smith. It is unknown what the “K” stands for in his name – another mystery for another time.
Stephen married Mary Polly Hawkins who was born in Spotsylvania Co., Virginia Colony, in 1708. She was possibly the daughter of John Hawkins and Elizabeth Moseley but more research is needed on her parentage. Stephen and Mary Polly were married in Orange Co., Virginia Colony in 1729 when Stephen was 25 years old and Mary was about 21. They had six children between 1730 and 1750 including Charles, William, Grace (married a Mallory), James, Sarah and Stephen J K Smith, Jr. Now I wonder if the photo above is Lt. Stephen or his son, named after him – you decide. Either way, it is a photo of an ancestor I never had before!
I found a few records of Stephen in Orange County, the most notable of which were about his contributions to the War effort – the Revolutionary War. Stephen was too old for fighting during the Revolutionary War but he did support the war with large amounts of beef and pork! The procurement of adequate provisions and supplies was a continuing necessity for the Continental Army and militia forces alike. It was necessary to impress or take property as needed for the war effort. For items taken or impressed, local officials furnished owners with receipts or certificates as evidence to later file a claim at court for reimbursement or adjustment. Stephen’s claims were found noted and found “just and reasonable”. His claims included 225 lbs. of beef in Oct of 1781, 1925 lbs. of beef in Nov. of 1780, 116 lbs. of bacon in July of 1781 and, also, a gun, impressed for the Orange Militia and never returned. Stephen must have been somewhat prosperous to be able to supply such large quantities of meat!
Stephen J K Smith made his will on 24 Feb 1781. He was 80 years old when he died in Orange County, Virginia. He had lived in the Parish of St. Thomas and after 1770, he attended the Old Blue Run Baptist Church in Tibbstown, Virginia. (Pictured below)
Stephen had a son (or grandson, son of his son, Charles) also named after him. This Stephen I K Smith, was listed on the Orange County Militia list of the 1777 in the Revolutionary War. This Stephen Smith served under Col. James Madison, father of our third president, James Madison! This Stephen was listed as a Corporal in the 4th Regiment of Virginia in June 1779.
Lt. Stephen and Mary Polly Smith’s son, Charles Smith, also served in the 6th Regiment of South Carolina in 1779-1780. Charles Smith was a resident of Albemarle County in 1780 and the census at that time listed his possessions for tax levies. His household had: 1 free male above 21, 10 slaves, 17 cattle, 6 horses, colts & mules, and no wheels for riding carriages.
Charles moved his family about 1786 to Surry County, North Carolina where he purchased land and built his family with his wife, Ann King Mallory. In 1790 Charles is listed on the First Census of the United States. Ann Smith died in 1803 and was buried in the Smith Family Cemetery. By 1820, Charles owned 18 slaves (1820 U. S. Census, Surry NC). Charles passed away 14 August of 1829 at the age of 99 years, a great age to attain in those times, and was buried in the Smith Family Cemetery, Mount Airy, Surry, North Carolina. He had set aside land for the family cemetery in his will.
The Charles Smith Family Bible is still in existence and owned by Ms. Vernie Yankee, Lone Jack, MO. The Bible lists family records of births and marriages of all the 10 children of Charles and Ann. Charles Smith and one of his daughters, Dianah, are our ancestors. Dianah married William Lyon in 1795.
Dianah and William’s daughter, Jane Mallory Lyon, married James Ransom Dudley and they were the parents of Mary Lavalett Dudley.
Mary Lavalett Dudley married Joseph Cloud Lyons and they were parents of George Edward Lyons who married Susanna Virginia Ashlin.
George Lyons and Susanna Ashlin were parents of Clarence Lyons.
Clarence Lyons married Cammie Swanson who were parents of LaFon Lyons, my father.
Following this lineage, makes my favorite name person, Lt. Stephen Justephonicus Smith, my 6th great-grandfather! As an added bonus, I found some hints that Ann Mallory, wife of Charles Smith, may be a cousin to none other than George Washington. It looks promising but records need to be verified!
Below is a picture of the Old Blue Run Baptist Church attended by Lt. Justphonicus K Smith after 1770. Also a map of part of Surry County, North Carolina from the late 1700s or early 1800s showing properties held by various owners including Charles Smith. Sources listed below also.
Abingdon Parish Register, 1678-1761, Library of Virginia.
Headley, Robert K., Married Well and Often: Marriages of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 1649-1800, Baltimore MD, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003, pp. 114, 325.
Patriots of the Upcountry: Orange Co., Virginia in the Revolution, by William H B Thomas; Orange County Bicentennial Commission, Orange, Virginia, 1976, pp. 91,104-5, 123-4.
http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center, James Madison Center site.
U. S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, database on-line, Provo UT, USA Ancestry.com Operations, 2007.
Charles Smith Bible Records, The Kansas City Genealogist, 1962, p. 9.
Orange County Wills and Administrations (1735-1800), pp. 82-3, 89.
Personal Property Tax Lists, 1782 (Virginia State Library), FHL 2024443, p. 10.
NARA microfilm pub. M637, 12 rolls, National Archives, Washington D.C.