Rev. Ralph/1 Smith

M, #62045, (say 1592 - 1692)
Last Edited:20 Aug 2017

Children with Mary (–?–):

  • Thomas/2 Smith+10 b. 16 Jun 1637, d. 1720
  • Samuel/2 Smith10 b. 11 Jul 1641
  • John/2 Smith10 b. 23 Jul 1644
  • David/2 Smith10 b. 2 Mar 1647
  • Elizabeth/2 Smith11 b. 1648
Rev. Ralph/1 Smith is said to have come from Hingham, Norfolk.1 Took his A.B. at Christ's Church, Cambridge, 1613.2 Then a minister of Denton, Lancashire (Banks), he sailed with Rev. Francis Higginson aboard the Talbot, Thomas Beecher, master, to New England, leaving the Isle of Wight circa 11 May 1629 and arriving at Naumkeag (Salem, Massachusetts) in July.3
     There are contemporary reports that Bay Colony Governor Endicott "felt some distrust of [Smith's] tendency to separatism," and wanted him removed, for which purpose neighboring Plymouth Colony, founded by separatists, served admirably.2 According to William Bradford, "There was one Mr. Ralph Smith and his wife & familie that came over into ye Bay of Massachusetts, and sojourned at presente with some straggling people that lived at Natasco [Nantasket]. There being a boat from this place [Plymouth] putting in there, on some occasion, he earnestly desired that they would give him and his passage for Plymouth and some such thing as they could well carrie having before heard yt there was likelyhood he might procure house room for some time till he should resolve to settle there if he might or elsewher, as God should dispose; for he was wearie of being in that uncouthe place and in a poor house yt would neither keep him nor his goods drie. So seeing him to be a grave man, and understood he had been a minister, though they had no order for any such thing, yet they presumed and brought him. He was here accordingly entertained & housed and had the rest of his goods and servants sent for; and exercised his gifts amongst them & afterwards was chosen into the ministrie; and so remained for sundrie years."4 For the last three years of his ministry, he had for an assistant Roger Williams, who arrived in the Bay Colony in 1631.5
     Ralph Smith married, perhaps 1634, Mary (–?–), widow of Richard Masterson.2 In 1636 it was noted, "This year Mr. Smith layeth down his ministrie, partly by his own willingness, as thinking it too heavie a burthen; and partly at the desire and persuasion of others," as Plymouth sought to settle the more dynamic Rev. John Norton as its minister.6
     In 1637 he left Plymouth for Hingham, where "he drew a house lot."7 He subsequently removed to Eastham, founded by Plymouth families in 1644 on the spot called Nauset by the natives.8 There he was freeman, 1648; had a grant of land for a farm, 1656, and the grant of a house lot, 1659; was one of the committee to superintend the cutting up of drift whales, 1660; surveyor of ways in 1666; and one of a jury to lay out a highway from Eastham to Nantasket brook in Brewster, 1668.9
     He died at Eastham in 1692.9
     See Elizabeth E.S. Marcy, Facts and Fancies of Family History (Evanston, IL: 1911).

Local Notes:

Appointed1636, Plymouth, MA1636. | "It was ordered that Ralph Smith, John Doane, and John Young for the town of Plymouth, and others from other towns, should be added to the Governor and his Assistants, as a Committee of the whole body of the Colony. 'We met together the fifteenth of November at Plymouth, there to peruse all the laws and constitution of this Plantation within the government, so that those that are still fitting might be established, and those that time has made unnecessary might be righted, and those that are wanting might be proposed, and having read the constitution made at Cape Cod, November 1620, on board the Mayflower, performed the important work to which they were appointed.'"
     This was the first revision of the laws of the Colony …7

Source Citations/Notes:

  1. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies of Family History.
  2. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 17, quoting New England Genealogical Dictionary, 4:128.
  3. [S97] Charles Edward Banks, Planters of the Commonwealth, 60-61, ship Talbot.
  4. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 12-13, quoting William Brewster; 13-14, quoting Thomas Prince.
  5. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 15.
  6. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 16, 17.
  7. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 16.
  8. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 16-17.
  9. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 18, citing Orleans town clerk.
  10. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 18, citing Hingham records.
  11. [S1468] Elizabeth Eunice Smith Marcy, Facts and Fancies, 18.