Jul 25, 2015 - Philpott Stories    No Comments

William Smoot

William Smoot was my 9th great grandfather and he appears to have been an interesting fellow. One of his granddaughters married into the Philpott line, from which my great grandmother was descended. My comments are in bold.

Author: Harry Wright Newman William Smute, Pages 1-5 & William Smoot2, Pages 5-6


WILLIAM SMUTE 1WHETHER William Smute was born in Scotland, on the Continent, or in England is an unsolved question at the writing of these chronicles, but we do know that his birth occurred about the year 1596/7. In his late teens he was apprenticed to a boatwright who trained him in that craft until he obtained sufficient perfection as to be acceptable to the guild of that industry. He selected undoubtedly a livelihood which had been hereditary in his family, as was customary in England and the Continent of his day, and the fact that he aspired to be a designer and constructor of boats indicates perhaps early days spent near the seacoast. Furthermore, the Netherlanders being among the foremost seafaring peoples of his day, adds another thread to his Dutch origin.


Sometime during the year 1633 William Smute was in London when he, as a member of the Boatwright Guild, agreed to perform 50 days of work in Virginia for Colonel Thomas Burbage. It was this contract no doubt which changed his destiny from being a progenitor of a relatively provincial family in England to one which subsequently attained in some branches wealth and position in America.

Many of our ancestor families originated in this area

Shortly after the year 1633 William Smute sailed from England and settled at Hampton, York (now Elizabeth City) County. (Since the English settlers occupied the former Indian village of Kecoughtan in 1610, and the town at Jamestown was eventually abandoned, the city of Hampton now claims to be the oldest continuously-settled English city in North America.) The first mention of his name in public records is that of February 24, 1642, [See record] when he was granted for the transportation of eight persons into Virginia “400 acres of land in the Countie of Yorke near the head of Tymber Creek on the north side of Charles River near the land of Mr. Minifee” Research fails to disclose the identity of the persons whom he brought into the country, but it can be assumed that they were servants and his immediate family, for circumstances are such that as early as 1633 he must have been the father of several young children.


He next appears on record as “William Smote of Hampton Boatright”. There from all circumstances he maintained an establishment befitting his rank and position in the community, and pursued his trade as boatwright, constructing with the aid of indentures many of the watercrafts used by the early settlers. In 1644 George Codd completed his term of servitude under William Smute, so consequently the court ordered the granting to Codd, in accordance with the rules of indentures fulfilling their service, “3 barrels of corn and cloathes”.


William Smute fought in the campaign against the Pamunky and Chickahominy Indians, and for his services he was granted 600 pounds of tobacco on October 1, 1644, by the Grand Jury held at James City.1 For his participation in one of the early Indian Wars, all of his proved male descendants who maintain the position today of “gentlemen” are eligible to membership in the Society of Colonial Wars in America.


Among his neighbors were Ashwell Batten, a name connected with the Smoot family by marriage, George Menefy, Esq., and Lewis Burwell, Gent. The latter on June 12, 1648, received for the transportation of a number of inhabitants a grant of 2,350 acres of land which extended in one direction “down the river along the land of George Menefy Esq. until it meets the land of William Smoote”.


William Smoot created a number of financial obligations and appeared frequently in court. In 1644 he acknowledged an indebtedness of 854 pounds of tobacco to Ashwell Batten and was ordered by the court to “make payment of the said 854 pounds of tobacco with court charges to the said Ashwell Batten within five days”. On March 8, 1645, William Smoot petitioned the court to protect the property of Joseph Hill who was indebted to him (William Smoot) against the claims of Ashwell Batten for 850 pounds of tobacco.


In 1644 William Smoot owed Francis Morgan 1,188 pounds of tobacco. At one time he purchased from John Davis a mill and the land on which it stood. In 1646 William Smoot sued William Broch for a debt of 600 pounds of tobacco. Shortly after this action, William Smoot with his family departed for the Province of Maryland.


On November 22, 1646, Robert Bouth appeared at court and “ordered an attachement against the estate of William Smote for security of a debt of 900 1/2 bushels of meale being due to him by bill in regard the said Smote is gon out of the Colony to Maryland”.


It seems as if William Smoot assigned his land in Virginia or parts thereof to Edmond Peters, of Gloucester County, who was granted 442 acres on March 22, 1659, described as follows “at the head of Timber Necke Creek 342 acres beginning at Captain Perye’s land adjoining 100 acres of his own land and running to William Alsopp’s land, 100 acres beginning on a branch of the said creek extending near the land of Mr. Lewis Burwell, deceased, and 192 acres part of 400 acres granted to William Smoote 24 February 1642 and assigned to the said Peters and 250 acres for the transportation of five persons”.


It is reasonable to assume that his eldest children were born on the other side, but the fact that some of his progenies were minors when he settled in Maryland proves that at least some were born in Virginia. ______________ 1 Henning’s Statues, vol. 1, p. 287.



His wife at the time of his migration to the Province was Grace —-, whom he had married as a widow Wood, with a daughter. No record has been found of an earlier marriage, but it is noted that the given name of Grace is missing among the descendants of his sons.


Grace, the wife of James Atwickes and later that of Thomas Hinton, was referred to by some of the children as “sister”. She and her first husband, however, were transported into Virginia by John Dorman, of Northampton County, who demanded land in 1655. It is therefore a question whether she was born Grace Wood or Grace Smoot. William Smoot, however, did not transport her with his family in 1646, but she came into Maryland at a later date through the activities of John Waghop who transported her, her husband, and children–William and Jeane Atwickes. (I question this, as immigration records show Grace with William when he arrived).


Children of William Smoot 1. Richard Smoot married Elizabeth —-. q.v. 2. Thomas Smoot married Jane Batten. q.v. 3. Elizabeth Smoot married Humphrey Atwickes. 4. Anne Smoot, born 1640, married William Hungerford and William Barton. Issue: William Hungerford. 5. Alice Smoot. 6. William Smoot married Jane —-. q.v.


What actuated William Smoot to change his residence from Virginia to Maryland will perhaps always remain a subject of conjecture, but we do have 1646 as the year in which he forsook his allegiance as a subject of Virginia to that of a tenant or subject of Lord Baltimore. On June 12, 1647, he was granted by His Lordship’s Land Office a patent for 300 acres of land near the mouth of Herring Creek, known as “Smoote” in consideration of his own migration into the Province and the transportation of his wife and two children (unnamed) in the year 1646. This tract lay on the Potomac River near the mouth of Herring Creek, east of the land of Thomas Bushnell, in the Manor of New Towne in present St. Mary’s County. It is believed that on this land he first established his seat but eventually moved westward and settled on his surveys around the Wicomico. He later conveyed this land to John Co—-.


Another entry shows that he was awarded a patent for 400 acres of land originally known as “Smoothly” for the transportation of his wife Grace and her daughter Elizabeth Wood, and his children Thomas, Richard, Elizabeth, Anne, and Alice, and a maid servant Anne Woodnot at his own expense from Virginia to Maryland on or about April 6, 1646. This patent later became known as “Attwicke’s Purchase” and lay on the west side of the Wicomico. Another warrant was issued for land on the south side of Herring Creek between the lands of Robert Kedger and Walter Roans.


William Smoot and his son-in-law, William Hungerford, were among those who on April 17, 1650, signed the Stone’s Declaration as “We the said Lieutenant, Council, Burgesses, and other Protestant inhabitants” declared that they enjoyed “all fitting and convenient freedom and liberty in the exercise of our religion under his Lordship’s Government and interest”. Thus, there is evidence that William Smoot was a member of the Established Church of England and was not in opposition to the Roman Catholic faith of the Calverts. Until the Revolution his descendants adhered strictly to the Anglican Church, one taking Holy Orders and being rector of the parish at historic St. Mary’s City.


On January 26, 1652, William Smoot assigned a portion of “Atwicke’s Purchase”, lying next to the lands of John Hatch, to Humphrey Atwickes and another portion to Richard Smoot (shown as a stepchild on the immigration records). The transactions were acknowledged by Grace Smoot his wife. In 1658 William Smoot patented 240 acres of land on the west side of the Wicomico River known as “Smootwood”, a portion of which he subsequently assigned to William Barton. This tract became known as “The Hills”, 190 acres being later held by Walter Hanson and 50 acres by Notley Maddox. In 1665 he transported seven persons into Maryland for which he was granted 350 acres of land, and later an additional six persons for which he received 300 acres. The latter he assigned to Richard Morris.


William Smoot practised his profession in Maryland by designing and constructing many of the early vessels used in the inter-colonial trade between Maryland and Virginia. He built a pinnace for Ralph Beane, of St. Mary’s County, and another for Charles Calvert, Esq. In 1649 he sold a boat to a Mr. Groffey, of Virginia. His interest was not only centered in the construction of watercrafts but in trading as well. He at one time purchased a boat from Governor Leonard Calvert and after using it for a period, he sold it in the year 1647. He was in touch with people and affairs in Virginia, and in 1651 certain business was transacted between him and Captain Francis Morgan, of York County.


His reputation as an authority on watercrafts was recognized to the extent that he was called upon to appraise various vessels. On September 1, 1662, “William Smoote, Carpenter, aged 65 years” deposeth upon oath that the “ship called St. George’s as she now lyes sunk in the Wiccommico River was worth 2,000 pounds of tobacco and no more”.


On January 21, 1652/3, Colonel Thomas Burbage instituted legal action against William Smoot through the former’s attorney Captain Thomas Cornwallys, of St. Mary’s City, for the alleged non-fulfillment of the contract made in England. “Satisfaction upon a bond of £4 Sterling Entered into by the defendt about 20 years since in England . . . for the payment of 50 days work in Virginia”. William Smoot defended himself, declaring to be 56 years of age and stating that he discharged the contract according to conditions. The case was dismissed and William Smoot was awarded 150 pounds of tobacco for his trouble and expense in coming about 40 miles from his home to appear at court. At this time it is believed he was domiciled on his estate bordering the Wicomico as the distance from Herring Creek to St. Mary’s City would appear to be somewhat less.


William Smoote was in sympathy with Josias Fendall and consequently was involved in the legal proceedings following his prosecution. On April 17, 1661, at the Provincial Court he was arraigned with twelve others for “mutinously, seditiously, and the instigation of the Devil … assembled at the house of Josias Fendall in Charles County in February 1660, and attempted by force to rescue Josias Fendall formerly the Governor of the Province and William Hatch Secretary”. The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty”.


Grace Smoote, the wife of William, died on January 14, 1666. Inasmuch as she was reported in the records as the “wife”, William Smoote was apparently living at that date. It is believed that he died intestate shortly afterwards, by 1670 at the latest. No record has been found of the appraisement of his estate nor the administration.

WILLIAM SMOOT2 (16– – 1716)


William Smoot, the believed son of William the emigrant, remained in Virginia or he was born after his father settled in Maryland and returned to Virginia in early manhood. By 1672, however, he was domiciled in Farnham Parish of Old Rappahannock (now Essex) County, Virginia.


On December 2, 1672, he witnessed the sale of a cow sold by Edward Wrilly to Mary Wright. The fact that he witnessed a deed in 1672 would indicate that he had at least attained his eighteenth birthday, consequently his birth occurred prior to the year 1654.


On January 16, 1678, he was present at the transfer of 307 acres of land from William Fauntleroy to John Inglow. On July 4, 1681, he appointed Alexander Newman his attorney to acknowledge the purchase of land from William Fauntleroy.



On March 18, 1683/4, William Smoot and Jane his wife of “Parish of Farnham, Rappahannock County” conveyed to Richard Ellet for 2,400 pounds of tobacco 100 acres of land lying in Moratico, where Thomas Sampson was then domiciled. The deed was witnessed by Thomas Sampson and Richard R. Draper. About this time he settled in Durham Parish of Richmond County, where the births of his three daughters are recorded.


Children of William and Jane Smoot 1. Mary Smoot, born Apr. 7, 1693, married Thomas, son of Thomas and Dorothy Durham, of Durham Parish. 2. Elizabeth Smoot, born Mar. 16, 1698. 3. Anne Smoot, born Mar. 16, 1698.


Elizabeth Grady, of Richmond County, Virginia, willed to Mary Smoot “the daughter of William Smoot” her entire landed estate, but in the event that Mary died without issues then to William Smoot and his heirs. The latter received all personal property and was named as executor. The will, dated March 4, 1693/4, was not proved until November 4, 1702, by Thomas Durham and Richard Draper.


In 1700 William Smoot “Sr.”, of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, conveyed 60 acres of land for love and affection to Dorothy, the wife of Thomas Durham. Jane Smoot, his wife, waived her dower rights. The consideration for this deed of gift remains a conjecture. It is known, however, that Dorothy Durham, the grantee, ultimately became the mother-in-law of the grantor’s daughter Mary who at that time was only seven years of age.


The will of William Smoot was dated February 24, 1715, and proved in Richmond County on July 4, 1716, by John Durham, Abraham Dale, and Bryan Muckleroy. He willed his granddaughter Margaret Durham certain personalty then to his grandson Joseph Durham. To his son-in-law Thomas Durham, he devised certain personalty including the “bed whereon I now lie” and a number of pieces of pewter; and to his granddaughter Sarah Durham other articles of personal property. His wife was devised the use of all lands and the plantation during life, then to his son-in-law and the testator’s three grandchildren.


Thomas Durham, the contingent heir after the death of the widow, died in 1735 before the division of the land, consequently on May 16, 1739, a commission was appointed to petition the estate for the three grandchildren–Joseph Durham, Margaret Durham who had married Dominic Newgent, and Sarah Durham who had married William Hanks.




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