Thomas Smith, Jr. was born about 1831, probably in Meade County, Kentucky, and died November 16, 1862 and died in Annapolis, a Maryland Prison Hospital, during the Civil War. (We don’t really know what his middle name was, but he may have been named for his father, Thomas Franklin Smith, so I have used “Jr.” for clarity. He married Catherine Ann "Kitty” Jenkins on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1848. Both of their parents gave consent for them to be married, which meant that both were under the age of eighteen.
According to the Meade Co. marriage records, the father of Thomas F. Smith had to give consent for his son, which probably meant he was under the age of 21 when they married on Christmas Eve 1848.
They moved Ohio County Kentucky with Kitty Ann's parents. Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins was living in Meade County when the 1850 census was taken; but living in Ohio County in the 1860 census (to be found under name of "Jinkins" instead of "Jenkins". He apparently moved his family from Meade to Ohio County about 1855-1856.
My grandmother and Auntie told me that Thomas Smith, their grandfather, was the only one in the family who was ever in the army. He served in the Cromwell Home Guards when it was first formed early during the Civil War, on the Union side. He was captured by Rebels on New Year’s Day 1962 at Borah’s Ferry with a squad of home guards, who were carried to a Maryland prison. He was later paroled because he was sick, and was unable to return home by foot, so his Leach friend went to get him a wagon to bring him back home, but upon his return when he got back to the prison with the wagon, he found that Thomas Smith had died two days before.
When the men from Cromwell went after him and arrived at the prison, they found he had died two days before and they had already buried him. But his wife, “Kitty Ann” was expecting for them to come home in the wagon with him, and she had made him his favorite pie – a cherry pie.
Thomas Smith, Jr., Cromwell Home Guardsman
Captured by Rebels at Borah’s Ferry,
Ohio County, KY – New Year’s Day, 1862
Thomas Smith, the subject of this study in my family history, begins in Meade County, Kentucky in 1849, where I first found documented record of Thomas’ marriage to Catherine Ann “Kitty Ann” Jenkins. They were married by George H. Hicks, M.G., on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1848. Further documentation was found in the “consent” records wherein Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins, father of Kitty Ann, gave his consent to Mr. Fairleigh, the county clerk, requesting him to issue a license for his daughter to unite her in marriage to Thomas Smith. Likewise, Thomas F. Smith, father of Thomas, Jr., gave consent for his son to be joined in matrimony with Kitty Ann Jenkins. This was recorded in the Meade County, Kentucky Marriage Bonds Consent notes. Both were required to have the consent of their parents because they were under age to marry.
In the 1850 Meade County census records, Thomas Smith, age 19, farmer, born Kentucky, is listed with his wife, Catherine, also age 19, born Kentucky and their new baby, a son, six months old. They were listed in Household No. 382-383 in the Kentucky District. Living next door in No.381-382 was Kitty Ann’s parents, Benjamin S. Jenkins and Elizabeth, and three of their younger children: John, 17; Sarah, 14; Fulton, 8, and John Jenkins, 80, born Pennsylvania, father of Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins.
So in 1850, Thomas (Jr.) and Kitty Ann had a new son they named Benjamin. Later we know this child’s name was Benjamin Franklin, and it is my belief that he was named after both grandfathers. We don’t really know what the middle initial of Thomas Smith’s father’s name stood for. But on the consent paper, his middle initial appears to be “F” although some think it is a “J.” However, it was the custom of the times to name the first son after both grandfathers and the first daughter after both grandmothers, and I believe that is what they did, and that the “F” initial stands for “Franklin.” Following this tradition, they named their first daughter Eliza Elizabeth after both grandmothers – Eliza (Grant) and Elizabeth (Humphrey). Two other children were born in Meade County – Sarah Catherine “Sallie,” and James Thomas. The youngest son, John Fulton Smith was born in Ohio County on May 18, 1862. His father had been captured by the time of his birth.
Between 1855 and 1857, Thomas and Kitty Ann moved with Kitty Ann’s parents to Ohio County, Kentucky. They settled near Cromwell, a small village, located on the banks of the Green River, where they were found in the 1860 census, living in Household #668. Nearby were Kitty Ann’s parents living in Household #657. Kitty Ann’s brother John Jenkins, who had married Janetta Smith, sister of Thomas, was living next door to his parents.
Neighbors living on either side of Thomas and Kitty Ann Smith were the two families of Alfred Young, and a widow, Margaret Beacham and her children; and on the other side were the two families of Jefferson Cox and R. J. B. Plummer.
Living close by, in household number 658, was Thomas Smith’s sister, Janetta, who had married John H. Jenkins on September 15, 1855 in Meade Co., Kentucky. Janetta was also the daughter of Thomas F. Smith and Eliza S. B. “Louisa” Grant. Thus, all of the children of these two couples became double cousins. At that time, John and Janetta had four children: Elizabeth E., James Thomas, Eliza J. and Mary A. So, the Jenkins and Smith households were close knit families.
Thomas and Kitty Ann Smith, both 29, had been married eleven years in 1860, and they were working hard and trying to raise their young children. He owned no real estate, although the value of his personal property was listed as $259. No doubt, he was trying to save enough money to buy his own land. Thomas, like all his nearby friends and neighbors, was a farmer.
Cromwell Home Guard Organized
In west central Kentucky after Lincoln’s call for troops, men and boys living near Cromwell and elsewhere in Ohio County, put down their plows and picked up their guns to defend their homes. The Cromwell Home Guards were organized in June 1861. At that time, Thomas was about thirty years old; his brother-in-law, Ben F. Jenkins was nineteen, and his brother-in-law, John H. Jenkins was twenty-eight. They joined up along with many of their friends, including Leonard Thomas Cox and his father, Thomas Jefferson Cox, their near neighbors. As members of the Guard, they were anxious to help protect their own family members and homes, and indeed, the homes all over the county, against Confederate raiders.
The Cromwell Home Guards guarded ferries, constructed bridges, and sabotaged and destroyed Rebel obstructions. The guards became an important source of information to Union troops about the enemy forces. One of their most significant jobs was keeping Union troops informed about the size and moves of Confederate forces in the area. The home guards from Cromwell were also a constant menace to active Confederate couriers in the area, who often carried supplies, messages and intelligence of updated strength and disposition. The Cromwell Home Guards took pride in their jobs to try to foil the Rebel ambitions, and they became recognized by Union leaders for their daring and courage in west central Kentucky.
Less than a year after Thomas Smith became a member of the Cromwell Home Guard, he was taken prisoner with a squad of other guardsmen, while on duty near Borah’s Ferry on New Year’s Day 1862, in Ohio County. He was carried off and put in a Confederate prison in Maryland, and later was to be exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. But before he could get home, he became sick, and was put in a hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he died. He did not live to get home to see his youngest child, John Fulton, who was born after Thomas’ capture and imprisonment.
One day when I went to visit my grandmother, I asked her if she remembered her Grandmother Smith, Kitty Ann (Jenkins). She looked at me quizzically and said, “Why, of course I do!” She described to me what a hard life Kitty Ann had after her husband, Thomas Smith, was captured by the Rebels on New Year’s Day and carried off. She was left with five small children, one a baby, whose father never got to see him before he died while a prisoner in Maryland during the Civil War.
With all the men and boys gone off to war, my grandmother told me that Kitty Ann Smith learned to plow her land with her ox until the Rebels came and raided her farm, taking with them her only ox and wagon and all her blue geese. They went upstairs looking for money and tore the feather mattresses apart and threw them out the windows, scattering feathers everywhere. Perhaps she later had to borrow a horse from her family members to raise a garden and a patch of grain and corn to feed the farm animals. It was almost as difficult for the women left at home during wartime as it was for the soldiers who left their families and went off to fight.
My subsequent research of Thomas Smith’s military records at the National Archives and Kitty Ann’s pension application to the pension office in Washington, D.C. verified the family tradition that Thomas was a member of the Home Guard when he was taken prisoner by Confederate troops January 1, 1862, at a point between Borah’s Ferry on Green River and Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. He and his friend, James A. Stevens, who were guarding the ferry together, were captured and carried off by the Confederates. James A. Stevens and Thomas Smith were later paroled from prison at Aiken’s Landing, below Dutch Gap on the James River, Virginia, on September 14, 1862, as of Company E., 15th Kentucky. Thomas later died in a prison hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, November 16, 1862, while waiting to be sent home.
One day my grandmother told me this story about her grandfather, Thomas Smith:
“My grandfather Thomas Smith was of Welsh descent. He was the only one who was ever in the Army. He was captured in the Civil War. When he was paroled, they went after him because he was sick. But when they got there, he had died and they had already buried him. Of course, my grand-mother was expecting them to come home in the wagon with him, and she had made him his favorite pie – a cherry pie.”
James Axley Stevens, captured along with Thomas Smith on New Year’s Day, 1862, survived the war and returned home to Ohio County. Born in 1817, he was the son of Henry Stevens and Hannah Bennett, both of whom are said to have come to Ohio County, from Montgomery County, Maryland.
The Stevens and Smith families appear to be closely connected and some of the families may have intermarried. Almost five years later, on the 21st day of October, 1869, Thomas Smith’s friend, James A. Stevens, gave an affidavit, along with several others, on behalf of and for the benefit of Kitty Ann, when she was trying to obtain a widow’s pension. In this affidavit, James declared and made oath:
“that he and Thomas Smith were both members of Capt. William H. Porter’s Company of Home Guards, and that on the 1st day of January, a squad of the company were guarding Borah’s Ferry on Green River by order of Colonel McHenry of the 17th, who was then at Hartford, and the Rebels then held Bowling Green and the ferry way between those points, and that the squad was captured by the Rebels, and affiant and Smith were retained in custody until 15th Sept. 1862 when they were paroled and sent to Annapolis, Md. Smith was sick at the time they were paroled, and Thomas was sent to a hospital and died there of diahrrea (sic) which disease he caught while a captive.”
Kitty Ann (Jenkins) Smith, then age 32, was never to see her husband again. She was left with a small farm near Cromwell and the duty of raising their five young children, ranging in age from six months to eleven years. She eventually obtained a widow’s pension by a special Act of Congress. It took a special Act because her husband was in the Home Guards, and not a soldier in the regular U. S. Army. But, because the Home Guard militia had been ordered out by Col. John McHenry of the 17th Kentucky Regiment, Thomas Smith’s duty at Borah’s Ferry was considered to be active war service. She was granted a pension of $8.00 per month as shown in the Special Act of Congress below:
CHAP. CDXXIV. — An Act granting a Pension to Kitty A. Smith:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to place upon the pension roll, subject to the provisions and limitations of the pension laws, the name of Kitty A. Smith, widow of Thomas Smith, late a private in the Ohio county, Kentucky, home guards, and pay her a pension at the rate of eight dollars per month from the passage of this act.
Approved, March 3, 1873.