Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


There are three known branches of this family in America. Thomas Nesmith, a rigid Presbyterian, lived near Philadelphia in 1730. A grandson of his, James H. Nesmith, was living in 1867 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier county, West Virginia, and was of the opinion that this Thomas Nesmith was a brother of James, the ancestor of the Londonderry, N. H. family. Another branch is descended from John Nesmith, who was contemporary with Thomas in Pennsylvania and James of Londonderry. There was much communication between the New Hamphire and Pennsylvania settlements of the Scotch-Irish in the early days, and it is not unlikely that the three immigrants mentioned were brothers.

(I) Deacon James Nesmith, the immigrant ancestor of the New England family of this name, was one of the first sixteen settlers and founders of Nutfield, New Hampshire, later called Londonderry, April 22, 1719. He was one of the signers of the memorial to Governor Shute sent from Londonderry, Ireland, under date of March 26, 1718, for a suitable grant of land in Massachusetts.
The Nesmiths were of ancient Scotch (Scottish!!) ancestry. The name was also spelled Nasmyth, and the family is found in Berwickshire and Peebleshire, Scotland, before the year 1300. The ancestors of Deacon James are said to have removed from Scotland to the valley of the River Bann, province of Ulster, Ireland, in 1690. The Nesmiths were staunch Presbyterians.
Deacon Nesmith married, in 1714, Elizabeth, daughter of Justice James and Janet (Cochran) McKeen, and sister of Janet Cochran, wife of the immigrant, John Cochran, of Windham, New Hampshire. She was born in 1698 and died in Londonderry, N. H., April 29, 1763. Two of their children were born in Ireland, the rest in Londonderry, N. H.; the eldest was buried in the old country.
Deacon James was a proprietor of the new Londonderry and was prominent in town affairs. At the formation of the West Parish Church in 1739 he was chosen elder. He was born in 1692 and died May 9, 1767.
1. Arthur, born in Ireland, died young.
2. James, born in Ireland, Aug. 4, 1718, married Mary Dunsmoor of Windham, and settled in North Londonderry; was in the battle of Bunker Hill; died July 19, 1793.
3. Arthur, born April 3, 1721, married Margaret, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Dinsmoor) Hopkins, of Windham, and settled in North Londonderry.
4. Jean, born April 12, 172_, probably died young.
5. Mary, born Jan. 29, 1726, probably died young.
6. John, born Feb. 6, 1728, married Elizabeth Reid, sister of General George Reid, of Londonderry, and settled in the south part of Londonderry.
7. Elizabeth, born Jan. 8, 1730.
8. Thomas, born March 26, 1732, married Annis Wilson.
9. Benjamin, mentioned below.

(II) Benjamin, son of Deacon James Nesmith, was born Sept. 14, 1734. He married, in 1763, Agnes, daughter of James Gilmore, of Londonderry, and sister of Colonel James Gilmore, of Windham. He removed to Belfast, Maine, adn was among the early settlers of that town. In 1776, soon after the breaking out of the war, on account of the close proximity of the British army, they fled from that town, and slept in the woods every night for a fortnight. They returned to Londonderry and remained until 1783, when they went back to Belfast. He died Sept. 18, 1800, aged sixty-six years.
Children, b. in Londonderry (except Mary):
1. James, born May, 1764, mentioned below.
2. Benjamin, married (first) Martha Houston; (second) Hannah Morrill; removed to Pennsylvania.
3. Elizabeth, married Capt. James Miller.
4. Jenny, married Dr. William Crooks, of Meriden, New Hampshire.
5. Jonathan, married Sally Crosby.
6. Mary, married Thomas Algo.
7. Thomas, married Sarah Davidson; married (second) Sally Cargill; (third) _____.

(III) James (2), son of Benjamin Nesmith, was born in May, 1764, died March 4, 1811. He married Sept. 1, 1795, Nancy Gilmore, of Londonderry, daughter of Col. Edward Gilmore, who was in the revolution.
1. Charlotte, married William Cunningham, of Montville, Maine.
2. Nancy (Mrs. Moses Brown), removed to California.
3. James, resided in New York.
4. Benjamin, resided near Madison, Wisconsin.
5. Maria, married Israel G. Shepherd.
6. Clarissa, married Otis Spring.
7. Jane, died aged twenty-three, unmarried.

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