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Land Grants

D-34 (300 acres, 16 Nov 1788)

Thomas Smith. Origin: Old Inhabitant.

Thomas Smith received 300 acres in the Clarencetown area of Long Island on 16 November 1788. That land grant was bounded by that of Peter Dean, Gibson & Taylor, Archibald Taylor.

The name Thomas Smith is an old Bahamian name as early as the Eleutheran Adventures in the 1600’s. The Smith surname is listed in the 1731 Census of Nassau and Eleuthera, and in Nassau in the 1740 Census. Thomas is a Smith first name present in continuous lineal descent from Bermuda in the 17th century, into the Bahamas in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Thomas Smith was apparently a well-connected and well-respected individual, likely both in Nassau and on Long Island; he was signatory of dozens of legal instruments in the second half of the 1700s. A Thomas Smith married Mary Storr on New Providence on 31 December 1772. However, there was also a Loyalist Thomas Smith, a native of England, who traveled to Connecticut and New York and who, as a soldier, received a land grant on Abaco in 1789.

We decided that Smith was almost certainly an Old Inhabitant, partly because his land grant on Long Island exempts the payment of quit rent for only 2 years, indicating he was not a Loyalist. Furthermore, his Long Island grant was issued earlier than his Abaco land grant. Finally, the fact that the name Thomas Smith is all over early Bahamian records, but only one brief mention of the same name in Loyalist records, created a strong argument for this grantee being an influential Old Inhabitant, rather than a Loyalist.

In an affidavit in the 1822 Slave Register, a Thomas Smith stated that he had 5 slaves and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Smith, had 6 slaves on Long Island. In the 1834 Slave Register, Smith listed slaves Harry (age 49), Moses (18), and Sue (16). His wife Mary listed Cress (a male, aged 56), Mary (55), Isaac (24), Jessamine (19), Morris (18), and Cuffie (6). A Benjamin Sims affidavit of 1834 states that Thomas Smith gave Harry, a mulatto, to John Smith.

Reference: Census 1740, JR, DR, HB, Land Grant.

Thomas Smith

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