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The Civil War in Florida

S530 Surnames

Surnames sharing this Soundex Code:


Smith, James L.

b. Oct. 1821 Arbroath, County of Forfar, Scotland
d. Nov. 11, 1921 b. Greenwood Cemetery, Panama City, Florida

C.S. Navy - Blockade Runner


James L. Smith was born in October, 1821, and died November 11th, 1921, thus rounding out a whole century. He was born in or near Arbroath, County of Forfar, Scotland, about twelve miles from where the narrator, Judge Sturrock, was born, who conducted his funeral obsequies on Saturday last, burial being in Greenwood cemetery.

Born of humble parentage, he grew to boyhood, getting an education suited to his conditions in life, and left home, taking a liking to the sea, going to the Port of Dundee, where he was apprenticed to a ship captain bound for the East Indies, and sailed with him until he reached early manhood, visiting various countries in the far East, finally returning to to London, and while lying there was, with five others of the ship's crew, taken by the Press Gang and placed on board a warship of the British navy, one of the old oaken ships, such as Nelson had at Trafalga, cruising where ever required, returning to London in 1852, where he was in the naval seaport attending the funeral of the great Duke of Wellington in June of that year.

On the breaking out of the Russian war, in 1854, his ship was ordered to the Black Sea and stationed in front of Constantinople, remaining in that vicinity until the fall of Sebastapol in 1855, which ended the Crimean war. By this time he had attained the rank of quartermaster, about as high as one who had risen from the ranks could attain then.

In 1857 the great Sepoy mutiny broke out in India, and his ship was ordered there, where he saw and endured bitter warfare. He was present at Lucknew, when it fell, and the mysterious disappearance of Nina Sahib ended the war. This ship returned to England, where he was honorably discharged. Learning that all his relatives had passed away, or disappeared, he went to Liverpool and shipped in a vessel bound for the West Indies, where he remained until the outbreak of the Civil War in America, when his love of adventure prompted him to become a blockade runner in the Gulf of Mexico, where he had several adventures, but passed through without any bodily harm. At the close of this war he returned to the West Indies, and while there a tropical hurricane came on, with a tidal breaking on his island home, washing way all his belongings, including his trunk, containing his war medals that had been given him by the British and French governments for valuable services, much to his regret, and a great financial loss. Soon after this time he came to Florida, moving from place to place, finally settling on St. Andrew Bay.

He was independent to a marked degree, would accept no favors unless he paid for them, attending to his own affairs and troubling none of his neighbors. With religious matters he had ver little to do, wandering as he did, all over the world, had little opportunity. He had great faith in and love of the poet, Burns, believing as he did that it is the man and not his belongings that count- "That a man's a man for a'that."

He was married here many years ago, and is survived by his wife, his only known relative. He retained his faculties to the end, also his eyesight, which had never failed him, a rather remarkable condition for a centenarian. His home place was his delight; and was kept marvelously clear of all but the growing vegetables, which he raised in profusion for home and market. Mr. Smith was always well thought of by his neighbors, and our citizens, who tender his wife their sympathy. Judge J. Sturrock.

    "PANAMA CITY PILOT", Panama City, Florida, November 17, 1921