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Abiel Smith

Male 1746 - 1815  (69 years)

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  • Name Abiel Smith 
    Born 9 February 1746  Taunton, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 21 November 1815  Boston, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 23 November 1815  Central Burial Ground, Boston Common Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • From the Fales Family of Bristol:
      Abiel Smith, born at Taunton February 9, 1746, was graduated at Harvard in 1764, and married, we suppose at Scituate, a few years before coming to Boston, Lydia, born probably in 1753, one of the many daughters of Ephraim and Rachel (Hersey) Otis of Scituate. In Boston Mr. Smith accumulated a handsome fortune, and dying childless in 1815 he not only remembered many of his own and his wife’s relatives, but left to Harvard College, to help in maintaining there a teacher or professor of French or French and Spanish, the sum of twenty thousand dollars “in the three per cent funded stock of the United States.”
      As the Smiths had no children, when Abiel Smith died, a little less than two years after his wife, he left legacies to many of Mrs. Smith’s relatives as well as his own. To Dr. Ephraim Otis, his wife’s eldest brother he leaves $6,000, to be equally divided among his six children after his decease; to the heirs of his wife’s sister Mary Lincoln, deceased, he leaves a certain sum; to Lusannah Haliburton he leaves $5,000, to be equally divided after her death between her son William Hersey Otis Haliburton and her daughter Mrs. Abigail Fales, giving also $1,000 to William Hersey Otis Haliburton alone; to the heirs of Mrs. Rachel DeWolf of Windsor, Nova Scotia, he leaves $4,000 ; and to Ruth Otis, Mrs. Abigail Otis, Priscilla Clapp, and the heirs of Charles Otis, of the same large family further generous sums. Among his own relatives he remembers his nephews William Augustus Fales and Stephen Fales. To his niece Lydia Smith, daughter of his brother Barney, because she was named for his “late dear wife,” he leaves a legacy of $20,000. His will was made October 6, 1814, and proved November 27, 1815.
      Abiel Smith and his wife, and Barney Smith and his wife, and the three children of the Barney Smiths, all had their portraits painted by Gilbert Stuart. The children of Barney Smith were, Lucinda, born May 19, 1784, married December 10, 1843, to her first cousin George Alexander Otis, son of her uncle Dr. Ephraim Otis; Lydia, born October 13, 1786, married to Hon. Jonathan Russell; Henry Barney Smith, born October 26, 1789, died in 1861, probably unmarried.

      The North American Review, Jan 1816
      In Boston, Abiel Smith, Esq. aged 69. After bequeathing an ample fortune amongst his relations, he gave a sum to the University to found a Professorship of French, and also a sum to aid the African school in Boston.

      An exceprt from the National Park Service’s article on the Abiel Smith School,
      In 1815 white businessman Abiel Smith died and bequeathed $4,000 for the education of African American children in Boston. The school committee used interest from this money to fund the African School and they later used a portion of it to construct the Abiel Smith School. The Abiel Smith School was opened on March 3, 1835, but the conditions in this school were inferior to those of the white schools in Boston and the black community continued to fight for equal opportunities in education.

      There’s a 12-page manuscript Abiel Smith and Lydia Otis, by Robert Lewis Weis, 15 Oct 1923, currently (2012) on the web at
      from a copy at the Newberry Library. Weis collected newspaper clippings and other printed sources including a copy of Abiel Smith’s will.

      Check out the Weis-Lewis Genealogy by Frederick Lewis Weis, 1922.

      From the Boston records:
      Abiel Smith, d. 21 Nov 1815 æ. 69, at Boston, died of spasms, interred 100 Central Gd., buried 23 Nov 1815, of Boston, son of Abiel Smith. [1]
    Person ID I110620  Schirado
    Last Modified 15 July 2012 

    Father Capt. Job Smith,   b. about 1715, Taunton, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 February 1795  (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Mother Hannah Barney,   b. about 1717 
    Family ID F72618  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Lydia Otis,   b. about 1753,   d. 1 January 1814, Boston, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 61 years) 
    Family ID F72617  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S638] De Coursey Fales, (Boston: T.R. Marvin & Son, 1919).

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