John Erwin Patton Smith (1834-1921)
Among the prominent citizens of Ellijay District of Gilmer County, Georgia, was John Erwin Patton Smith. J.E.P. was born 21 April 1834 near Swannanoa, Buncombe County, North Carolina. He was a son of Daniel Smith, Junior (1798-1866) and Margaret Isabella McRee (1801-1885), youngest daughter of the noted Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Dr. James McRee (1752-1840) and Rachel Cruser (1761-1856). J.E.P. was a grandson of Captain Daniel Smith (1757-1824), a well known Indian fighter and North Carolina militia officer during the Revolutionary War, and Mary McConnell Davidson (1762-1842). J.E.P.'s father moved the family to Gilmer County about 1844, settling northeast of Ellijay near Turniptown. Here J.E.P. was a farmer like his father.
On 14 February 1861, J.E.P. married Rebecca Jane Dillingham in Gilmer County before D. M. West, Justice of the Peace. She was born in 1843 in Big Ivy, Buncombe County, North Carolina, a daughter of John Wilson Dillingham (1807-1867) and Mary Jane Stevens (1811-1893). The Dillinghams were of an early prominent Buncombe County family and had arrived in Gilmer County around 1858.
During the Civil War, J.E.P. joined the Confederate Army as he noted this service in the 1910 federal census but his regiment and length of service are not known at this time. In the years after the war, J.E.P. stood well in Gilmer County and on 22 January 1875 was elected a justice of the peace for Ridgeway District, receiving his commission from the governor of Georgia. In December of that year, he was elected a town councilman for the city of Ellijay and as of 12 May 1877 he still held that position. J.E.P. and Rebecca had a good farm life. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and had six children. Rebecca died 11 June 1875 and was buried in Ellijay Cemetery. In 1876 J.E.P. married Rachel Priscilla Ellington. She was born July 1847 in Gilmer County and was a daughter of William Burdine Ellington, of a prominent early Gilmer County family. J.E.P. and Rachel had six children.
J.E.P. continued farming and was also a teamster (wagoner). As a teamster, according to county legend, J.E.P. drove a condemned man, Anthony Goble, to his execution in the back of a wagon in 1877.
John Erwin Patton Smith died 13 December 1921 in East Ellijay at the age of 87 and was buried in Ellijay Cemetery. It is not known when Rachel Ellington Smith died or where she is buried.
The children of J.E.P. Smith, all born Ellijay District, Gilmer County. By Rebecca J. Dillingham: (1) Ellen J. (1862-2 Feb. 1892) m. William Hendrix; (2) John Roscoe (1864-Sept. 1901); William Absalom (7 May 1866-9 Dec. 1950) m. Alice Henson; (4) Augustus Daniel (12 Dec. 1868-4 May 1898) m. Susan Ballew; (5) Spillman (1870-1875); (6) Margaret Harriett (6 Nov. 1873-7 April 1955) m. James Henson.
By Rachel P. Ellington: (7) Walter (born Mar. 1877) m. Nance Rackley; (8) James Erwin Patton (born Mar. 1878) m. Minnie Smith; (9) Rebecca Jane (born April 1880) m. John Rackley; (10) Levi Burdine (7 May 1882-16 Sept. 1969) m. Belle Foster; (11) Mary Eudora (born June 1884) m. Poley Rackley; (12) Laura Clyde (July 1888-1912).
Submitted by Anita L. Smith, 10337 Merton, Wichita, KS 67209-1936.
Sources: Death Certificate of J.E.P. Smith. Copy in Possession of Anita L. Smith; The Annals of Upper Georgia Centered in Gilmer County by George G. Ward. Parthenon Press. Nashville, Tenn. 1965. Pages 353, 226; Copy of governor's commission to J.E.P. Smith as justice of the peace in possession of Anita L. Smith; Obituary of Rebecca J. Smith in Ellijay Courier, date unknown. Original in possession of Anita L. Smith; Marriage license and return, Gilmer County Court of Ordinary, Book 4, page 317 for J.E.P. Smith and Rebecca J. Dillingham; Ellijay Courier of 12 May 1877 for listing of J.E.P. Smith as town council member; The Dillinghams of Big Ivy, Buncombe County, N.C. and Related Families, by Margaret W. Haile. Gateway Press. Baltimore, Maryland. 1985. Revolutionary War pension file of Captain Daniel Smith. File # W 6127. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. Copy of file in possession of Anita L. Smith; The North Georgia Journal, Volume 8, Issue 2, Summer 1991, page 54. Legacy Communications, Inc. Roswell, Georgia; 1850 Georgia Census, Gilmer County, page 418; 1860 Georgia Census, Gilmer County, page 18; 1870 Georgia Census, Gilmer County, page 11; 1880 Georgia Census, Gilmer County, page 5; 1900 Georgia Census, Gilmer County page 22B; 1910 Georgia Census, Gilmer County, Page 13.
Source: The Heritage of Gilmer County, Georgia 1832-1996, Gilmer County Heritage Book Committee (1996) at 361-362.
For more on this family go to Smith Family of Buncombe County.