Biographical Sketch of John Devotion Smith
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Smith, John Devotion, Vergennes, claims descent from a long line of Puritan ancestors, the first of whom in America came from England to Massachusetts in 1636. His great-grandfather in 1752 married into the family of a French Huguenot named De Votion. His grandfather was in the Army of the Revolution, and in 1786 moved from Sharon, Conn., to Fair Haven, Vt., where he was extensively engaged in manufactures for many years. He died in Panton, Vt., in 1833. William H. Smith, the father of John D., was born in 1790, and married Electa, daughter of General Samuel Strong, of Vergennes, and was engaged in mercantile business in West Haven for a few years. He moved on to a farm in Panton, a mile and a half from Vergennes, where he died in 1843. His wife died in Vergennes in 1867. They had one son and four daughters. John D. Smith and Mrs. Susan Morgan alone survive. John D. was born in West Haven, Vt., in 1816; attended school in Vergennes; was a farmer in Panton from 1839 to 1862, when he moved into Vergennes. He married in 1842 a daughter of Hon. Harvey Bissell, of Suffield, Conn. She died in 1846, leaving three sons, who have since died. In 1848 he married Emily Church, of Bristol, R. I., now living, as are also four daughters, the oldest of whom is married to E. E. McGovern, of Vergennes. John D. Smith was a member of the Legislature from Panton in 1847 and ’48; was postmaster in Vergennes from 1866 to ’69; was elected mayor of Vergennes in 1872, ’73 and ’74, and is now judge of probate for the district of New Haven, which office he has held since 1870.