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Married: July 1763, Londonderry, NH

Lt. Benjamin7 Nesmith Sr.
(major events)

Missing
Birth: 14 Sep.1734 Londonderry, Rockingham, NH
Baptism:
Imm.:
Will:
Death: 18 Sep.1800 Belfast, Waldo, ME, of dysentery
Occ:
Education:

Missing
Birth: 8 Nov.1740 Londonderry, NH
Baptism:
Imm.:
Will:
Death: 1815 Pittsburgh, PA
Occ:
Education:

Family Citations:
Notes:

        L.A. Morrison, “History of Windham, New Hampshire”, p.691:  Benjamin (2) (James 1).  He was the youngest son of James Nesmith, the emigrant, and was b. Sept 14,1734.  He m. Agnes, dau. of Col. James GILMORE of Windham in 1763; removed to Belfast, ME., in 1773-74, and was  among the early settlers of that town; this was about the time of the large exodus from Windham and Londonderry to that place.  In 1776, soon after the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, on account of the close proximity of the British army, they fled from that town, and slept in the  woods every night for a fortnight.  They remained in Londonderry till 1783, when he and his family returned to Belfast, "while the surges of  the Revolution were rocking themselves to rest."  He d. Sept 18, 1800,  age 66 yrs.  Children, all born in Londonderry, except Mary....

Death dates of Benjamin and Agnes listed in the book: Records of Rev. Edward F. Cutter of Maine 1833-1856 transcribed by Elizabeth M. Mosher Camden, Maine, Picton Press, 1989, pg 62.

[Information shared by Michael Wolfe 2/4/98]

       Among the sons of this James NESMITH the emigrant, were two who fought in the battles of the Revolutionary War; one, James from whom descend the Nesmiths of Colorado, Washington and Missouri. This James NESMITH was a Captain in Colonel George Reeds (of Londonderry) command, and was in the battle of Bunker Hill, etc. Another son of the emigrant James Nesmith, was Benjamin Nesmith, from whom are descended the Nesmiths of Brooklyn and New York. This Benjamin Nesmith was born in 1734, and was one of the founders of the town of Belfast, Maine. He has an honorable history in connection with this town, which is traced in Herman Abbots "History of Belfast" from its first settlement in 18Z5.  He also fought in many battles of the Revolutionary War as is shown by the roster of the New Hampshire regiments at that time. In the year  1768 a number of the young men belonging to Londonderry, New Hamphire, adopted measures to purchase Belfast township in the province of Maine. In June following, a survey of the township showed that it contained 19,359 acres, and this was divided into fiftyone shares. The Gilmores were the owners of some of these shares. This was the family into which Benjamin and his son James married. Benjamin Nesmith marrying the sister of Col. James Gilmore, Agnes, born 1740, died 1814. He married her in 1763, their son James, born in 1764, married Nancy Gilmore, the daughter of Col. James Gilmore, Sept, 1st, 1795. This Colonel Gilmore served his country in various capacities all through the Revolutionary War and afterward as Justice of the Peace. In 1773, the town of Belfast was incorporated and, at the first meeting of its inhabitants, Benjamin Nesmith was chosen one of the selectmen. He was voted Surveyor of Highways, April 22nd 1776. March 21st 1785, he called  the first town meeting after the return from the Revolution and was voted Moderator, and in 1787, he was made tithingman.  In 1777, he was chosen one of the Committee of Safety. In 1800, Sept. 18th, he died aged 66.

        Will: Maine Probate Abstracts, Vol 2, 1775-1800

        by John Eldrige Frost

        Picton Press, Camden Maine, c1991

On page 1261:

        H 1/104.  Benjamin Nesmith b. 1734, of Belfast.  Will (1.126). Probate (1.127). F448.  Benjamin Nesmith of Belfast devises 6 July 1799; to my w Agnes for life 1/2 of the improvement of my real est consisting of my farm in Belfast [a part of #6 1st Div] with the house & barn thereon & my pew in the Meeting house on the W side of the river in Belfast incl a right to fire wood &

fencing timber from the farm + use of my tools of farming for life + 1/2 the benefit of the cattle, sheep & swine on the farm; also a bedstead & bedding & the household furniture for life, her wearing apparrel & loom & tackling.  To my eld s James Nesmith $2; to my eld dau Elizabeth $2; to my s Benjamin Nesmith $2; to my dau Jane $2; to my s Jonathan Nesmith Decds child $2; to

my youngest dau Mary Larmond Nesmith a feather bed, bedstead & bedding , etc. [itemized] & $14 to buy her a silk gown & trimming.  If my dau Mary be living unmarried after the d of myself & w, I give her 2 yrs of barding from my est & a room & bedroom in the house while she remains unmarried.  To my youngest s Thomas Nesmith all my real est & part of lot 46 in Belfast with

the house & barn thereon & my pew, my tools of husbandry & live stock [subject to my bequest to my wid] & my wearing apparrel.  W & s Thomas are to pay my debts.  Const s James Nesmith as exor.  Wits: Thadeus Spring, John Cochran, John Alexander.  Prob 8 May 1801.

      On headstone in Grove Cemetery, Belfast ME is inscribed:  “BENJAMIN NESMITH, BORN, SEPT. 14., 1734, DIED , SEPT. 18. 1880, __, FOUNDED AND, FIRST SELECTMAN, OF THE TOWN OF BELFAST”.

 

      “He is described as a gay man more fond, I suspect of fun than wealth earned by hard labor, yet he was a Nesmith and for all I can discover, as respectable as the majority of them.”

 

       lietenant in Capt. Samuel Houston’s company of Col. Josiah Brewsters regiment, commissioned in 1776. [DAR 47917, 48:433 ]

 

         James McLaughlin drew lot No.46, with Mathew Chambers.  He belonged to Pembroke, NH, and did not reside there.  They sold to Benjamin Nesmith, who died in 1800, and left the lot by will to Thomas Nesmith, his youngest son. [“History of the city of Belfast in the state of Maine” by  Joseph,    Williamson, Portland Me.: Loring, Short, and Harmon, 1877-1913, 1767 pgs., p.98:]

 

 

       1790 ME Census:    •Nesmith, Benjamin ME HANCOCK CO. (Belfast Town) 26 1790       03-01-04-00-00 (shown with 3 males (over 16) 1 male (under 16)                       and 4 females)

                                     Nesmith, Benjamin NH ROCKINGHAM CO. 070 1790 01-03-02-00-00 

                                     Nesmith, James NH ROCKINGHAM CO. 071 1790 02-00-01-00-00 

                                     Nesmith, John NH ROCKINGHAM CO. 070 1790 04-01-02-00-00 

                                     Nesmith, Jonahan NH ROCKINGHAM CO. 071 1790 01-04-05-00-00 

                                     Nesmith, Benjamin ME LINCOLN CO. MONTVILLE 306 1810 

                                     Nesmith, Thomas ME LINCOLN CO. MONTVILLE 306 1810

 


Citations:
Notes:

        Letter   David M. Wilson to James W. Nesmith

[David M. Wilson is son of Sarah Ann Nesmith and Samuel Wilson; grandson of James Nesmith III and Mary McClure; great grandson of James Nesmith, Jr. and Mary Dinsmoor:  Lael]

[I dont know if he is writing to James Wilson Nesmith 1796-1881 or James Willis Nesmith 1820-1885:  Lael]

(Randor??), Del. Co., Ohio, June 22, 1867

[I think this must be: Radnor, Delaware County, Ohio: Lael]

Respected Kinsman,

       Your letter of the 28th came to hand on the 4th inst. [old term meaning in this instant or in this month] and you have my sincerest thanks for the pains you have taken in the matter of aiding me.  Some letters of inquiry I have out to kindred will probably never elicit any replies, I am all the more glad when I draw out from my aged relations information throwing light on our common kindred.  I have two letters of Jas. Dinsmore of Ky., who went to school in Windham with my mother, and who is a nephew of Col. Silas Dinsmore, of the Indian Agency Memory.  His letters are interesting, and I have a few others from other sources.  I am astonished to find how soon the memory of the ancients becomes dim, and indeed, beyond the reach of the historian.  Our correspondence furnishes an example.  You state the memory of Benjamin Nesmith, if there ever was such a man, has passed away from Londonderry people.  From childhood I have heard him mentioned as one of the five sons of James Nesmith who married Elizabeth McKeen.  Benjamin was a younger brother of my great grandfather, James Nesmith, who dying in 1793 was some years contemporary with my Aunt Margaret Morrison, and she indeed lived with Mary (Dinsmore) Nesmith till the death of the old lady in Feb. 1805. [Mary Dinsmoor Nesmith, wife of James2, died Feb 27, 1805]  But I will now transcribe a letter received a week since from Mrs. Charlotte Cunningham of Montville, Waldo Co., Maine.  The Benjamin she talks of can be no other than the one we are inquiring about.  She says Benjamin Nesmith was my [Charlotte’s] Grandfather, I have no recollection of him, he died in 1800 of Dysentery.  I have heard my mother say he was a very gay man, more fond of pleasure than of labor.  My grandmothers family were very fond of thrifty folks.  Their opposition to the match was intense.  It seems she had two strings to her bow.  One of them a Mr. Hemphill, was a man of worth and means her family favored him, and to him she was published.  One night, however, she had a temerity to get on a pillion behind my grandfather, they rode off, bought a license and were married. 

He must have had a persuasive tongue and she a willing ear.  She was never the less an excellent woman, and I loved her dearly.  They were among the first settlers at Belfast, coming somewhere between 1773-4.  

         Four sons and three daughters blessed their board:  James, my father {Charlotte’s] the eldest, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Jenny, Jonathan, Mary and Thomas, all born in New Hampshire save Mary who was born in this state at St. George, in their flight from Belfast, at the defeat of Bagaduce [??] about 12 miles from Belfast.  They were fearful of being plundered or otherwise annoyed by the British, and slept every night in the woods for a fortnight before leaving in 1776 or 1777 for their N.H. home. In 1783, I think, father and Uncle Ben returned.  My father was 19 and Uncle Ben 15 years old.  Their hardship and deprivation were very great.  My father was prostrated with fever 12 miles from a Physician and Uncle Ben his only attendant.  A fever sore remaining, caused his death in 1811 March 4.  In May he would have been 47.  He was married at 31 years of age Sept 1, 1795.  I was born Sept 7, 1796, my sister 16 month younger is in California, a widow with three sons.  My eldest brother [James Nesmith 1800-1872] is in New York mourning the loss of his only daughter of consumption, a mother of six children.  She died at Richmond three weeks since on her way home from the South where she passed the winter.  All the wish she expressed was to die in her own home.  My brother Ben is in Wisconsin, is a farmer near Madison.  My Uncle Jonathan died of Yellow Fever aged 26; he was a ship Captain, a charming young man, I have heard the ladies of Belfast say, who were his associates.  He left a wife and a child who was born to him after his death.  In the autumn of 1813, my uncles Ben and Thomas left Maine for Ohio together with Aunts Jenny and Mary and their mother, with their families.  

Uncle Benjamin [1767-1848] had a good farm and was a Master Ship Builder when in Belfast.  Uncle Thomas had his fathers farm, the old house which still remains in good repair.  When they reached Pittsburgh, they concluded to make that their home, save Uncle Ben who went to Marietta, the only one who settled in Ohio.

Uncle Thomas went into trade and at one time was quite wealthy - he had three wives and was himself alive three years since as were Aunts Jenny and Mary.  Uncle Ben has been dead some years.  He had two fine women for wives.  

Aunt Mary [b. 1779, widow of Thomas Algeo] is a widow in good circumstances.  

In 1824, my aunt Elizabeth with her husband Mr. Miller left for Penn. and settled nine miles from Pittsburgh and a foolish move it was.  Their property in Belfast was very valuable and they had a good house.  Aunt Miller died 25 years since, aged 76.

I have a cousin in Philadelphia, Alfred Nesmith, eldest child of my Uncle Thomas.  Mary Crooks, Aunt Millers second daughter is in Gallipolis.  Mrs. Nancy Cargill, Aunt Jennys daughter by her first husband is in St. Joseph, Mo.  From either of these two you can gain information as to the history of these families after their departure from Maine.

I am the only one on my family in Maine.  Am sometimes lonely.  Have 3 half brothers named Brown in Elizabethtown, NJ, wealthy.  

I omit a portion of Mrs. Cunninghams letter, but what I transcribed may suffice to show that the Benjamin branch of the Nesmith stock in no myth and no cipher.  Mrs. Cs grandfather must have married as early as 1763.  I have said her grandfather could be no other than the Benjamin, who had Elizabeth McKeen for a mother.  Perhaps that expresses it too strong.  It is barely possible he might have been the son of Arthur and Grandson of Elizabeth McKeen, but this I hardly believe.  Arthur said to have been the oldest child of Elizabeth McKeen who was married about 1714.  He might have been born in 1715 and in that case he might have had a son Benjamin old enough and foolish enough to plan and execute a run away match in 1763.  But I do not believe it.  I doubt Arthur being the eldest of the family and the I have always heard that James, Arthur, and Benjamin all sons of Eliza McKeen had a grant of land in N.W. Londonderry and that Arthur and Benjamin went to Maine about the beginning of the American Revolution leaving James, my great grandfather, who married Mary Dinsmore, to retain the farm.  The evidence does not amount to certainty yet to my mind it is highly probable.  Arthurs son Benj may have originated the notion of Arthur having a brother of that name.

Since my hand is in this business, I mean to settle the vexed question if half of the Nesmith race have to be summoned to the stand.  If you have any additional light, I shall be thankful for it.  I cannot reasonable ask anything further at your hands, I am very much obliged to your favor already received.

Yours truly,

David M. Wilson

Note at foot:  Arthur born April 3, 1721; Benjamin, Nov. 14, 1734, married 1763

 

        She died at the home of their son Thomas in Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 18, 1814, aged 75. Their seven children were: James, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Jeanette, Jonathan, Mary Lermond, and Thomas. Jeanettes birthday was may 27, 1770, Londonderry, Benjamin, Jr., Oct. 13, 1767.


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