This ninth week of the 52 Ancestor Challenge is "Close To Home". I chose to blog about Patrick Smyth, my great-great-great grandfather. Patrick and his family settled in Kickapoo, Illinois which is about fifteen miles from where I live, making him the ancestor who lived closest to where I live.
Patrick Smyth was born on the 23rd of March in 1809 in County Down, Ireland. In 1833, when he was twenty-three years old, he married eighteen year old Rosa Kerrott, the daughter of a neighboring farmer. Patrick and Rosa left Ireland for America the day after their wedding. I can't imagine how frightening and exciting the prospect of that journey must have been to the young couple. I wish I knew what brought them not only to the United States, but if they knew anyone already here. They first lived in Albany, New York for about thirteen months, then moved to Trumansburg, New York where Patrick worked as a common laborer for four years. It was in New York where their first two children were born.
Their first born child, Francis, was born in April of 1835 in New York. The second child, Mary, was also born in New York in July of 1836. Baby Francis died in November of 1837 at age 2 ½ in New York. Patrick and Rosa and daughter Mary moved to Illinois sometime between November of 1837 and March of 1838. The third child, Catherine, was born in Illinois in March of 1838. It must have been quite a difficult journey to travel to Illinois in the winter back then, especially for a very pregnant young women already caring for a young child. The family “lived a few months in the service of Bishop Chase at Jubilee College” and in the fall of 1838, Patrick and Rosa bought their first home- “a log cabin which they occupied seventeen years”. Patrick and Rosa remained living in the Kickapoo, Illinois area through-out their lives.
Three days short of one year from when Catherine was born a fourth child arrived. Anna Maria was born in March of 1839. Sadly, at seventeen months old, Catherine died in October of 1839.
It is hard to imagine how the young family dealt with all of the turmoil and changes that had occurred in their first six years of marriage. Patrick and Rosa had left their families in Ireland and moved to the United States, had four children and had lost two of the children. And they moved from one city in New York to another, then from New York to Illinois. By this time Patrick was thirty years old, and his wife Rosa was only twenty-four years old.
In 1840 Patrick was listed as Patrick Singch in the Peoria County, Illinois Census with his wife and two female children (Mary and Anna Maria).
No records have been found for Patrick between the 1840 and 1850 censuses. However, he and Rosa were busy adding six more children to the family: Francis B. born in November 1840, John W. born in August 1842, Elizabeth born in June 1844 (my third great grandmother), Catherine born in December 1845, James K. born in January 1847, and Edward D. born in November 1848.
In 1850, Patrick was listed in the Peoria County, Illinois Census as Patrick Smith, age forty, from Ireland, and his occupation was farmer. He was listed with his wife Rosa, and eight children (Mary, Ann, Francis, John Betsy, Catherine, Edward, and James).
Three more children were born to Patrick and Rosa before the 1855 Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois Census. Their eleventh child, Rosa L., was born in April of 1850, William H. was born in August of 1852, and Patrick Maximillian was born in June of 1854.
Patrick and Rosa had two more children: Margaret was born in August of 1856 and Charles K. was born in January of 1858, bringing the number of children born to Patrick and Rosa to fifteen. It is rather amazing that back in that time they only lost two of the fifteen children.
Patrick was listed in the 1860 Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois Census as age fifty, still farming, with his wife and twelve of his children.
Patrick was a farmer all of his life, and, judging from the Appraisal Bill filed in April of 1861, he was quite a successful farmer.
Patrick’s will was written on the 30th of November in 1859. He died of consumption on the 20th of January in 1861 at fifty-two years of age.
In his will, Patrick left “Rosy” three hundred and twenty-five acres, along with all of the livestock and personal property with some exceptions. The will also stated that all was to go to his seven sons or their heirs upon Rosy’s death. The exceptions were that his six daughters were to each receive $500 when they came of age. His oldest son, Francis, upon reaching the of age 21, was to receive 54 ½ acres in the town of Kickapoo, and the rest of the land in town was to go to Rosy. Rosy was to sell the “Gregory farm” within three years of Patrick’s death, and was to also sell the 32 ½ acres of the “Euyleston farm”.
The Bill of Appraisal showed that his livestock, farm equipment, grain and rent from two others were worth $2193.34. This did not include all of the land that he owned.
Patrick Smyth’s obituary from the Peoria Daily Transcript stated: “Died, age 52, in Kickapoo, Peoria County, Jan. 20, 1861 of consumption. He came to this country in the fall of 1838 with but limited means. He has left fine property for his family, 14 in number." (PDT 1-22-1861 P4 C6).
Patrick is buried in the Kickapoo Catholic Cemetery in Kickapoo, Illinois. The tombstone shows his age as 51/10/3 (51 years, 10 months, 3 days).