Friday, 7 January 2011

Blackmore: Smyth Family in Virginia

Thomas Smyth (born 1605) and Arthur Smyth (born 1607) emigrated from Blackmore to Virginia. This letter picks up the story published last year on this blog. (see )


16 November 2010


I hope this message finds you and your family well. My wife and I just returned from a weekend trip to Jamestown, Virginia and Williamsburg. We go a couple of times per year however, on this trip I made an effort to find and visit some early Smith sites. I have attached some photos for you just simply for interest in terms of "seeing" where the Smiths of Blakemore [Blackmore, Essex] landed.

Jamestown VA, as Arthur & Thomas Smyth would have seen it when they emigrated from England.

Arthur Smyth IV's house

Arthur Smith of course seems to have inherited the lion's share of his family's estate and was able before his death to acquire about 2000 acres of land on a beautiful peninsula overlooking the James River and Cypress Creek. We don't know for sure if he built a house there, but odds would be in favor. His great-grandson, Arthur Smith IV did indeed build a home here and named it "Windsor Castle" (I chuckled a bit at that!). It is at the end of a drive named "Jericho Rd." This Arthur donated much of his land for the formation of Smithfield, Va. The site is now a protected park and though the home is not open for tours, the grounds are open. We strolled around and also found the family graveyard. It is a large space but only contains 2 headstones. Many there believe that most if not all of his descendants are buried there. It is speculated that Arthur Smith, the immigrant is there as well.

We then took a tour of St. Luke's Church, only a few miles away from the Smyth estate. This church is absolutely beautiful. It was built in 1632 and it is believed that Arthur and his family worshipped there. It is our nation’s only surviving original Gothic building.

St Luke's Church

Graveyard, St Luke's Church

There remain so many unanswered and possibly unanswerable questions regarding Arthur and his brother Thomas as well as their brother-in-law and sister. What made this very prominent family leave the comforts of Blakemore to go to the remote ends of the Earth to a wilderness with Indians and disease? I wonder if since the family were obviously well connected to the crown that as Cromwell took over and loyalists were frowned upon, if they decided to get out of England? I suppose we may never know.

At any rate, I hope this is of some interest to you and as I have said in the past, I would very much enjoy someday a pilgrimage to Blakemore. Maybe in the coming year!

Best regards-

Scott Smith


16 November 2010

Many thanks, Scott, for your E mail and attachments. I will post them on the website soon.



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