I have a John J. Smith, wife Elizabeth, who lived in Lauderdale Co. TN in 1840 & 1850 and settled in Fulton Co., AR in the 1850s. I believe they are the John Smith and Betsy Kerby who married in Williamson Co. TN in 1827 and that she is the daughter, Elizabeth Smith, mentioned in Malachi Kerby’s will.
I am hoping there is a Malachi Kerby researcher out there who can help bring me up to speed on this family. There seem to be two alternate sets of facts about Malachi on the web. According to one, he was born in 1767 (date from his headstone) in NC (his birthplace as reported in 1880 by his two surviving children). According to the other, he was born in 1750 in SC. Where does this information come from? Similarly, his wife, Elizabeth, was born in 1775 according to her headstone and in VA according to both her surviving children in 1880, but in other sources is listed as born 1755 in SC. And some trees list her has Elizabeth Fox. Is there documentation for this surname? And for her death in Dickson County, TN, even though she is buried in Williamson Co.?
I’ve also seen a reference on the web to possible Native American heritage for this family. Two of John & Elizabeth Smith’s daughters, twins Triphena and Elizabeth, married into my Stroud family. Triphena’s descendants say she was Native American, although I don’t know if that assessment is based on family history or on her appearance alone. The death certificate of one of Elizabeth’s daughters lists her race as “1/8 Indian,” which would make either John Smith or Elizabeth Kerby ˝. Does this fit in with other Kerby family lore? (Elizabeth also had a son named Malachi Stroud.)
When the Smith family – John and several relatives from TN and MO – moved to Fulton Co., AR, they settled very close to a man named Martin Kirby. And a close Smith relative, Wyatt Smith, was enumerated next to a Joel Kirby in Haywood Co. TN in 1840. Both of them eventually moved to Fulton Co., AR. Martin Kirby was born about 1800 in NC and Joel Kirby about 1812 in TN. Could they be relatives of Malachi?
And, finally, a note on spelling. It appears that Malachi’s son, William, settled on the Kerby spelling, but in Malachi’s will, which is the only original document I’ve seen, Kerby and Kirby are used interchangeably. Hence, I am posting in both places.
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