Return to Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine History
Joseph Lee Smith,
East Florida's
First Superior Court Judge
(May 28, 1779 - May 22, 1846)
Joseph Lee Smith, Eastern District Superior Court Judge, 1822-1832
East Florida's first superior court judge,

Early Life
Joseph Lee Smith, was the son of Elnathan and Chloe Lee Smith. Elnathan was a veteran of the
French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Born May 28, 1779, at New Britain,
Connecticut Joseph graduated with honors from Yale University and studied law under Tapping
Reeve at the prestigious Litchfield Law Academy. He joined the Connecticut bar in 1804 and,
thereafter, practiced law at Hartford until 1812. On August 25, 1806 he married Frances "Fanny
Marion Kirby (born April 6, 1785, died August 3, 1875) daughter of Ephriam and Ruth Marvin Kirby,
eventually parented four children. Ephriam Kirby Smith was born in June 17, 1807. Frances Marvin
Smith was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on 12 October 1809.

To Rev. Jacob Van Fleck
From E. Kirby

30th Sept. 1803

Mrs. Kirby will pardon this claim to her attention when she recollects its importance to the writing of
that it would be improper for him any longer to leave unexplained the motives for his attentions to
her daughter.

It is not I believe unknowns to Mrs. Kirby, that I have informed Frances, I love her. Of that my
happiness depends on her approbations of that of her family—She has been so condescending
as to inform me that hers depends on her parents, of to refer me to them.

The amiable dispositions, the goodness of heart of the excellence of understandings which
Frances possess make me esteem her more than any young lady with whom I have ever been
acquainted – a union with her would make me happy beyond expression---Mrs. Kirby will then be
sensible how much I am interested in her determination. If she should approve my affection for her
daughter and consent to our union I would surely not be ungrateful but would ever dream to prove
myself deserving this blessing by an unremitted exertions for her happiness

Mrs. Kirby will permit me to wait on her ? morning. I hear from her a decision in ? every sentiment of
my heart is interested.

I am yours with respect.
Joseph L Smith

He also wrote a similar letter to her father.

Reply from Father

Mobile on Tombigbie River
Fort Stoddert April 10th 1804

Dear Sir

After a journey of four months, in which time I travelled (pursuing the meanders of the rivers) over
a tract of about twenty nine hundred miles, I reached this insulated place. Letters from the eastern
States have been three months on this passage. Yours of the 12th of January has lately come to
hand. The same subject had been mentioned to me in a letter from Mrs. Kirby, which overtook me
on my way hither. And which I answered from New Orleans some time in January. That letter went
under cover to the Secretary of State and having official protection I presume must have been
safely received long before this time.

I do not hesitate to say with that frankness which the interesting nature of the subject demands,
that if all the consequences of this new and important relation have been duly considered, if the
ardor of youthful passion has not been mistaken for the suggestions of cool and deliberate reason,
and if the humor and disposition of the parties have that correspondence which is essential to the
felicity of a married life, the proposed alliance meets my entire approbation.

The feeling and handsome manner in which you have communicated yourself to me affords
satisfactory evidence of the sensibilities of your heart as well as of the correctness of your mind.
That all the happiness which your imagination has formed, may be realized, and attend you and
your chosen companion through a long life is the ardent prayer of
Your obedt servt
Ephm Kirby

To Joseph L Smith, Esq.

Father of Francis Kirby
Ephriam Kirby the father of Francis was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was born Feb 23,
1757 in Woodbury, Conn. And was the son of Abraham and Eunice Starkweather Kirby. His family
moved to Linchfield Conn in 1763. He took part in the battle of Bunker Hill as a private and ended
as a Lieutenant. He served in 19 battles and skirmishes and received 13 wounds. In a battle with
the British Cavalry he was taken by surprise and everyone was killed except Col Kirby and a man
by the name of Lewis who were left for dead on the field of battle. Col. Kirby was cut by the British
saber from his head to his feet. He was also at the Battle of Brandywine and while swimming across
the river upon his horse he received three balls in his cartridge box. The last expedition in which he
was engaged was an attempt to take by storm Fort Oswego in December 1783. He was a student
at Yale and later entered the instruction of Reynold Marvin in Litchfield and was admitted to the
bar. He published the first volume of law reports in America. He organized the first temperance
society ever formed in America. He served in the Connecticut Legislature. He was named by
President Thomas Jefferson as the Supervisor of the Internal Revenue and Direct Tax for
Connecticut. In 1803 he was made a Land Commissioner in the Mississippi territory. He was a
member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati with his certificate signed by George
Washington dated July 4, 1786. On April 6, 1804 he was appointed by Thomas Jefferson as an
additional judge for the Mississippi Territory (Alabama). He died at Fort Stoddert on Oct 20, 1804.
His grave was marked Ephraim Kirby, died Oct 4th, 1804.

Her mother, Ruth, had her own role to play in the American Revolution. When the leaden statue of
George III on Bowling Green New York was torn down by the Sons of Liberty on July 10, 1776 on
the arrival of the news of the Declaration of Independence the fragments were sent to Litchfield
where it was converted into bullets. It was said that he made 17,592 bullets out of the 37,775 made.

Family of Francis Kirby
She had a sister Harriet Kirby who died as a child. 2. Reynold Marvin Kirby was a Major in the U.S.
A. and served in the war of 1812 and the Seminole war. Three of his four sons: Reynold Marvin,
Edmund and Joseph Lee served in the Confederate army. 3. Edmund Kirby was a Colonel in the U.
S.A.  and served in the war with Mexico. His son Edmund was a union officer who died in the battle
of Chancellorsville. 4. Ephraim Kirby died young. 5. Harriet Kirby who married Francis Smith Belton
of Baltimore. He served in the War of 1812, Florida and the Mexican War. His son Francis Smith
Belton was a Colonel in the Confederate army. 5. Helen Kirby married Benjamin A. Putnam of St.
Augustine Florida. Their daughter Kate married two of the sons of John C. Calhoun. 6. Catherine
Kirby married Dr. Joseph Pynchon Russell. Their son Edmund Kirby served in the union.

Francis's father had high expectations of her education:

Kirby Smith Papers University of North Carolina, Collection 404, Box 1,  Folder 2

Bethlehem January 23rd 1797
Dear Sir:

My daughter Fanny which I now commit to your charge is twelve years old the 6th of April next She
possesses a common degree of intelligence for a child of her age. Some ? has been taken to ? her
with the first rudiments of literature. I wish her to be made perfect in reading, writing, English
grammar, common arithmetic, geography, history and elegant composition. I much desire that she
should be well instructed in vocal and instrumental music. Drawing and fine needle-work ought to
employ some attention there however are secondary objects to those first mentioned.

The habits of industry, economy and neatness feeling are acquired of course in your school and I
presume the government of the patrons are not neglected. The passions of my child are finely
strung, tempered with much warmth and exquisitely alive to feeling. In skillful hands she may be
easily managed, but it requires address and knowledge of human nature to regulate her
disposition without injuring it. I remark this that you may apprise the governess of your school of
the tender care which ought to be taken in this particular.

As it is essential to the well being of every person in life that they be early taught the use and value
of property, and not suffered to without any habits of confession, I shall leave no monies at the
disposition of my child, but submit all her wants of that kind to your direction, fully persuaded that
she will be indulged in no unnecessary expense.

* * *

To Rev. Jacob Van Fleck
From E. Kirby

Linchfield Festival
In 1807 at the renounced Litchfield Festival, Jeffersonian Republican Smith condemned federal
politicians who had imprisoned editor Selleck Osborn on libel charges. Smith's reward was swift in
coming. The Federalists soon had him arrested. The charge accused him of uttering “false,
malicious, scandalous, and defamatory words.

In the national election of 1804, Connecticut was one of the two States which cast their electoral
votes against Jefferson, and the President's followers in the State felt that active measures must be
taken to bring this commonwealth into the Democratic-Republican column. A young editor, named
Selleck Osborn, was induced to set up a Democratic newspaper establishment to combat the
Federalist propaganda of the Monitor. The Witness, printed stories and innuendoes about a
number of Federalists.

Osborn was attacked physically and, later, was brought before the local court on a rather flimsy
charge of libeling another Litchfield worthy, Squire Julius Deming. The Justice and jury were all
Federalists, and although Osborn was ably defended by young Joseph Smith, it was without
success. He was sent to jail.

The Democrats immediately seized upon Osborn's incarceration as a party issue. The young editor
was held up as a political martyr, and the story of his tribulations was broadcast in the newspapers
as far south as Charleston. A committee, of which Smith was a leading member visited him in his

A Democratic meeting was held in Linchfield. Shortly afterwards Smith was arraigned before the
Superior Court for certain words and sentiments said to have been uttered by him in his address at
the meeting. These "false, malicious, scandalous and defamatory words," to use the legal verbiage
of the formal information, consisted of an attack on the courts of the State, presided over by
Federalist judges. Smith was fined two hundred and fifty dollars, with costs of one hundred and
twenty-three dollars added. The clerk adds to the record this significant sentence: "The delinquent
was delivered to the custody of the Sheriff of the County." Three hundred and seventy-three
dollars was a large sum in those days, particularly for a struggling young attorney and, if not paid,
Smith had the chance of joining his client Osborn in jail.

Smith tried in vain to regain his practice. Unfortunately, he found the feeling engendered by the
political controversy too great to combat.

War of 1812 and Army Career
Smith's legal career was interrupted by the War of 1812. He was appointed a major of the Twenty-
fifth US Infantry regiment, he proved a natural leader and accomplished officer. One acquaintance
described him at the time as “six feet in height, strong & well proportioned, and his natural
bearing prepossessing and commanding, as well asthe best and finest looking man in the army.

On one occasion he narrowly escaped death when fever struck his men. On another, at Stoney
Creek, New York, on June 6, 1813, he maneuvered to save his troops from a surprise British night
attack. Afterward, he led the men in withstanding three charges at close ranks. Noted one
observer, “No troops, however well-disciplined, could long stand before such a shower as was
poured upon them by the gallant 25th. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel and brevetted colonel,
United States army, for that action, and became colonel of the 3d United States infantry in 1818.

Afterward he remained in the service until the army reductions of 1821, when he retired as a
colonel. In this second career, as in his first, he earned friendships and enmities. Jacob Brown, the
army's commanding general , later recommended his subordinate for a Florida judgeship and for
territorial governor. On the other hand, William Pope Duval, who bested Smith in the contest for the
gubernatorial appointment, labeled his rival as “a man dismissed with disgrace from our army,
as to vile to hold any command.

Litchfield Female Academy
Francis had enrolled the two older children in Litchfield Female Academy. Here Frances, Ephriam,
her brother, and about sixty other boys and girls—including Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frances's
aunts, Helen, Catherine, and Harriet Kirby received a remarkably good education. The curriculum
included Morse's Geography, Webster's Elements English Grammar, Miss Pierce’s History,
Arithmetic through Interest, Blai's Lectures (on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres), Modern Europe,
Ramsey's American Revolution, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Paley's Moral Philosophy, Hedge's
Logic, and Addison on Taste.

Appointment as First Territorial Judge of Florida
In 1822 he secured a four-year appointment on April 30 as Judge in and over that part of Territory
of Florida known as East Florida. (He would also be reappointed by John Quincy Adams.) Shortly
after his arrival he was stricken by yellow fever or, as it was known, 'yellow jack' He survived but in
a weakened condition.

Smith once remarked to a friend that, if he had possessed an independent fortune, he would have
never have resided in Florida for one season.

Commission of Judge Smith (Eastern District - nominated Dec. 27, 1827, and confirmed Jan. 9,
January 9, 1828
John Quincy Adams, President of the United States of America.
to all who shall see these presents, Greeting:
Know Ye, That reposing special Trust and confidence in the Wisdom, Uprightness and Learning of
Joseph L. Smith, of Florida, I have nominated and by with the advice and Consent of the Senate,
do appoint him Judge of the United States, for that part of the Territory of Florida situated to the
ast and South of the Suwannee river; and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfil the
duties of that office, according to the Constitution and Laws of the United States' and to Have and
to Hold the said Office, with all the powers, privileges and emoluments to the same of right
appertaining unto him the said Joseph L Smith for the term of four years from the twenty seventh
day of May next.

In Testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the United
States to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington the Ninth day of
January A. D. 1828; and of the Independence of the United States of American the fifty second.
J. Q. Adams
by the President
H. Clay, Secretary

His description of St. Augustine including Mardi Gras
You will find society in Augustine more extensive than in Litchfield ”but ? of means transitory and
collected from all parts of the world."

UNC at Chapel Hill Folder 3
St. Augustine 25 Feb 1823
Letter to Francis from Joseph

We have a Catholic Church but el padre is lately off with a cancer on his tongue” but the corps do
?? with soon furnish another incumbent  a ? Episcopal clergyman is resident here and service
regularly each Sunday performed in the Council House. The Reverend is about to leave us, but we
shall not long remain destitute.

For the last two months there have been a procession of masquerading of the most grotesque and
ludicrous character. And through Carnival which has just terminated it was jubilation mummery and
masking a grand extent partially in character and out of character visiting every hour playing off
this ?/? and striking of a dance to the music that accompanied there's at pleasure. It is now lend
which continues alas for the finy tribe for 40 days and dancing and jubilee are forbidden at the
extension of these 40 days a new festival commences in honor of I know not what Saint, but
everything is in name of some Saint or other and then dancing poesy dancing begins, a King and
Queen are created a ball is opened and the Queen exhibits a big bunch of flowers, which is the
course of the evening is presented to ? ?  male favorite who is there upon entitled to select his
queen for the next evening and the affair goes in rotation of Kings Queens balls for ???

Indians May 10, 1828
(To Humphreys) property belonging to the Indians or in their possession could not legally be taken
from them, that their annuity could not be withheld because they failed to surrender property
claimed by whites, and that claims involving runaway negroes were to be referred to him.

The Daughter Francis Makes St. Augustine Friends
St. Augustine was Frances' hometown during her years of adolescence and young womanhood.
Her best friends in Florida were Sophia Gibbs, whose father was clerk of the court, and Anna
McNeill, Sophia's first cousin from New York. (Anna would eventually become Whistler's mother of
the painting.)

Sophia Gibbs had as her second husband General Duncan Clinch, the Indian fighter, who was
much older.

Coe Case
Levoritte Coe reported on August 12, 1824 my misfortune on Saturday last to have my person
unwarrantably attacked, and unmercifully beaten by his Honor, Judge, Joseph L. Smith. According
to Coe, he had be present while Smith was playing billiards. Suddenly the judge took a large Stick
that was near and beat me. The victim recalled a Smith boast that he is above the Law or at least
that it cannot reach him.

When District Attorney Edgar Macon investigated the fight with Coe, Smith reportedly retaliated.
Seemingly bad blood already existed between Macon and Smith because the judge had not
recommended the prosecutor for his position. Smith, Coe insisted, now threatened Macon with
imprisonment for suffering witnesses to be sworn to give evidence to the Grand Jury..

St. Augustine lawyer John Rodman, a friend of Smith's complained against Macon for contempt of
the judge. Smith submitted to himself a personal affidavit in support of the complaint, had Macon
brought before him, convicted the prosecutor of contempt, and ordered his dismissal from the bar.
The judge also appointed a new district attorney. Judge Smith's personal feelings towards me
preclude me from anything like a fair and impartial hearing.(To Henry Clay, Secretary of State)

Judge Gibson's Curious Case
A case of an unlawful detainer having been brought for trial in the month of December last, by the
corporation of the city of St. Augustine, before a court of justices, formed by Mr. Gould and Mr.
Gibson, the latter, (E P. Gibson), demanded of the United States' marshal for that district, (Waters
Smith), the use of tbe public building belonging to the United States in St Augustine, called the
government house, in which to hold a court for the trial of this case. A large room in the building
was immediately opened by the marshal, which was considered every way convenient for the
justices court. Justice Gibson, however, refusing to occupy this room, demanded of the marshal,
through the medium of the sheriff, the use of another room in which the superior court was
accustomed to hold its sittings. To this demand the marshal declined giving his consent, and
withheld the key of the room. Justice Gibson then ordered the sheriff to make forcible entry; but on
his refusing to obey, the justice himself took a pick-axe, broke open the door of the room, took
immediate possession, and constituted his court for the trial of the above case. At this time the
marshal entered the room, protested against the occupation, and ordered the justice and all other
persons to leave that apartment. Justice Gibson, instead of obeying, committed the marshal to the
county jail for twenty four hours, for contempt of his court. The marshal immediately petitioned for a
writ of habeas corpus, and had, in consequence, his case brought for trial before the lion, Joseph
L. Smith, judge of The superior court for east Florida; who on a full advantages to our western
friends located near it, can consideration of the matter, decided that the marshall had acted in
conformity with his official duty, and, therefore, directed that be should be set at liberty from the
custody of the sheriff attending on the justices' court.

It further appears, that, subsequent to this decision, the grand jury of St. Jobn's county, for the
January term, among their presentments, included that of the above justice Gibson, tor breaking
open the door of the court house, and also for abusive language to Mr. Smith, the marshal of the
district, while in custody of the sheriff under a warrant commitment from the said Gibson.

Birth of Edmund Kirby Smith
On May 16, 1824 Edmund Kirby Smith was born in St. Augustine.

District Attorney Thomas Douglas (later Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice)
Douglas believed Smith to be a gigantic man, both mentally and physically (who was qualified to fill)
any, even the most exalted station in the government yet he could condemn the same man for his
unbounded prejudices and ungovernable passions and dissolute habits. As Douglas explained of
the judge, He was intemperate in his habits and of the most uncontrollable temper.

Douglas's relationship with Smith illustrates the ambivalent character of his intercourse with many
of his legal community peers. As mentioned, Smith mentored Douglas, but the district attorney
regarded the judge contemptuously for his drinking and other dissolute habits. Still, as a friend,
Douglas could advocate to President Andrew Jackson Smith's reappointment as judge, knowing
that Jackson possessed personal and political hostility to Smith. At the expense of such a
friendship, however, once Douglas grasped what appeared to him a question of morality, he could
not relinquish it. An example arose out of the dismissal of District Attorney Macon. With partisan
considerations playing a role, Douglas, as well as future congressional delegate
Charles Downing,
investigated the reasons for Macon's departure from office. An irritated Smith had related records
removed from the court clerk's office. Then delegate Joseph M. White took State Department
copies under similar circumstances. Because of the situation and in spite of the older man's
kindnesses, as Douglas later wrote, he developed an opinion unfavorable to Judge Smith.

No Reappointment by Jackson
He was finally not reappointed by Andrew Jackson in 1832. 3 years later he declared: “I have
been denounced, for making a decision in favor of the speculators, and the pride and vanity of
government officers, favorites and protg of Andrew Jackson. His unstable often volcanic
temperament alienated potential supporters. Allegations of abuse of judicial power, drunkenness,
and profanity dogged him.

Public Dinner to Judge Smith
At a respectable meeting of the citizens of St. Augustine held on Monday the 24gh May 1832  Elias
B. Gould Esq. Was called to the chair, and B. A. Putnam Esq. Appointed Secretary. The chairman
briefly explained the object of the meeting, whereupon the following resolutions were offered, and
unanimous resolutions were offered, and unanimously accede to.

Resolved, That as a tribute of respect to the Hon. Joseph L. Smith, on his retiring from the office
which he has discharged, with such undeviating rectitude and distinguished ability, and also as a
mark of our esteem fro his provate character, that the citizens generally be invited to participate
with this meeting in giving a public dinner to Judge Smith at such time as may best suit his

Resolved, That Messrs. Drysdale, Simmons and Cleland be appointed as the Committee of

St. Augustine, 29th May 1832
To Messrs, John Drysdale, Wm. H. Simmons, and John C. Cleland.

Gentlemen, Your letter of yesterday inviting me in behalf of a number of our fellow-citizens, to a
dinner to be given at Mr. Loring's at 3 o'clock on Thursday next, is received. The invitation which
you as their Committee have so politely communicated, is accepted with a deep and grateful sense
of the kindness with which, on this peculiar occasion, they have expressed towards me, their
respect and regard.

With great respect,
Your friend and obt
Joseph L Smith

His speech

I rise on this occasion with feelings alive to the support and kindness you have so liberally
extended to me”the hand of oppression has been raised over me “and you my friends, in unison
with our fellow citizens of East Florida generally have interposed a shield, which at least has
deprived the blow of all its designed bitterness. In the blow aimed at me, a great and hitherto
sacred principle has been violated
the independence and integrity of the judiciary, have been
attacked, and the rights of the people of this territory, treated with scorn!......For more than ten
years, I have discharged among you, the honorable office of Judge of this District. You all know,
that the duties of the station have been multiplied and arduous==that in exercising this trust, the
patience, the industry, and the discriminating powers of your Judge, have been placed in constant
acquisition. In a new Territory new altogether, in relation to the United States to her laws, usages,
customs and political institution where the population, collected, I may say from almost every clime
and country was nearly as diversified in character as extended ..

Judge Smith Mayor of St. Augustine
In 1832 Judge Smith became the Mayor of St. Augustine. This was at the end of the period of the
first attempt to create a public school system for St. Augustine. The movement failed because
citizens simply refused to pay the school tax.

In 1833 he successfully ran for a seat on the legislative council.

Death of Daughter Josephine
December 1835 Josephine Smith died of tuberculosis. Thereafter, her parents make little effort to
hide the unhappiness of their marriage. Her mother spent more and more time in the North, leaving
Frances to run the family's home in St. Augustine and care for twelve-year-old Edmund.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Folder 3

December 25, 1835
To Francis Kirby Smith
From E Kirby Smith

I fear that you have found a great change at home! And I can readily conceive your feelings on
seeing my dear sister's seat vacant at the family table, and on beholding her piano silent never
again to thrill beneath her touch, never again to accompany her voice. Alas! These are melancholy
reflections and I ought not to excite them in your mind but when thinking of home they irresistibly
with many somber thoughts rise before me and it is with difficulty that I suppress their expression in
addressing you.

(Cook) writes that Father is at the heads of a volunteer regiment of old men ready to repel an
Indian invasion. I have laughed at the idea of the Savages attacking St. A. this however has
induced me to believe that there is some real danger it cannot I think be very serious, or I should
have heard more .

Early in 1836, the thread of Indian war brought Maj. Reynold M. Kirby, France's uncle and the
acting commander of the 1st Artillery, to St. Augustine.

Of the four Smith children only Frances and Edmund remained in St. Augustine. Ephraim Kirby
Smith graduated from West Point in 1826 and was stationed in the north and Josephine had died in

1837 Lucien Webster was the commanding officer of Fort Marion. Dec 21, 1837 Frances married
to Lucien Webster in Joseph Lee Smith's home by the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev.
R. A. Henderson

E Kirby Smith At School
St. Augustine 27 Oct 1839
Your letter of the 10 or 16th instant for I cannot by the figures determine which date you intended
came to hand by the last mail. It was a relief to hear from you, because since your letter from
Norfolk not a word had given me to know that you had reached Alexandria, or what had become of
you. My anxiety was great, and added to the sickness which was for months afflicted and confined
me most of the time to my room. I beg you not again to neglect punctuality in writing (I have
heretofore said to you) at least every two weeks. To lessen the numerous burden of the talk I will
now ask for a letter every fourth Sunday. Your careful and regular compliance with this rule will
show will prove that you have some resolution method and that you intend to do well. Remember
my Son, my health much more than yours gives me to believe that I have no long time in advance
to remain with you nature will compel me to leave you to your own care and with but little of the
good, of this world for your support To your own exertions to your own industry and to the ever rise
of your own mental and bodily powers I shall be obliged to trust you and your trust to them for your
prosperity in life. You may confide in them, and look for respect ability and competency in your
future career if you will now in youth be regular methodical studious and punctual God grant that
you may exert yourself as you have ability and I shall leave you on the happy course that you will
be worthy and prosperous in your life and a support and ? to your mother and your other relatives
that will remain after me. Resolve and let your actions accord therewith to be upright and virtuous
in all your actions, and with exertion and industry on your part all this I can hope from you may
Joseph L. Smith

To E. Kirby Smith
Folder #6

No Hope for Judgeship
The election of William Henry Harrison ended the 12 year reign of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van
Buren. Unfortunately Harrison lasted 1 month. Vice-President Tyler on becoming President
discarded the Whig agenda and was  booted out of the Whig party ---much to the great
disappointment of the Whigs.

St. Augustine E Florida
30th June 1841

Mary in her letter, condoles with me on account of the death of Harrison and especially fears that
from Tyler I can obtain no office. My health would not now permit the thought of taking office if
offered to me but hereafter if that should be restored I doubt not from my Whigments that at least,
all would be given to me, that I should ask for.
Joseph L Smith

Separation from Francis
Folder 10 UNC Chapel Hill E Kirby Smith Collection
Governors Island
Sept 10, 1844

I have felt two indignant at the steps taken to annoy and distress your mother to make her
wretched and unhappy he is your father still I cannot but speak plainly it is ? to your mother that
you should know, how he is endeavoring to injure her now she is  away from him---his conduct is
shameful beyond anything the steps he has taken to turn her friends from her are the very ones to
bind them more closely to her. She is worthy of being loved cherished while he by the life he leads
and his outrageous ungovernable temper has lot the respect of every one---you have yourself you
as your were witnessed his outbreaks of temper and when your poor mother has been the sufferer
for a day for weeks---her friends will not allow her to be subjected to it any longer and her home
must for the future be with them or her children---let me beg of you dear Edmund for her sake for
your own sake cling to her cherish her you are her youngest and loved one--- unto her frequently
affectionate and comforting letters that she can feel that there is one of her children that will be to
her as a childe should be to so elevated a mother—no good ever follows a child that will desert
the mother that bore them in her old age---but I hope it is not necessary to say more.

Aunt Lydia (to Edmund)

Folder 12 UNC Chapel Hill E Kirby Smith Collection
1846 Corpus Christe Texas
March 6, 1846

My dear mother, you do not know how anxiously I have wished how fervently prayed that those I
love best on this earth- my own dear Parents might once again in all honor and amity, be united
under the same roof-  How delightful would it be, could we be with you both at St. Augustine, even
for a few days- But the gap which separates us widens daily, - even now are on the eve of a march
to the Mexican frontier; and three weeks will see our tents glistening along the banks of the Rio

Death of Smith
He died at home on May 22, 1846 apparently while formulating plans to return to the North to live
with relatives.
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