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Biography: General Bartlett Smith born Jan. 23, 1792

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Henry County, Alabama

General Bartlett Smith was born January 23, 1792, and was one of the earliest settlers of Henry County, Alabama. He settled in the area near the Emmassee Indian Village on the Emmasee Creek where it enters the Chattahoochee River. General Barett was a native of Tennessee.

Bartlett Smith was a Captain of a district of Henry County and mentioned in the commission of William Loyde to lieutenant in the 25th Regiment, Alabama Militia from Henry County to fill the vacancy of Brown.

He was co-owner with F. W. Armstrong and Ezekiel M. Attaway of the firm Armstrong, Attaway & Co.

Barlett Smith married Eliza Grace on December 18, 1822, in Henry County, Alabama. She was born July 12, 1803, the daughter of Col. James Grace and a sister of Harriet Grace, wife of the wealthiest planter in Henry County, Col. James Bennett. To there union was born a son, Thomas T. Smith, on November 18, 1819, who became very prominent in county affairs during his life time.

“General Bartlett Smith was a member of the Columbia Baptist Church during the split he Baptists between the original “Regular Baptist” who had entered America and the new “Missionary Baptist”. The original Baptists became known as “Primitive Baptists” or “Old School Baptist” (known in slang terms as “hardshell Baptists). The division of the two sects in the old Columbia Baptist Church is recorded in Henry County Deed Book A-B  as “an unholy dispute.” The Missionary Baptist that broke away in 1836, moved north and built a new church house in today’s Columbia in the center of the aged cemetery there. Among the few charter members of the Columbia Missionary Baptist Church (today’s First Baptist) were Gen. Bartlett Smith and January Smith. January Smith was a Negro slave of the General’s who was his master’s much trusted and respected coach driver. Until post-antebellum days, the Negro slaves were members of the “white” churches because there were no African-American churches. Beginning in the 1830’s the politically correct moniker for the Negro was “a person of color”. Beginning in this period, slaves are noted in legal documents and on church rolls like “Sallie, a woman of color” or “Joe, a man of color.”

Soon after this event at the Columbia Church, came the last Creek Indian Wars and Gen. Smith established his large plantation along a bend in the Chattahoochee River that is still known today as “Smith’s Bend” both by locals and tourists as well as the US Corps of Engineers on official maps of the river. One can easily see it on a map along the Alabama/Georgia State Lines along Henry County’s river banks. He constructed a large two-story home here that had bricks from England. They had come to America as ballast for a sailing vessel (ship).

When Thomas Tipton Smith became the master of the plantation years later, he established a post office there called “Egypt, Alabama” with himself as post master until it discontinued service during the War for Southern Independence in 1861. It reopened in 1874 as “Smithville” and served the immediate area until 1905. Rural Free Delivery had been established in 1901 and thousands of crossroad, family, and general store small post offices across the nation were no longer needed and were phased out between 1901 and 1905. In Henry County, 21 such small post offices were closed becoming “lost towns”. Even today, many places in the county are still known for these 19th Century post offices.”

Gen. Bartlett Smith was state representative for Henry, Pike, Covington, and Dale Counties on December 14, 1826 and Postmaster at Leamon’s Store in Henry County, Alabama around this time.

Thomas T. Smith served on various commissions and committees in the county and represented the county at their constitutional conventions. He also led the “Henry Blues” to the Civil War. Thomas T. Smith died February 10, 1886. He had married Ellen W. Smith, who was born December 17, 1820, and lived until March 8, 1884. Smithville in Henry county took its name from this family.

Alabama Governor John Gayle raised Smith to Brigadier General of the Militia during the last Creek Indian Wars in 1836. Gen. Bartlett Smith died December 16, 1843.




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