Sarah Smith Wright of Georgia, South Carolina, and Britain

There’s a method when you are researching families. It is called FAN. You research FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES, and NEIGHBORS. I have loosely used this method for years, not knowing that it was a thing. I skip around to people that are mentioned in conjunction with my main research topic, like a frog leaping from lilypad to lilypad. Sometimes I fall in the pond and become immersed.

So I started out 2 months ago by viewing the Lawton Family collection in the South Caroliniana Library. I requested 4 documents and/or plats. I haven’t gotten past the first 3 because I have discovered a whole area of research that hasn’t been discussed in my world. I am anxious to get back on track, but these people are pulling at me.

Take Sarah Smith. There is an early plat where John Smith deeds 100 acres to Sarah Smith.

South Carolina

Pursuant to an Order of Council to me directed Dated this day XXX hereby Certify for Sarah Smith a Tract of (Svrd for her the 28th of Augt 1769) Containing One Hundred Acres Situate near Black Swamp Bounded So ward by John Smith’s Land, all other sides by vacant Land, and hath such shape, form and marks as above Plat represents.

Given under my Hand this 5th Day of Jany, 1770.

John Bremar

D. Sur. Genl.

John Linder

Dep. Survr

In the Georgia Gazette, Savannah, Georgia, on January 18, 1781, the newspaper announced the marriage of Sarah Smith for Major James Wright. That explains the relationship regarding the land survey.

SmithJohnAndSarah Royal_Georgia_Gazette_1781-01-18_[3]


Sir James Wright isn’t just anybody. Google him. (Insert lilypad for stability.)

Once I had established that I should also be looking for John Smith in Georgia, there were lots of lilypads to leap onto. He had other children. He died in 1793.

Let’s jump back to Sarah Smith Wright, who died in Little Ealing, County of Middlesex, near London, England. Why is she in Britain, you ask? Because she married a Loyalist.

If you are a slave researcher, you can trace the slaves that she inherited from her mother Elizabeth Williamson Smith on through her will to other family members.

WrightSarahSmith Will P1

Little Ealing — 

County of Middlesex 

In the name of God Amen I Sarah Wright Wife of Sir James Wright Baronet of LIttle Ealing & County aforesaid being of sound mind and memory do make this my last Will and Testament. 

Imprimis after paying the Debts if any there are against my property — 

I give & bequeath to my nephew John McQueen of Georgia, North America, my Lot and Houses in Savannah bequeathed to me by my mother’s Will and likewise to the said John McQueen my part of Red Bluff left me by my mother — 

2dly I give to my Neice Margaret McQueen the following Slaves viz: Ishmael & Minty his Wife and Son Adam — 

3dly I give to my Neice Mary Anne Cowper the Slaves Diana and all her children likewise June and his Wife Hagar and their Children viz Jack Paul and Jacob their Daughter Tenah I shall hearafter mention 

4thly I give to my Neice Eliza Mackay, the Slave Jesse, son of June and Hagar. 

5thly and to Mary Anne Mackay My great Neice I give the Negro girl Tenah for her waiting maid. 

6thly I bequeath to my Neice Sarah Williamson the Slaves Joe and Jessey sons of Ishmael & Minty. The Silver Cup left me by my Mother I likewise give to her — 

And I desire before the Property is divided it shall furnish the Sum of fifty guineas for a Watch and likewise the Sum of Ten guineas /or a Seal I give to my Nephew James Wright 

WrightSarahSmith Will P2

As a small token of my affection for him 

I leave to my Friend Mrs Heron five guineas for a Mourning Ring. 

My own Watch I give to my Neice Catharine Bourke as her Sister has one – and to my Neice Elizabeth Bourke my gold chain and Locket with my Fathers & Mothers Hair in it 

All my other Toilets I leave to Mary Anne Cowper — 

To Mary Anne Mackay I give a Bible at 10 guineas value 

But in case these my Slaves are already Disposed of by my Attorney John McQueen which I gave him full power to do if he saw fit 

I do, then hereby give the value of each Slave before named – agreeable to the average sum they sold for viz. 

To Margaret McQueen I give the value of Two Slaves — 

To Sarah Williamson I give the value of Three Slaves 

To Eliza Mackay the value of one Slave and to Mary Anne Mackay the value of One slave 

To Mary Anne Cowper the value of the six Slaves left to her – making in all together the number of Thirteen Slaves mentioned in my Mother’s Will, except Diana and her Family which remains the same to her Mary Anne Cowper — 

In case of any Deficiency to supply these bequests to the value of one Salve less – that must be taken out of the number I left to Mary Anne Cowper from Hagars children. 

All the above mentioned property being bequeathed to me by my Mother’s Will under the restriction of leaving the same to some one or more of her own Family is the  

Reason of my not mentioning my Husband herein this my Last Will and Testament is made conforma There-to – Written with my own hand the year of our Lord one Thousand eight Hundred and Thirteen; the twenty sixth day of August – and I do here by nominate and appoint John McQueen Esqr of Georgia North America my sole Executor of the same — 

Sarah Wright 



In the Court of Ordinary Chambers 

26 April 1816 

Present the honourable John P. Williamson & Oliver Sturges Justices of the Inferior Court 

Personally appeared Archibald Smith of Savannah merchant, when being duly sworn saith he is well acquainted with the hand writing of Lady Wright decd who has signed the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be her will, having frequently saw her write and been for many years a correspondent with her – that the said instrument purporting to be the will of the said Sarah Wright is in her own hand writing & the signature “Sarah Wright” thereto subscribed is the proper hand writing & signature of the said Sarah Wright. 

Archd Smith 

Sworn in open Court 

26 April 1816 

Saml M Bond 

Clk Co Ordy  

WrightSarahSmith Will P3

May 1816 Appeared John McQueen Esquire one of the executors named in the will of Sarah Wright deceased and qualified as such by taking the required by law.

S M Bond

Clk Co Ordy

No. 114

Will of Mrs. Sarah Wright

Filed 25 March 1816.

Bond clk

Recorded Book

  1. folio 348.–


Researching this family has made me order 2 books. Y’all, I don’t order books. I downsize. I give away. I recycle. I reuse. I blog and archive old photos and documents.

But now?? This family is making me achieve a new FAN level of lilypad behavior.

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4 Responses to “Sarah Smith Wright of Georgia, South Carolina, and Britain”

  1. Teri Lowery Says:

    When I was reading the newspaper article, I thought there were typos until I remembered German had an S (double S) that resembled an F without the cross. I knew about lily pad jumping, but not by that name. Last, but not least, I have several Williamson’s in my paternal Phillips ancestors around Soperton. I know it’s a fairly common name, but now I want to look in my family tree for “my” Elizabeth Williamson and check the dates of her birth and death. Thank you for the helping hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maureen Says:

    Always amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. GP Cox Says:

    If you ever come across a Clarence Smith around 1914, please let me know?

    Liked by 1 person

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