Monday, October 29, 2012

Puzzles of Darcus Smith

I love it when I run across an unusual name.  The James, Williams, and Johns hide all their clues among thousands of other James, Williams and Johns in the databases.  But when you have a name like Darcas which is also sometime spelled Dorcus you tend to stick out more!  So this week I was researching Darcus Smith. 

I was looking at her because Joseph and Mary Ann (Best) Smith had a daughter named Darcus. (the Joseph who we now know is connected to our James Smith through DNA) Then I found a marriage license for a Dorcus Smith and Jacob Best in Warren County but it was long before Joseph’s Darcus was born.  So I could not help but wonder who this woman was. Ironically the last name “Best” stuck out like a neon sign since Mary Ann, Joseph’s 1st wife was a Best. The daughter, Darcus, was Mary Ann’s and Joseph’s 2nd daughter.  Could this be the Grandmother?  Could this be Joseph’s Mother?

I had posted a message on about the marriage of Jacob Best and Dorcus Smith.  And sure enough a response came back the next day.  She was the 2nd wife of James Smith, was the response.   The James Smith’s who was the first person buried in Smith Cemetery ! “Really” , I thought.  How could I have forgotten that!  I was the person who entered the data for the Smiths in Smith Cemetery in Benton County a few years back but I do not remember entering a Dorcus Smith.

I spent several years looking at the Benton County Smith data but was unable to connect my James to it. I have several old blogs about them. I had totally ruled out any connection between my James and the Smith’s of Benton County!  I have several other Smith researchers that I keep in contact with. We have all freely shared what we know.  I have saved the correspondences in my email, so it was time to review what they had shared with me. There she was, plain as day, among the notes of other researchers.  Darcus or Dorcus Williams was the 2nd wife of James Smith, the elder James Smith who came from Darke County, Ohio to Warren County, Indiana.  Parts of Warren County would later become Benton County, Indiana!  James and his second wife, Darcus, had four children; Joseph, Benjamin, Justice and Elizabeth…I’ll be darned…There is the Uncle Justice too!  He is the guardian referred to in Francis Marion’s guardianship papers. I was able to find Darcus Best and Jacob in the 1850 Federal Census and “Justin” Smith is 16 and living with them. Next door to them are the families of Thomas Smith and James Smith Jr.

Well, I’ll be darned!  Of course she isn’t buried in the Smith Cemetery as Darcus Smith because she is Darcus Best!  She and Jacob are both buried there.  The “Needles in the Haystack” were right there for me to find if I just get them sorted out right. 

There is still quite a lot for me to find out.  I still do not know for sure how or where my James Smith fits into this family but with the DNA results, there is no doubt that he does!

So as it always is when doing this kind of research, the answer  for one questions always leads to another new question.  Was Mary Ann Best somehow related to Jacob and his family?  Was my James a brother to Joseph or a cousin? The search continues …

Happy Hunting,



  1. Hi Jan,

    This blog really caught my attention! I'm descended of the Ezekiel Best family and am researching to see if Jacob and Mary Ann are part of that line family. I'd love to compare notes, if you are interested.

    Also, you mentioned having entered the Smith Cemetery date. Part of the reason that I believe that Jacob and Mary Ann are Ezekiel's children is because some of his known family members are buried at Smith. Is there a more complete list than what is on Findagrave? There are several more family members that I suspect are buried there.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Cheryl Hipp

  2. P S My e-mail address is


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