Finding Your Folks: The Smith family of Henry and DeKalb counties

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

This week's story was written by Sandra Moody of Sharpsburg. Because of space limitations, I had to edit some of her details. If you will write to Sandra, she can send you the full, unedited version. Sandra writes:

"My great-grandfather, John A. Smith (1806-1885), was born in North Carolina. Census and land records show that he was in Henry Co, Ga., as early as 1830.

According to the 1850 Henry Co. census, his first son was born about 1827 in North Carolina. The 1830 Henry Co. census shows that he, his wife and child were the only members of his immediate family at that time. No names were given on the census records until 1850. Then, to my dismay, only the family member's initials were recorded.

"Land records show that John owned quite a bit of land, and he was documented in 1860 as having 40 slaves. The only land lots listed in John's will were Lot 49 in the 15th District of DeKalb Co. and Lots 31, 34, 63 in Henry. According to John's will, Land Lot 31 was the location of the old homestead.

"Apparently John was married to his first wife in North Carolina, but she must have died prior to the 1850 census. I have been unable to find out her name or any information about her. I deducted they had two sons and two daughters:  Samuel H. Smith (b. 1827 in N.C.), Sidney H. Smith (1828-1893 in Ga.), A. B. Smith (b. 1834 in Ga.) and Caroline Virginia Smith (1839-1892 in Ga.). I do not know for certain which son was the first born because they both had the same initials in the 1850 census, plus I never found any more information on Samuel H. Smith. To add to the confusion, there were conflicting birth dates for Sidney H. Smith.

"John married his second wife, Louisa P. Hudson (b. 1826 in Ga.), in Henry Co. in 1841. They had two sons and six daughters: William H. Smith (1842-1912 in Ga.), Sarah “Sallie” Florida Smith (1849-1930 in Ga.), Eliza Texas A. Smith (1847-1920 in Ga.), Martha Abigale “Abbie” Smith (1851-1914 in Ga.), Mary Ann Smith (1855-1944 in Ga.), Tucorah A. Smith (b. 1859 in Ga.), Lucius C. Smith (1861-1938 in Ga.) and Laura L. Smith (b. 1863 in Ga.).

"I assume John's second wife, Louisa, died because sometime between the 1870 and the 1880 census, John remarried and moved - I'm not certain which he did first because I've been unable to locate any marriage documentation for his third marriage. His last wife's name was Eliza (1832-1909 in Ga.).

"There were two additional daughters listed in the 1880 Panthersville, DeKalb Co. census. I am not certain if these daughters were John's biological daughters due to a clause in his will which stated, “I bequeath to my beloved wife, Eliza Smith, and her two children …” The 1880 DeKalb Co. census listed these daughters' names as Lula (1872-1952 in Ga.) and Elgira (b. 1873 in Ga.), while John's will named them Louisa and Ella.

"Sidney H. Smith married Mary S. between 1860-1870. His second marriage was to Susan A. Andrews between 1870-1880. They lived in Henry Co. but later Susan and her children moved to Fulton.

"Caroline Virginia Smith married Richard M. Petty in Newton Co. in 1858. They lived in Henry Co. but later Caroline and her children also moved to Fulton. 

"William H. Smith married Sarah Beman Elliott in Henry Co. in 1866. After Sarah died, he married Georgia E. Burnside in Clayton Co. in 1891. In the 1910 Henry Co. census, William was living with his son, and Georgia was living with her siblings in the 1910 Clayton Co. census.

"Sarah “Sallie” Florida Smith married William Leonard Camp in Henry Co in 1868. They lived in Clayton Co.

"Eliza Texas A. Smith married William H. Bettie in Fulton Co. in 1886. They lived in Fulton Co. 

"Martha Abigale “Abbie” Smith married Zachariah T. Brown in Henry Co. in 1872. They lived in DeKalb Co. 

"Mary Ann Smith married James L. Crowley in DeKalb Co. in 1875. They first lived in Henry Co, then they moved to Fulton. James and Mary were buried in DeKalb with family.

"Lucius C. Smith married Margaret “Maggie” Barto Thurman in Fulton Co. in 1881. They had three sons, but only two lived. (Lucius and Margaret are my biological grandparents) Lucius' second marriage was to Emma E. “Lizzie” Duke. They had two children, but only one lived - a daughter. Lucius' third marriage may have been to Mary W., probably a year or so prior to his death. I have no information on Mary, nor any marriage documentation.

"Lula Smith married Horace L. Keheley in DeKalb Co. in 1896. In 1900, they lived in DeKalb Co. In 1910 and 1920, they lived in Bartow Co. In 1930, they lived in Murray Co. Horace died in Fulton but was buried in DeKalb. Lula died in Fulton but I'm not certain where she is buried.

"I was unable to locate any additional information on Samuel H., A. B., Tucorah A., Laura L. or Elgira Smith. Tucorah was listed in her father's will but with a different last name, probably her married name. The name was hard to read - it looked like Brum or Brison. Even with this clue, my search has been fruitless. Also, her first name was an odd name and was easily misspelled. The only child not listed in John's will was A. B. Smith - she had possibly died prior to his death."

Sandra adds that she would love to hear from anyone who can add information to her Smith family research. Contact her at

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column

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