Note: Nothing is known for certain of Josiah Smith before his marriage to Thankful Peirce in Tyringham, MA in 1760. However, out of the dozens of Josiah Smiths who were living in western Massachusetts or Connecticut in the middle 1700's, there is only one who seems like a possible match. That is the son of Noah Smith and Mary Johnson of Suffield, CT who was christened on 19 Dec 1736. The ancestry of that Josiah Smith is given below and my reasons for identifying him with Josiah Smith of Tyringham are at the bottom of the page.
1. Josiah Smith.
2. Noah Smith, b. 12 May 1698, Northampton, MA; m. 5 Oct 1723; d. 21 Feb 1742/3, Suffield, CT.
3. Mary Johnson, b. 1 May 1703, Roxbury, MA; d. 14 Oct 1786, Rupert, VT.
4. Samuel Smith, b. 29 Jan 1667, Wethersfield, CT; m. 18 Nov 1685; d. 1 Sep 1723, Suffield, CT.
5. Joanna McLathlin, b. 6 Aug 1669, Wenham, MA; d. 11 Jun 1742.
6. John Johnson, b. 17 Nov 1679, Roxbury, MA; m. 26 May 1702, Roxbury, MA; d. 7 Aug 1755, Colchester, CT.
7. Mary Ramsey, b.c. 1680, Roxbury, MA.
8. Samuel Smith, b. 27 Jan 1638, Wethersfield, CT; m. Apr 1662, Northampton, MA; d. 10 Sep 1703, Hadley, MA.
9. Mary Ensign, b. 1 Aug 1649, Hartford, CT; d. 1 Jul 1723, Suffield, CT.
10. Robert MacClaflin, b. 1639, Scotland; m. 14 Oct 1664, Ipswich, MA; d. 19 Sep 1690, Wenham, MA.
11. Joanna Warner, b. 1642/3, Ipswich, MA; d. 16 Sep 1691, Wenham, MA.
12. Humphrey Johnson, b. bef. 5 Nov 1620, Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire; m. 6 Dec 1678, Roxbury, MA; d. 24 Jul 1693, Hingham, MA.
13. Abigail Stansfield, b. 25 Nov 1638, Heptonshall, Yorkshire; d. aft. 14 May 1714, Windham, CT. [Widow of Samuel May]
2nd Great Grandparents
16. Henry Smith, b. 1599/1600, Norwich, Norfolk; m. 1632/3, Wethersfield, CT; d. 9 Aug 1648, Wethersfield, CT.
17. Dorothy (widow Cotton), b. 1603/11; d. 8 May 1680, Wethersfield, CT.
18. James Ensign, b. 1590, Chilham, Kent; m. 1622; d. 23 Nov 1680, Hartford, CT.
19. Sarah Elson, b. 1611/12, Kent; d. 19 May 1676, Hartford, CT.
22. John Warner, b. 9 Sep 1616, prob. Boxted, Essex; m. 10 Mar 1655, Ipswich, MA; d. 17 May 1692, Hadley, MA.
23. Priscilla Symonds, b. 1624/5, Birch Great, Essex; d. 1688, prob. Hadley, MA.
24. John Johnson, b. 1588/90, Wilmington, Kent; m. 21 Sep 1613, Ware, Hertfordshire; d. 1659, Roxbury, MA.
25. Mary Heath, b. bef. 24 Mar 1593/4; d. bef. 15 May 1629, England.
26. Gideon Stansfield, b. 1601, Wadsworth, Yorkshire; m. 21 Feb 1625, Heptonstall, Yorkshire; d. 9 May 1658, Heptonstall, Yorkshire.
27. Grace Eastwood, b. 29 Jan 1603, Heptonstall, Yorkshire; d. 12 Aug 1682, Heptonstall, Yorkshire.
3rd Great Grandparents
36. Thomas Ensign, b. 1575; d. 14 Dec 1631, Rye, Sussex.
38. Abraham Elson, b. 1586, Kent.
44. William Warner, b. 20 Oct 1594; m. 1610/11, Boxted, Essex; d. Mar 1648, Ipswich, MA.
45. Abigail Baker, b. 1589/90; d. 1 Nov 1659, Ipswich, MA.
48. John Johnson, b. 1564, Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire.
49. Hannah Throckmorton, b. 1570.
50. William Heath, b.c. 1560; m. 9 Jun 1580, Essex; d. 1624/5, Ware, Hertfordshire.
51. Agnes Cheney, b.c. 1560.
52. Abraham Stansfield, b. 1574, Heptonstall, Yorkshire; m. 22 Jan 1599, Wadsworth, Yorkshire; d. Feb 1643, Wadsworth, Yorkshire.
53. Maria Dean, b. 1579, Wadsworth, Yorkshire.
54. Gilbert Eastwood, b. 1572, Heptonstall, Yorkshire; m. 31 Jan 1597, Heptonstall, Yorkshire; d. 16 Nov 1620, Heptonstall, Yorkshire.
55. Elizabeth Thewles, b. 1576, Heptonstall, Yorkshire.
4th Great Grandparents
88. Samuel Warner, b.c. 1560; d. Boxted, Essex.
90. John Baker, b.c. 1560.
96. Abraham Johnson.
98. William Throckmorton.
99. Cecilia Baynham.
100. Edward Heath, b.c. 1525, Ware, Hertfordshire; m. 1560, Darenth, Kent; d. 1592, Ware, Hertfordshire.
101. Alyce (?), d. 24 Dec 1593, Ware, Hertfordshire.
102. Robert Cheney, b.c. 1520; m.c. 1551; d. 1567.
103. Joan Harrison, b.c. 1525; d. 14 May 1597.
106. Richard Deane, b.c. 1533, Halifax, Yorkshire; m.c. 1563, Halifax, Yorkshire.
107. Margaret Greenwood, b. 4 Oct 1545, Halifax, Yorkshire.
110. William Thewles, b. bef. 25 Jan 1564, Kirkburton, Yorkshire; m. bef. 13 Nov 1584, Kirkburton, Yorkshire.
5th Great Grandparents
196. Thomas Throckmorton, b. 1515.
197. Elizabeth Berkeley.
198. Thomas Baynham.
199. Mary Wickam.
200. Robert Heath..
204. Robert Cheney, b.c. 1490; d. aft. 26 Oct 1542.
206. John Harrison, b.c. 1500; d. 1550.
207. Agnes, d. aft. 1582.
220. George Thewles, b.c. 1523, Kirkburton, Yorkshire; m.c. 1553, Kirkburton, Yorkshire.
221. Isabella Nichols, b.c. 1525, Kirkburton, Yorkshire.
6th Great Grandparents
408. Robert Cheney, b.c. 1460; d. aft. 1494.
Reasons for identifying Josiah Smith of Suffield with Josiah Smith of Tyringham.
1. One of the strongest reasons for identifying the two men is a negative one -- that I have eliminated every other possible candidate. All the other men of that name who lived in New England between 1760 (when Josiah was married in Tyringham) and 1782 (when he died in Great Barrington) are documented as having resided in other place, married other women, or died in other years. But there is no record of Josiah Smith of Suffield after his birth, even though there is information on most of his siblings. It would seem likely that he left Suffield as a young man to seek his fortune.
2. A large number -- perhaps the majority -- of the people who settled in Great Barrington and the other newly-founded towns of Berkshire County in the middle 1700's came from the older settlements around Springfield, MA, particularly Westfield and Suffield. Josiah Smith of Tyringham is thus more likely to have come from that area than from any place further afield. Similarly, if Josiah Smith of Suffield left his birthplace and family to obtain land of his own, he would have been most likely to head for Berkshire County, which was then the frontier.
3. The Josiah Smith who was married in Tyringham in 1760 was probably in his early twenties, the most common age for men to marry in that period. Josiah Smith of Suffield would have been twenty-three then.
4. When Josiah Smith died in Great Barrington in 1782, his will made provision for his widowed mother. The mother of Josiah Smith of Suffield was still alive at this time, at the age of 79.
5. When my mother-in-law was doing genealogical research, she was overjoyed to borrow from an elderly relative a tattered copy of a book called "Descendents of Col. Joshua Porter, M.D. of Salisbury, Conn." (Joshua Porter was Josiah Smith's son-in-law.) As nearly as I can make out from her notes, this book identified Josiah Smith with a man of that name who was born in Suffield on 20 Aug 1745 and was the son of Josiah Smith and Mary Treat.
My mother-in-law eventually realized that this identification
must be incorrect -- if nothing else, the unlikelihood of Josiah having
married at fifteen would have ruled it out -- but remained convinced that
the author had followed a family tradition in making it.
If the tradition was that Josiah had come to Tyringham from Suffield, that
could certainly point to the Josiah who was the son of Noah Smith and Mary Johnson.
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