Plymouth County Biographies

Part of the Massachusetts Biographies Project

Rev. Nehemiah Smith

Rev. Nehemiah Smith, immigrant, was born in England about 1605 and settled at Plymouth in New England before March 6, 1637-38, when he and others applied to be made freemen of the colony. He married, January 21, 1639-40, Anne Bourne, of Marshfield, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Bourne. Her sister Martha married John Bradford, son of Governor William Bradford. Nehemiah Smith lived for a time at Marshfield and is believed to have been the first religious teacher there. He was appointed May 5, 1640, on a committee of five to view all the meadows of Green Harbor (Marshfield) which were not granted and report their measurements to the general court. From Marshfield Smith sailed to Stratford, Connecticut, as early as 1644. He belonged to the church and some of his children were baptized there.

The records show that he raised sheep extensively and was called "Shepherd" Smith. He owned land in the New Haven jurisdiction. He removed to Long Island about 1652, but returned in a year or two, and located at New London, Connecticut, where he was granted land in 1652. He appears to have been a weaver by trade and doubtless spun the wool from his own sheep and made it into cloth. About 1655 he settled on a farm at Smith Lake, Poquonock. Smith was one of the original proprietors of Norwich, Connecticut, and had the largest tract of land. His house stood about fifty-seven feet north of the oldest burying ground. He had grants in 1661 and afterward. He conveyed some land to his nephew, Edward Smith, November 18, 1668, and he and wife Ann conveyed their homestead to their son-in-law, June 12, 1684, in consideration of maintenance for the remainder of their lives. He died about 1686. He left a will, but the records including the will have been destroyed. The records sometimes refer to him as "Mr." in recognition of the fact that in early life he was a preacher.


1. Sarah, baptized in the First Church, New Haven, December 14, 1645, when about three years old.

2. Mary, baptized December 14, 1645, at New Haven.

3. Hannah, baptized with Sarah and Mary.

4. Mercy, baptized February 22, 1645-46.

5. Elizabeth.

6. Nehemiah, mentioned below.

7. Lydia, born 1647.

8. Ann (perhaps same as Sarah, for the mother was called Sarah in the church records).

9. Mehitable .

Source: Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. Volume IV