Cryptures September 2016

Doctor Robert Littleton Smith was born May 5, 1853, and was a son of Reverend George Edward Smith and Martha Pinkard. His great grandfather was John Smith who was born in London, England and immigrated to the colony of Virginia. John had fought with the Colonial forces as a captain during the American Revolution.

Robert’s grandfather was Captain George Smith who fought in the War of 1812 in Virginia and his grandmother was Caroline Manson Hunnicutt, a sister of J.E.P. Hunnicutt.

It is believed that the extended Smith family moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia in the early 1800’s and then on to Coweta County to take advantage of the Land Lottery. You will recall that Reverend George Edward Smith brought men to Coweta County to clear land and built cabins for his uncle Dr. Ira Ellis Smith. This land belonged to Mark Smith and possibly Nathaniel Smith. They were older than Ira so he was probably an uncle.

The plantation house was built about 1835 on 640 acres of land between two branches of the McIntosh Trail. Very little is known of Mark Smith but he may have never lived in the possibly using it as a travelers rest. I’m sure you remember that Mark sold some property to Cokes Chapel in 1842. When Mark Smith died in 1844 the property was deeded to his wife and children and shortly thereafter was bought by Dr. Ira Ellis Smith.

The house was and “I” design and in a Federal style which is one of the few left in Georgia. It was built on single block granite foundations. The framing was massive hewn pine timbers that were inscribed with Roman numerals indicating the order and location of assembly. They had a smokehouse, a well, a grain building, a mule building and several others.

In those early days, it was difficult for the pioneers. It came down to “root, hog or die.” The woods though were teeming with game and they certainly shot squirrels, rabbit, deer, and turkey from their front porch.

Families were large in those days as it was a farming was a labor-intensive occupation. It took time  to get to the fields with the mules, then periodic resting for the animals and men and then the return home. It would take horses or mules sixteen 10 hour days to plow just forty acres with a 12” furrow. With oxen, it took twenty-five 10 hour days. The total distance walked would be 330 miles. Now multiply that out for 640 acres. No wonder you never saw fat farmers.

Captain George Smith and his brother Littleton were in the cavalry in 1836 Indian Wars fighting in Florida and the Creeks in Alabama under General Scott. In that year Georgia George Gilmer was traveling from Alabama to his home in Oglethorpe County along the McIntosh Trail. He stopped his carriage at a house near the road to get some water and to his surprise met an old friend, the “gallant” Captain George Smith. They had known each other in Oglethorpe County.

Dr. Ira Ellis Smith was becoming a notable politician in Coweta County and was elected several times as a State Representative and State Senator. By 1847 he thought it was time to build his own place at Thomas’ Crossroads. Things were getting a bit crowded so he deeded the property to Reverend George Edward Smith and had the Cole brothers build him a mansion. These were the same Coles who built Cokes Chapel in 1850.

The home was never harmed during the Civil War. The family took in both Union and Confederate troops who had been wounded as Brig. Gen. McCook advanced on Newnan along the Lower Fayetteville road. Reverend George Edward Smith made sure those who died got a decent burial at Cokes Chapel where he was a member.

Robert Littleton Smith married Sarah A. Carmichael on June 1, 1884. They had four sons and four daughters. Robert became a dentist and continued farming until he had a heart attack. At that point, he gave up dentistry but continued to farm. But his descendants say he never completed medical school.

In the years following the Civil War, the economy in Georgia was a shambles. It was so bad that Robert had to use most of the 640 acres as collateral for the mortgage because of crop failures. Finally, in order to save the house, he deeded the remaining two acres and the house to his wife.

Robert and his brother Edward Manson built the pulpit of Cokes Chapel and moved it to the back of the sanctuary. Then in 1895, they built the altar railing which Richie Beam just recently painted.

Their daughter Mary Jennie married Samuel Luther Todd. Daughter Lou Ella married Henry Lenderman and son Andrew disappeared during WWI in 1916. He was an aviator on experimental flights in Miami.

Their neighbors were the Stewart family, the Willis family, and the North family. All just down the road toward Sharpsburg.

Robert died June 7, 1935. The Coweta Chronicles state that he died in the same bed he was born in.

Everyone mentioned is buried in Cokes Chapel cemetery except for Mark Smith, Nathaniel Smith, John Smith, and Ira Ellis Smith.
Thom McCague,

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