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Jacob Smith (Jakob Schmidt)

Because Jacob Smith was German-speaking it is improbable that there were ever any traditional records other than those appearing in family Bibles, and those commenced with Jacob himself. He, along with many other German settlers in North-western New Jersey, was a supporter of the British out of gratitude for having been granted refuge from religious persecution in earlier times. The United Empire Loyalist List describes Jacob Smith Senior as “a soldier in the New Jersey Volunteers,” a unit commissioned on July 1st, 1776.

It is likely that following the Revolution, Jacob and his family were subjected to the usual persecution meted out to Loyalists. On June 20, 1788 the full authority of the newly created state of New Jersey reached Jacob’s son-in-law, Christian Huffman. He had served in the New Jersey Volunteers from 1777 – 1783 and was summoned to appear before an inquisition as a result of his military service; other “legal” proceedings were to follow into 1789 to “liberate” his assets. By the middle of August 1788 the combined Smith-Huffman families arrived here endowed with indomitable courage and prepared to face the unknown of a remote frontier.

By the time war was declared in June 1812, the Smith family had begun to prosper, only to be called into active service and plunged into a new conflict. Jacob’s eldest son Lewis, a Gunner, was dead by December 3, 1812. Lewis’ son Matthias, a private in a Flank Company was dead by December 17, 1812. Tragically, by Christmas Phoebe Huffman-Smith had lost her husband and one of her sons during the start of the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.

Submitted by Bev Corsini UE