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The Remarkable Tangier Smiths
Stephanie S. Bigelow
Please read Chester G. Osborne's Respose to this article for A few corrections and suggestions

This article has been written with the hope that it will give evidence to correct the erroneous belief held by many people, that Miss Eugenie Annie Tangier Smith was the last descendant of Col. William Tangier, Smith.  It is true that she was the last to live in the ancestral home at Smith's Point, the Manor of St. George that she bequeathed to the people of the Town of Brookhaven in 1955, but there are actually many other descendants living, Calitornia, Florida, the Middle West, and Eastern seaboard states. They are as truly Tangier Smith as Eugenie.

    Colonel William Tangier Smith (I), Lord of the Manor of St. George, was born in February, 1654, in Higham - ferrers, Northamptonshire, England, of a Lady-in-waiting to the Queen (Charlotte of Braganza) at the court of Charles II. When only twenty, William was sent to Africa, to be Mayor of the crown city of Tangiers, which had been ceded to England as part of Charlotte's dowry. He was commissioned colonel, in command of the troops necessary for the protection of English interests. A year later, he married Martha Tunstall of Putney, England. The young couple lived in Tangiers until 1683, when they returned to England and in 1686, sailed from Ireland for America, with six children.
    Col. Smith went to New York, then to Brookhaven (now Setauket) where he made extensive land purchases, settling on "little Neck", an irregular peninsula between Conscience Bay and Setauket Harbor. Later, he bought vast acreages on the south side of Long Island, eventually holding 40,000 acres. He built a second manor house at Sebonac (Mastic), that plantation reaching from the Connecticut (Carman's) River to the western boundary of Southampton Town, and 24 miles of the Great South Barrier Beach. He held many honorable appointments, as Chief Justice of the Perogative Court, and president of  "ye council of ye Province of New Yorke". Although he died in 1705 at Sebonac, he is buried in Setauket, in the family cemetery, which is still extant.
    He had in all fourteen children, eight being born in America, but only five survived him: three sons, Henry 1679-1737, William Henry 1689-1742, and Charles Jeffrey 1693-1715, who died unmarried; two daughters were Martha (Patty) who married Col. Caleb Heathcote and Glorianna, Rev. George Muirson. His wife, the "Lady Martha" lived until 1709. She was well educated and wise, making many entries in the "Pigskin Book", which had been started by the Colonel as an estate account book, of farm transactions, the Indian whaling crews, the amounts of whale "Oyle" and "Boane". It begins in 1697, the last entry in 1940, by Dr. William Sidney Smith of Longwood.
    Henry Smith (II) older son of Col. William Tangier Smith, was born in Tangiers. He inherited the Setauket St. Georges Manor, lived and died there. Like his father, he became both a judge and a colonel. His marriage to Anna Shepherd of Charlestown, Mass. was performed by the celebrated Cotton Mather in 1705. They had nine children. Mary the first born, married Capt. Edward Smith; then came Anna, who married Dr. George Muirson and had a daughter who married Benjamin Woolsey, bearing him seven children.
    Next in order of Col. Henrys progeny came William Henry (III) who was called "Young Clerk" Smith, and then Henry (III), whose son Charles Jeffrey was a minister and a missionary to the Indians. He was thought to have died accidentally of a gunshot but years later a negro on the eve of execution for another crime confessed he had also murdered Charles Jeffrey Smith in 1770.
    Col. Henry's daughter Glorianna married Justice Nathaniel Brewster of the locality then known as Occumbomock. The Brewster estate was very large, covering nearly all that was to become Bellport. Their son Charles Jeffrey Brewster married Temperance Smith of Smithtown and had three daughters -- Mary Brewster married Gilbert Smith Mount of Setauket, Ann Brewster married Col. William Howell of Occumbomock, and Catherine Brewster married William Rose of Fireplace (Brookhaven). Upon inheriting her share of the land, Catherine sold all to buyers who in turn sold to the Captain's John and Thomas Bell,who gave Bellport its name. Martha, the fourth daughter of Col. Henry and Anna, married the Tory rector of Setauket's Caroline Church, the Rev. James Lyon.
    Gilbert (III) became a doctor of medicine in Setauket. He and his wife Phoebe had four sons and a daughter Penelope (IV), who married John Thomas Mount. Penelope's son Thomas Shepherd Mount (V) married Julia Ann, daughter of Major Jonas Mount of Stony Brook. They had four sons (VI): Robert Nelson m. Mary Brewster and had two children, and the three famous artists: Henry Smith Mount 1802 -1841, Shepard Alonzo Mount 1801-1868 and William Sidney Mount 1807 - 1868. Their daughter, Ruth Hawkins Mount, also was a talented painter. She married Charles Seabury and had two sons and two daughters, one of whom, also named Ruth (VII), married William J. Blydenburgh. Henry S. (VI) had married Mary Ford of Morristown and had six children, Shepard (VI) m. Elizabeth Elliot and had four children. William Sidney remained a bachelor.
    After the death of Anna Shepherd, Col. Henry married Frances Caner, who was childless, and then in 1742, married the widow Mrs. Margaret Biggs of Southold. They had two daughters, one of whom, Frances, (III), married Capt. William Nichol, and had two sons William and Henry Nichol (IV).
    William Henry Smith (III), "Young Clerk Smith" was born in 1708 and became the proprietor of St. George's Manor. He was Suffolk Cuunty Clerk, and Judge of the Common Pleas. His wife was Margaret Lloyd of Lloyd's Neck. Little is known of their sons, who went off  toNew York, Boston and Halifax. as Tories. Daughter Rebecca married John Aspinwall, and Catharine, John Grinell. Their seventh child was Anna, (IV) who married Judge Selah Strong. Anna played a key part in the American spy system during the revolution, while her husband, then an officer, was held on the infamous British prison ship "Jersey." In all, Anna had eight children, but during the revolution, the younger ones were sent for safety to Connecticut, and she lived alone on "Ye Little Neck". Partly through his marriage to Anna Smith, and partly through purchase, Judge Selah Strong became the proprietor of Little Neck, and its name became "Strongs Neck", which name it still bears, and where descendants of the Judge and Anna still live.
    Major William Henry Smith (II) was Col. William Tangier Smith's second surviving son. He inherited the Manor of St. George at Mastic. His first wife was a Miss Merrit of Boston, naming their son Merrit Smith; he settled and died in Connecticut. Then Major Smith married Hannah Sayre Cooper, widow of Capt. John Cooper of Southampton, in 1718. His second son, William (III), later to be known as "The Judge" was born in 1720; another son Caleb, (III) born 1723, became a Presbyterian minister, and had a church in Orange, New Jersey. Caleb married Martha Dickinson, by whom he had three daughters, and by his second wife, Rebecca Foot, a son Appollos. Of the Judge's five daughters, four married: Elizabeth m. John Woodhull of Miller Place, Sarah m. James Sprout of Philadelphia, Martha m. Judge Caleb Smith of Smithtown, and Hannah, who first married Thomas Helme of Miller Place, then James Woodhull.
    Judge William Smith (III) 1720-1799 inherited the Mastic Manor of St. George, and lived there except for a period during the Revolution, when he took his family for safety, to Kingston, N. Y. The British had taken his Manor, and placed a garrison of British soldiery there. This was a very strategic place, at the head of Great South Bay, only a few hundred yards away from an ocean inlet, which at that time, was half a mile wide, the channel deep enough for good sized vessels. In fact, in 1780, when Major Benjamin Tallmadge raided Fort St. George, he turned the forts own guns on a British warship lying off shore, and sank that. Tallmadge took prisoners, and what supplies his company could carry, with no loss of patriot life. Judge Smith first married Mary Smith of Smithtown, who bore him two children, John (IV) and Mary, who died young.
    For his second wife, he chose Ruth Woodhull, sister of General Nathaniel Woodhull by whom he sired sons William (IV) and Caleb, and four daughters. Two of these girls did not marry, but Mary married Dr. Daniel Robert, having three sons and a daughter, and Hannah married Richard Woodhull and had four children. Judge Smith was a member of the first provincial congress, also serving as its president pro tern, and later was elected a New York State Senator.
    After the Revolution, Judge Smith divided the estate: the elder son, John (IV) "The General" 1756-1816 was given the Smiths Point section, and William (IV), the second son, 1796-1803 was given "Longwood", a smaller estate in the northern part of the Manor of St. George, near Yaphank.
    John "The General" married three times. His first wife was Lydia Fanning from the western outskirts of  Bellport, who died at the age of sixteen, giving birth to their son William (V). Then General John married Elizabeth Platt, daughter of Judge Zephaniah Platt of Kingston, with whom the Smith family had stayed during the harassing days of the Revolution. His third wife was the widow of Henry Nicholl - Elizabeth (Betsy) Woodhull Nicholl, only daughter of General Nathaniel Woodhull. Legend has it that John had always wanted Betsy as his bride, but had been bitterly opposed by Betsy's mother. After this marriage, General John and Betsy went to live on the Woodhull estate, which she had inherited from her father. They had a daughter Sarah, who married John Lawrence of New York, and three sons - Egbert (V), Robert, and Charles Jeffrey, who married Letitia Suydam, and lived in New York.
    General John, an active participant in the Revolution, was captured by the British and held prisoner for a short time. Later, he was a member of the State Legislature for nearly twenty years, in 1788 was in the Convention that adopted our National U. S. Constitution, in 1799 was elected a representative to Congress, and then to the U. S. Senate, as Senator from New York. In 1814, he was  made Marshal of the Southern District of New York.
    William Smith (V), called "Point Billy Smith", son of John the General and Lydia Fanning, lived at Smiths Point 1771-1851. He married Hannah, daughter of Samuel Carman of Southaven, owner of Carman's Mill and Tavern, a famous gathering place during the Revolution. They had a daughter Lydia,who married David Floyd. Their sons were William, who died in Indiana shortly after being graduated by Yale, and Egbert Tangier Smith (VI), named for William's half brother. Egbert (VI) married Annie Marie Robinson, and died in 1889 fourteen years after his wife. They lived at the Manor of St. George and had four children, none of whom married - Martha, William, Clarence, and Eugenie (VII)
    People in Bellport still talk about Martha's burial. She had died in the middle of winter, when snow was on the ground, but she had left definite instructions, that she wished to be buried "when the roses were in bloom." So Eugenie arranged for the preservation of Martha's body, and the burying took place the following June. Refreshments were served to the gathering of friends who attended, making it a gala, not a macabre affair.
    As fate would have it, Eugenie also died during the winter and her burial was delayed until a milder season.
    They were the last of the Tangier Smiths to live in the Smith Point Manor House, but not the last of the Tangier Smith clan. It was Eugenie who bequeathed the Manor to the people of Brookhaven Town. At that time, the Manor no longer included the beach property - that had been given to William Smith (IV) of Longwood, by Judge Smith.
    William Smith (IV) was born at the Manor of St. George, son of Ruth Woodhull Smith, in 1769 and lived until 1803. He married an aristocrat Hannah Phoenix Smith, of Smithtown, not taking her to Longwood until after their first three children had been born. They had seven children, but only three survived them: Ruth Amelia, who married Robert Russell of New York, and had seven children, William Sidney (V) and Apollos who died unmarried.
    William Sidney Smith (V), third child of William and Hannah, 1799-1879 married Eleanor Jones of Cold Spring in 1823. They lived most of their lives at Longwood, and had ten children. Their oldest son, William Henry Smith (VI), born while his parents still lived at Smith Point, lived most of his adult life, in Bellport. First he married Alice White, and then Jean Stiliwell, who had had two previous husbands. By the first, George H. Tibbs, she had a son Joseph P. Tibbs, who married Emma Storey. They in turn had a son Benjamin Tibbs who married Dorothy Droste (later she became Mrs. Sterling Iverson). Joseph and Emma Tibbs also had a daughter Ellen Tibbs who married Capt. Robert Hurley, and lived in Bellport on the William Smith property. As a result of Jean Stillwells marriage to her second husband, James L. Berrian, she had a daughter Ellen Nicholsen Berrian.
    William Sidney Smiths will, dated 1869, left all his beach property on the Great South Beach, opposite Bellport to his son William Henry Smith, but having no children of his own, William Henry left the beach land to his step daughter Ellen Berrien. She died unmarried, so the beach reverted to Ellen's mother, Jean Stillwell. Eventually, the beach meadows were inherited by Benjamin Tibbs and Ellen Hurley, Jean Stillwell's grandchildren, and no blood descendants of Tangier Smith. This property long known as "hospital Point" had been leased to the Old Inlet Club - a beach, bathing, private club. It was bought in the 1960s by the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior.
    Elbert Jones Smith (VI) second son of William Sidney (1826-1863) married Alma Allen and had three sons and a daughter. Their son Thomas Allen (1873-1957) was the father of Elbert Clayton Smith (1907-1967), who inherited Longwood on the death of Miss Helen Smith.
    Charles Jeffrey Smith, third son of William Sidney (1828 - 80) married Julia Spaulding in 1864, in California and had three sons and two daughters. As a young man, following his graduation from Union College, with an EN degree, he worked first in Illinois, then in Chile, South America, constructing branch railroads from the silver and copper mines to the coast. A few months after returning to America, and living at Longwood, he headed for California, walking 700 miles, from Leavenworth to Denver in 50 days. From Salt Lake City, he travelled by stage to California, Horace Greeley being a fellow passenger. He built the first brick building in Stockton, Cal., where he settled.
    In 1873, Charles Jeffrey wrote a fascinating letter describing the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of  his parents William Sidney and Eleanor Jones Smith. The banquet began with creamed oysters, and included roast peacock and champagne. Charles Jeffrey (VI)'s third son, William Sidney Tangier Smith (1869-1962) had a daughter, Dr. Ruth Tangier Smith (VII) who now lives in Menlo Park, California, and is tremendously interested in Tangier Smith family history.
    Because Robert Russell Smith (1829-85) was the first son born at Longwood his father left it to him. He married Cornelia Thorne in 1875, and two of their children survived them Dr. William Sidney (VII) and Miss Helen. Dr. W. S. Smith was a physician who practiced in Brooklyn. He lived from 1883 to 1944. Miss Helen, who always lived at Longwood survived him - living 1880 to 1955. As neither married, on the death of Miss Helen, Longwood was left to their cousin, Elbert Clayton Smith (VIII). He had married Eleanor Northrup in 1940, and they had five children. Eleanor died in 1972, but the Longwood property had been sold out of the family before that. Fifty acres had been given for the Longwood Junior Senior High School by Elbert C. Smith.
    Amelia, Susan Marie, and James Weeks Smith were children of William Sidney who either did not marry, or left no issue. Sidney Tangier Smith (1834-1923) married Edith Roberts and had two children who did not marry. John Tredwell Smith (1838-1925) married Emelie Perret Gentil and had five daughters, four who married. Apollos (1844-91) married Carolyn Brownell and had four children. From the record given the writer by Dr. Ruth Tangier Smith, there are at least sixty living descendants of Longwoods William Sidney Smith, great, great grandson of Col. William Tangier Smith, the progenitor.
    Now let us go to a cousin of William Sidney, Egbert Tangier Smith (V) born in 1796, in the Woodhull mansion, son of General John and his third wife, Betsy Woodhull. Egbert Tangier was one of the more colorful descendants of Col. William, and he was rightfully called "California Pioneer". Much of this information was gathered by Anna Tangier Smith, around 1926, and is on record in California D.A.R. State Geneological archives, of the California State Library, San Francisco, and in the "Pigskin Book".
    When 21, Egbert Tangier Smith (V) left Long Island, to go west, to seek his fortune. His half brother William was already in residence as owner of the Smith Point Manor of St. George. Accompanied by a family servant, Egbert headed for Ohio, on horseback. With a letter of introduction, he met General William Cortenus Schenck, U. S. Surveyor General. in 1818, he married the General's daughter, Sarah Rogers Schenck. Her grandfather officiated at the wedding - Rev. William Schenck, who had been a chaplain in George Washington's army, and who could trace their ancestry to Koert, Gerrit and Roelof  Martense Schenck, emigres from Holland in 1650.
    At first, the young Smiths lived in Franklin, Ohio, then in Wapsinonock, Iowa, where Egbert Tangier Smith had bought 4,000 acres and built a beautiful home. In 1851, his wife died, and he went to California, following three sons who had caught the gold fever. He settled in Napa, California. President Lincoln appointed him Paymaster of the Army in 1862. He went to Indiana for a few years, as head of the Sanitary Commission Department, Home and Hospital. Then he was sent into the Indian Territory, as Special Agent for the Creeks and Choctaws. He ended his days in Napa, California, having fathered eleven children.
    Those to reach maturity, included Elizabeth (VI) 1821-1861. who married Robert Steele of Dayton, Ohio, later moving to Rocky Ford, Colorado. They had thirteen children - some of their grandchildren and great grandchildren are living today. William Cortenus Schenck Smith (VI) third child of Egbert and Sarah, 1823 - 1896, also went to California in the "Gold Rush". He had first gone to N. Y., sailed to Mexico, was wrecked on the shores of Mexico, rode overland on horseback to San Francisco. He worked at gold mining, opened a general store, and finally settled on a farm near Napa, with his two brothers. In 1865 he went to Washington, D. C., and on April 13, was introduced to President Lincoln, who appointed him Internal Revenue Collector for California's Fifth District. This was probably Abraham Lincolns last official act; the President was assassinated the next day. In 1859, William C. S. Smith married Margaret Hornbeck. They had four children, from whom there are living descendants today. His oldest son, Charles Geoffrey (note the name Geoffrey spelled with a "G", rather than the usual "J") married, but had no children. Itwas he who gave the "Pigskin Book" to Ruth Woodhull Smith, who presented it to the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society. It may be seen on exhibition in the Societys Historical Museum in Bellport. In 1871, William C. S. Smith married Alice Carpenter Hinckley, with no children.
    Nathaniel Woodhull Smith (VI) seventh child of Egbert and Sarah, married Jane Parker, daughter of Charles Freeman Parker and had four children, with nine grandchildren. Their third child was Anna Tangier Smith (VII)1863-1933. She did the extensive research and writing for the D.A.R. and California State Library.
    Edmund Schenck Smith (VI), ninth child of Egbert, was born in Franklin, Ohio. In 1856, he too went to California, to become employed by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, as a purser. He was sent to Japan, and remained with this company for several years until his ship, Ariel was wrecked off the coast of Japan. Soon he became the proprietor of the International Hotel in Yokohama, Japan. He returned to California to marry Abigail Carpenter in 1873, going back to Japan, where their children were born. When poor health forced him to retire, he returned to the United States and died in Rocky Ford, Colorado, where his sister Elizabeth lived.
    Alice Woodhull Smith (VII) was the oldest child of Edmund and Abigail. She was born in 1870, married the Rev. Allan Worthington Cooke in Tokyo, and had five children, all born in Japan. Their eldest, Frances Marion Cooke (VIII) born 1902, married Wallace Wilkerson of Newtonville, Mass. and had two daughters: Josephine Wilkerson (IX) married Lyle Jeffrey, and had five children (X); Barbara Wilkerson (IX) married Joseph Jette, having three children (X). Barbara Cooke, born 1904 is married to Norwell Werner living half the year in Florida, the other half in Nova Scotia. Allan Cooke born 1908 is married to Jane Myers and has three children. Ruth Cooke, born 1909 first married Wallace Furman and has one daughter, and now is married to Stewart Baron, living in Florida. The last Cooke child, Philip was born 1912.
    Floyd Tangier Smith (VII) only son of Edmund, married Elizabeth McMurray. As a young man, he was employed in International Banking, then became a naturalist, often staying in Mastic. For about fifteen years, he was a banker in Shanghai, China, then made a drastic change, when he became a naturalist, and collector of rare animals, which were sent to many European zoos. He was called "The Panda Man," because during the 1930s he brought five pandas out of China, one living for many years in the St. Louis Zoo, the others in England and France. He died on Long Island in 1939.
    When in Mastic, he visited his sister, Ruth Woodhull Smith (VII) who bought property on the Forge River in 1926. She was educated in this country, trained as a Physical Education teacher and shared a New York apartment with the late Dr. Connie Guion, the noted woman physician. They had been schoolmates at Northfield School. It was through Miss Smiths efforts that the lovely garden at St. Bartholomews in New York was created. She not only planted it, but brought many horticultural specimens from her Mastic home.
    The eleventh child of Egbert was born in 1843, Jeanette Amelia (VI), who married Guy Kilburn, and had ten children, all born on the 1,000 acre ranch of the Kuburns in California. Six of  this offspring had children, and there are also grandchildren.
    So, although the "Tangier Smith" name has all but disappeared, there are many descendants, bearing other names, as well as Smith. The original source for this article was the "Pigskin Book", because the eldest son of six generations wrote in it, listing their children, with records of nine generations in some lines. It deals mostly with the descendants of Major William Henry Smith, who came from the Smiths Point Manor of St. George.
    The late Osborn Shaw, one time Brookhaven Town historian, kept meticulous notes, which are also the Property of the Bellport- Brookhaven Historical Society. In the attic at Longwood, at the time of the auction there a few years ago, was found a handwritten Tangier Smith geneaology, contrived in the form of a star, which corroborates other information in this article. Miss Ruth Woodhull Smith and Dr. Ruth Tangier Smith have been generous in supplying many details, names, dates of this illustrious family which assuredly did not end with the death of Eugenie Annie Tangier Smith.

First appearing in the LI Forum 1973 No Copyright Information Data Found