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Born 6 Jun 1752 Londonderry NH and died 5 Jun 1825, Henniker NH, John's parentage remains an enigma.
He is said by Childs to have been orphaned and been brought up by Thomas Wallace who in 1789 included him and his son Thomas in his will on an equal footing with his family members and may have given or sold him land in Number Six, which eventually became Henniker.
He fought at Bunker Hill and Bennington under General Stark. His widow received a pension.
He married Lucy Whitman from Stowe, Massachusetts 11 Jan 1781 whose family also had property in Number Six. They had a large family. There is suggestive evidence that he was married before to Jane McCleary who died 5 Mar 1779 and is buried in Old Hill Graveyard in Londonderry.
In 1759, James Ligget of Londonderry NH willed to his sister Efy, "who was married to John Smith". She would be a candidate parent of the John Smith b 1752 and orphaned. There are a few other Smith surnames in Londonderry in the mid 18th century.
Depicted in colorful terms in "The History of Henniker", Smith appears to have been intense and perhaps prone to alcohol in his old age.
Mary - have you searched any Londonderry church records. Unless he was abandoned at birth there should be a baptism around his date of birth in 1752. Many church records have been microfilmed by the LDS, but you may find the particular parish in Londonderry still has their records.
David Allen Lambert, NEHGS Online Genealogist
Thanks for the tip. I tried family search.org and came up with lots of John Smith candidates but not one that fit the situation.
I googled "Londonderry, New Hampshire" "John Smith" births baptisms and struck out, too.
Can you offer a better search strategy?
David can correct me if the following is wrong, but I think he meant that you may need to identify which parish records in the Greater Londonderry area are NOT online nor have been microfilmed. Start with Londonderry itself, of course. At some point, this will require on-site research, wherever the actual church records are now.
Next up, what I call "collateral research", again probably incorrectly. Research the people around John Smith. Start with James Ligget and sister Efy. Review GDMNH, the run of NH Record, the older published short-run NE genealogies, AND the indexes to the published State Papers of NH. As I understand it, the quality of indexing varies from volume to volume. However, serendipity may enter into your research about here if you keep all the collateral names to mind.
The next collateral would be the Thomas Wallace family. Run his name through State Papers, building a Register format, looking for research holes to fill. TW may indeed have undertaken care for JS based on sheer goodness of heart, but there might also be a church affiliation, a report to the Londonderry town fathers, and even a FAMILY relation found in some odd place. Push TW back to his grandfather, then fill in forward.
With "John Smiths" especially, one has to expand the circle of suspects until something clicks. As for example, children's naming patterns for John Smith and Lucy Whitman. And that includes her family's probate & deeds in Middlesex County Massachusetts (Stowe is in VT).
Thanks for the advice from both of you. Having renewed hope and abandoned the self-fulfilling prophecy that I was working under vis a vis Smith, I will extend my searches as you suggest. Thinking these were pipedreams, I had only pursued the collateral searches very superficially with Thomas Wallace, not at all with Efy Ligget and only somewhat with the McCleary family. The resources you suggest for New Hampshire are new to me and I will go after them.