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Smith, David, 1767-1862



  • Existence: 1767 - 1862

David Smith was born in Bozrah, New London County, Connecticut, on December 13, 1767, the son of Captain Ebenezer Smith, who had served in the American Revolution, and his wife Sarah. At age three he moved with his family to Berkshire, Massachusetts, and grew up on the family farm there. When Smith was 16 or 17 he married Betsy Marsh, and the couple had one son, David Marsh. His wife's death on August 11, 1789, inspired Smith to prepare for college, which he at first did independently and then with Rev. Jacob Catlin of New Marlborough, Massachusetts.

In 1792, Smith was accepted at Yale College as a sophomore and graduated three years later with the Class of 1795. Following college he taught school in Sheffield, Massachusetts, and in 1796 began study in theology with Rev. Ephraim Judson of Sheffield. Smith was licensed to preach by the Association of Berkshire County in October 1796. On February 10, 1799, he preached in Durham, Connecticut, and soon after was asked by the town to settle there as the second minister of Durham, succeeding Rev. Elizur Goodrich (1734-1797, Yale 1752). Smith married as his second wife Catharine Goodrich (1776-1845), the daughter of Rev. Goodrich.

In 1821 David Smith was elected one of the Fellows of Yale College, and held this position forty years until he tendered his resignation the close of the session in 1861; he was never absent from a regular meeting of the corporation. In 1830 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Hamilton College. Smith retired from the ministry in 1833 and pursued farming. During his later years he preached occasionally in towns around Durham, and died March 5, 1862, at the home of his daughter Catherine Ellsworth in Fair Haven, Connecticut, at age 94.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Chauncey family papers

Call Number: MS 135
Overview: The papers consist of correspondence, account books, financial records, diaries, journals, and other papers relating to the personal lives and professional careers of the Chauncey family of Connecticut. Material relating to the American Revolution and the colonial period includes the correspondence, legal papers, and financial records of Charles Chauncey (1747-1823). The legal papers of Charles Chauncey (1777-1849) document his work in Philadelphia. The European travel diaries for Nathaniel...
Dates: 1675-1928

Receipts, 1800-31

 Part of Collection — Box: 71, Folder: GROUP 2868, F-1
Call Number: GEN MSS MISC
Scope and Contents: Three printed forms completed in manuscript in various hands, certifying payment of tax for carriages owned by Smith, Durham, Connecticut, 1800-1801, and for a carriage owned by Walter D. Smith, with annotation on verso regarding transfer of ownership to David Smith, Hartford, 1817; and four receipts, written in manuscript in various hands, transferring ownership of apartments in a horse shed in Durham to Smith, signed by William Foot, Ichabod Camp, Jeremiah Butler, Abner Newton, and Roger...
Dates: 1800-31

David Smith Papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1399
Overview: The papers consist of a selection of David Smith's personal papers and a library of his autograph sermons dating from 1796 to 1859. The personal papers are autograph manuscripts including ten volumes of his journals, his school notes, speeches, and keys to the abbreviations he used in his writings. Also present is Smith's manuscript song book containing compositions on themes such as Bunker Hill and the death of General James Wolfe, an autograph sermon by Rev. Alexander Gillet (1749-1826), and...
Dates: 1790-1859