Biography of John E. Smith
Chittenden County, VT Biographies





SMITH, JOHN ELDREDGE, was born in New Haven, Addison county, Vermont, on the 20th of July, 1829. He traces his ancestry on his father's side to his great grandfather, Nathan Smith, who was born in Ridgefield, Conn., December 12, 1728, and whose wife, Mary Stoddard, of North Salem, Westchester county, N. Y., was born on the 21st of the same month in the same year. After his marriage he lived in North Salem, N. Y., where he became the father of ten children, viz.: Abner, Nathan, Annis, Nathan, 2d (born March 22, 1763, after the death of Nathan xst), Annis, 2d (Annis 1st having died), Mary, Benjamin, Caleb, Peter B., and Fannie. Of these Peter B. and Nathan 2d were the only ones who came to Chittenden county to reside, the former, a tailor by trade, settling in Burlington, where he died.

Nathan Smith, 2d, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was in December, 1788, united in marriage with Abigail, daughter of John Eldredge, who formerly kept a tavern on the corner of Fourth street and Winooski turnpike, Burlington, now South Burlington, by whom he had eight children, as follows: Cornelia, John Eldredge, Sally Blagden, Betsy Eldredge, Pierpont Edward, Charles Lee, Lydia Lucia, and John Lucius. He came to Burlington in 1786, and first pitched on the site of the present city of Burlington, but through a defective title lost the place and removed to the lot now known as the Fish farm, on Fourth street in South Burlington, and made the first clearing thereon in the fall of 1788. Here he kept a tavern of considerable notoriety, being a frequent host of large numbers of passengers traveling by stage in days when that was the fastest mode of travel and traffic. In 1822 he went to New Haven, Vt., where on the 1st of May, 1835, he died. He was a minute man in the Revolution, and was for a time in active service under Washington. During the War of 1812-15 the American troops were often quartered at his tavern. Although outwardly of a stern, uncompromising demeanor, he possessed the most desirable traits of character for a pioneer in a virgin land like early Vermont. He became acquainted with the country while on a surveying tour in this part of the State with Ira Allen, during which he assisted in running the lines of Moretown, Middlesex, and several other towns, before settling in Burlington. His first approach to Northern Vermont was by means of a canoe on Lake Champlain.

Pierpont E. Smith was born in the tavern above mentioned on the 7th of October, 1800, married Sylphina Hanchett, of New Haven, on the 11th of December, 1823, and had four children, Nathan Hanchett, who was drowned at six years of age, John Eldredge, Charles Palmer, born August 22, 1832, and died February 21, 1862; and Lucy Cornelia, born July 18, 1837, now the wife of Charles M. Fillmore, of Minnesota. He died on the 19th of July, 1884, at the house of his son, the subject of this sketch. His wife died on the 16th of February, 1875.

John E. Smith received his education in the schools of his native town, and attended several terms at the Shelburne Academy, under the tuition of Professor Joel H. Bingham. He passed his early life upon a farm. When he was about five years of age his father removed to a farm on Dorset street, Burlington, and remained three years, when he sold out and removed to Enosburgh, Franklin county. Six years later he again removed to a farm in Shelburne. About this time John E. Smith sustained an injury to his health from overwork, and deeming it prudent to relinquish agricultural pursuits for a period, procured a situation as station agent at Gassett's Station, in Chester, Vt., for the Rutland Railroad, and remained in that position until 1852. He then returned to the farm in Shelburne. His ambition was to fit himself for the calling of a teacher, but circumstances forced him to relinquish that object. The Shelburne farm was sold in 1859, the family expecting to try their fortunes in the West, but by reason of what was an exceptional opportunity, purchased the farm still owned and occupied by the subject of this sketch, and immediately removed upon it.

On the 12th of September, 1853, Mr. Smith married Sarah Eliza Cutting, of St. Johns, Canada, and has one child, Alice Cornelia, who was born on the 27th of March, 1856, and, on the 9th of September, 1878, was married to Heman H. Wheeler, of South Burlington.

Upon the organization of the town of South Burlington in 1865 Mr. Smith was chosen town clerk and treasurer, to which positions he has been repeatedly elected without intermission down to the present time. He has also served several years as superintendent of schools, and some time as lister and justice of the peace. In 1884 he was elected associate judge of the County Court, and holds the office now. He is a consistent and active member of the Republican party. His religious preference is Congregational, and he is a member of the First Congregational Church in Burlington.

From:
History of Chittenden County, Vermont
Edited by: W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, New York. 1886


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