Biography of Samuel W. Smiley (1778-1844)
Compiled and written by Mark Etheridge, P.O. Box 164, Myersville, MD 21773-0164, 1998.

Samuel W. SMILEY was born in about 1778 in what is now Cabell County, West Virginia, near the Kanawha Salt work on the Ohio River. At the time he was born, the area was known as Greenbriar County, Virginia. A year after his birth, in 1779, the area in which he was living was renamed Kanawha County. In 1809, the area was again renamed Cabell County. Today the area is Cabell County, West Virginia.

So far, I know nothing about Samuels' parents or possible siblings. One of the earliest records of him is a military record of his appointment to the rank of Captain in the 18th Regiment, Thirteenth Brigade, 3rd Division of the Virginia Militia in Kanawha County. In May 1811, he was appointed Captain of the 120th Regiment, Thirteenth Brigade, 3rd Division in Cabell County, and in July 1813 he was appointed Major of the 1st Battalion of the 120th Regiment, 13th Brigade, 3rd Division.

Samuel is found on the Kanawha County 1806 Tax List, and his household is presented there as having 1 free white male over the age of 16 and 4 cows. The 1815 Cabell County Tax List shows him apparently still single with 1 free white male over the age of 16, but by this time he has acquired 1 slave, 8 horses, and 33 cattle. Samuel was very involved in the buying and selling of land throughout his life, and he is listed as an early Patentee in Cabell County, VA., and his name is listed with numerous land transactions in the Big Sandy area until about 1815.

Around 1814, Samuel moved to St. Charles County, Missouri, apparently with a wife by the name of Doratha. Doratha's maiden name may have been Cox.

Samuel Smiley settled on "Cottles Grant", an old Spanish Grant first issued to Tesin and later transferred to Cottle. In 1817 he built a temporary cabin there to live in while he built a much larger two-story double-log structure with weather boarding, on the Rock Road near Mill Creek. Located on the stage line between St. Louis and northern Missouri (known as the Salt-River Road), this served as an Inn and Tavern by 1821.

In October of 1817, Doratha left Samuel and on December 6, 1817 he published a notice in the Missouri Gazette (Vol. 10, No. 479): "NOTICE - The public are hereby notified not to make contracts with my wife, Doratha who has left...Samuel Smiley, St. Charles, December 3, 1817". However it was not until 1820 that he and Doratha were divorced. St. Charles, Missouri records show that on March 20, 1820, a petition was filed in Samuel Smiley vs Doratha Smiley, and an order for publication was handed down by the Court. The St. Louis Examiner (Vol. 3, No. 166) on 10 May 1820 printed that in the case of Samuel Smiley vs Doratha Smiley, filed in St. Charles on March 22, 1820, the petition charged that Doratha left in October 1817, and she was ordered to appear on the first Monday of the July, 1820 term.

Samuel and Doratha apparently had at least two children...Virginia Catherine Smiley b. ABT 1805, and Synthia (Cynthia) Smiley, b. ABT 1807. Catherine married Daniel EMERSON, and Synthia married Richard WOMMACK 18 Aug 1825 . They were married at Samuel's house, in what was the second recorded marriage in Lincoln County. William HAMMOCK was Justice of the Peace, but by July 26, 1826 Samuel is listed as having Justice of the Peace in a marriage of Thomas EDWARDS to Mrs. Vaugn. Catherine married prior to Samuel's death in Jan 1844, as reflected in his will.

This would not be the last divorce for Samuel Smiley.

Lincoln County was formed from a part of St. Charles County in 1820. Samuel would spend the rest of his life in Lincoln County and serve the county in various capacities. He is listed as a taxpayer Union Township, in the northwest quarter of the county, in 1821.

He would also marry again, this time to a woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth's maiden name is not known. Pike County, MO court records 1821-1825 mentions: "McQueen, James dec'd. Samuel Smiley and Elizabeth his wife (late Elizabeth McQueen, exrx of James McQueen, dec'd.) are allowed credit in full of legacies of Thomas McQueen & John A.L. McQueen, two of the legators in said will, said Samuel Smiley having produced deed of the said Thomas McQueen & John A.L. McQueen relinquishing their legacies."

Elizabeth and Samuel probably had three children...Reubin Smiley, George Washington Smiley, and John Smiley. I do not have info on Reubin and George (and in fact they may have been Doratha's children), but John was born ABT 1822. He married Cinderella BETHEL and died in Lincoln County on 8 Dec 1842.

Also from Pike County court records, 1821-1825 - "Two strays taken by Daniel Emerson, living in Buffalo Twp., appraised by Samuel Smiley and Solomon Gurnsey, 29 Nov. 1823.

Goodspeed's History of Lincoln County, Missouri (1888) lists Samuel Smiley as County Court Judge 1825-1827, and Commissioner of School Lands in Union Township in1823.

The first recorded divorce in Lincoln County was Samuel Smiley vs Elizabeth Smiley, on Oct. 3, 1826. Cause - desertion. Divorce mutual.

In, "Divorces, Separations and Annulments in Missouri", by Teresa Blattner (1993):
Samuel Smiley vs Elizabeth Smiley - An entry in the margin of the circuit court record has the notation, "This entry expunged. Entry will be found of Record Feby 1827". On 5 February 1827, the court overturned the earlier ruling to include the finding that Samuel had not abused Elizabeth. The divorce was again granted on that date.

Samuel Smiley married Emily R. NICKELL (NICHOLS) on 25 June 1829 in Lincoln County, Missouri. Emily was born in Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky in about 1811. Together they had three children; David Barton Smiley (married Mildred WELCH 14 May 1851), William G. Smiley, and George P. Smiley. David Barton was born in the Smiley Tavern.

Samuel Smiley died in Lincoln County on 7 January 1844. His will is recorded there in Will Book "A", Page 132. Below is an abstract of the will:

Smiley, Samuel - will dated 16 Feb 1843
Estate to be sold and proceeds distributed between my wife, Emily, and my sons Reubin, John, David B., William G., and George P. Eldest daughter Catherine Emerson, has recieved. Also, second daughter Synthia Womack, dec'd., and her infant children, Virginia Eliza Jane & Mary Jane. Exrs., neighbors and friends George W. Zimmerman,
James Reed & Jas. Wilson. Wit.: John C. Wells, Carty Wells, James S. Thompson & F.G. Gilmer. Recorded 12 Feb 1844.

Emily NICHOLS continued running the family business at the tavern for some time after Samuel died. Emily died 28 May, 1876 in Lincoln County.

Information compiled, written and submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by Mark Etheridge, 26 July 1998.   Update submitted 11 Aug. 1998.   Link change or update: 23 May 2000

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The Biography of Samuel W. Smiley went online 7/26/98 and was updated 8/11/98.

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