Was Smith Actually His Name?
Our great-great grandfather John Smith told his son Moses that he was a lad of nine when he was kidnapped off the streets of a city in England – he believes it was London – by a navy press gang and made to serve as cabin boy. So we can’t even be sure his name was even Smith or if the navy tacked that handle on him so he couldn’t be found by searching relatives. Did he have a family or was he one of the many street urchins? A this point only God knows.
He was confined to that ship for four years, but made his escape in Halifax harbour and hid in the woods until the ship had sailed again. Later he made his way to Ontario, where he met and married Miss Ruth Dobson.
Ruth was born in August 1825 in New Brunswick, the second daughter of John and Ruth Dobson. I was excited to come across the listing of their family in the 1851 Oxford County, ON, census; evidently Ruth’s father bought a farm there and the whole family moved from NB. I’m told Ruth had a brother who was a well-known evangelist in the Methodist (?) church in the later 1800s.
Read more about the John Smith family here: