John Smith Sr was the father of John Smith Jr of Melmerby and the grandfather of Lancelot Smith of Gamblesby. Therefore, the John Smith described in this page was my 4 times great-grandfather.
I don’t know much about this John Smith aside from what I could glean from the Melmerby parish records. I know even less about his wife; her name was Mary and I don’t know her maiden surname. What could be more ordinary than John and Mary Smith?! I have found parish records for eight children who were born to John and Mary Smith and who were baptised in Melmerby between 1737 and 1757.
- Thomas, born 1737 (died as an infant)
- Agnes, born 1739
- John, born 1741
- William, born 1744
- Mary, born 1747
- Thomas, born 1750
- Isabel, born 1754 (died as an infant)
- Lancelot, born 1757
You will notice that there were two sons named Thomas. Since the first one died as an infant, they named a later son with the same name (Thomas was the name of John Smith Sr’s father). Son John, as the oldest surviving son, became the heir to the family farm in Melmerby. John Smith Jr of Melmerby has his own page in the Family Stories section of this blog.
I have some information about several of the other children, but not all of them.
Oldest daughter Agnes married Joseph Jameson of Melmerby and they had seven children.
Second daughter Mary married John Morton, a farmer in Gamblesby. She was widowed quite young and lived in later years with her brother Thomas Smith who farmed in Gamblesby as well. Mary’s son, also called John Morton, was a farmer in Gamblesby and later was a tenant farmer in Melmerby with substantial acreage at Gale Hall. His son, another John Morton, continued to farm in Gamblesby in the 1840s and 1850s.
Son Thomas was a farmer in Gamblesby – often a place where younger sons in the Smith family went to farm. He never married so his will, which was probated in 1827, is quite useful for identifying members of the extended Smith family. He bequeathed some land in Melmerby to two of his nephews: William Smith of Melmerby and Lancelot Smith of Gamblesby (my great-great-grandfather). All his other nephews and nieces got an equal share of the money from his personal estate. His nephew Thomas Smith also got his pinchbeck watch. His widowed sister Mary Morton received money and personal effects in the will.
I do not know what happened to John Smith’s two other sons, William and Lancelot.