Jane A. Knapik

SMITH, GEORGE WASHINGTON (ca. 1796–ca. 1876). George Washington Smith, who served Texas at the battle of San Jacinto, in the Mier expedition, and in Mexico with Col. John C. Hays, was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, about 1796. He fought Indians in Tennessee as a teenager under Andrew Jackson and served in the War of 1812 at the battle of New Orleans. Smith was married in Wayne County, Kentucky, to Elizabeth Briggs, who was part Cherokee, in 1817; they had four children. The family settled at the head of Bois d'Arc Creek in Red River County, Texas, in 1834 and received a league and a labor of land. Pay vouchers show Smith's frequent movements for the next decade, from fights for Texas independence back home to put in crops. Reports and family tradition stated that he was with his neighbor Benjamin R. Milam at the siege of Bexar on December 7, 1835, and that the fatally wounded Milam died in Smith's arms. After the siege Smith traveled to his home in newly formed Fannin County, then returned to duty with Sam Houston for the fight at San Jacinto. As one of Capt. John G. W. Pierson's men in 1842, Smith was captured with others of the Mier expedition, but he escaped at the Rio Grande and returned home. After annexation he again left home, this time to join the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, for the campaign to Mexico City in 1847. Smith served as a sergeant with Capt. Preston Witt in Company K. He died at his home in Collin County about 1876. A Texas historical marker placed in the Blue Ridge Cemetery in 1979 marks the place of his original burial, though his daughters had his remains moved to nearby Grounds Graveyard.

J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, A History of Collin County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1958).

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Handbook of Texas Online, Jane A. Knapik, "Smith, George Washington," accessed March 21, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.