Colleen O’Marra writes (regarding Colonel Samuel Smith’s artifacts):
The Town of York, 1815-1834 (edited by Edith Firth) makes just a few
references to the disappointing “half-pay” officer slogging it out
forty miles west of York.( his farm at 41st Street and Lakeshore
Bvld.)Massive oak and pine,access by boat only and difficult even on
horseback,a visit to Colonel Sam Smith’s homestead was quite a feat. A
father to nine daughters and two sons. Wounded at the Battle of
Brandywine,a Queen’s Ranger trying to raise this large family, clear
the land and bring settlers into the area…unsuccessfully.Refused a
proper pension by the York elite, his children were left penniless
upon his death. While that shard of pottery in a sandwich bag is not
the most inspiring artifact of what must have been a very interesting
family, I don’t intend to wait a century for more information on this
very interesting colonial.( C. O’Marra)
That’s a good point. From what little we do know about him, he was an interesting person. It’s enjoyable to go through the two Edith Firth volumes, available on loan from the Toronto Public Library, to track down references to the colonel and his family. The fact a mythology hasn’t developed around him is something that appeals to me.
One of the artifacts that appears in online video, posted to Vimeo on December 23, 2011, is a shard of pottery dating from quite some time ago on which appears the painting of a dog and child at play. I much enjoyed seeing that image when I first encountered it, during my research for the video.
David Juliusson of Toronto has shared some additional resources to help position the colonel in history.
Some years ago I organized a small birthday party in Long Branch, complete with a birthday cake, to celebrate what I calculated to be Colonel Smith’s 250th birthday. There are a number of dates that have been advanced for his date of birth. I went with what appeared to me to be the best available evidence. I had a good time explaining, at a cake shop, that I wanted a cake for a 250th birthday celebration.
It was a fun event! I think it would have warmed his heart, and the heart of his family, to know that we were celebrating his birthday these many years later, in the community where he built his log cabin in 1797.