Smullen Ancestors

Little is known about the origin of the Smith/Smullen ancestors. In fact Popie (Stanley B. Jr.) talked to the arch-bishop and they believe the name originated in Ireland. However Nana Smullen likes to believe it is all English.

     Cornelius Smith (1787-1867) and Elizabeth L. Walters (1790-1861)

"Neutral America for years had fattened on trade with the Britain of George III and France of Napoleon, locked in a life-and-death struggle. In 1806 the feast was over. The belligerents blockaded each other's ports and seized our ships. The Royal Navy, hard put to man Britain's first line of defense, stopped U.S. merchants at sea, searched them for deserters, and impressed crew members.  England's frigates even patrolled off New York and Boston. When in June of 1807 the new  U.S. frigate Chesapeake, guns still unmounted, put to sea from Norfolk, Virginia, she was immediately hailed by a British warship - four deserters might be aboard; kindly muster your crew. The Americans politely refused. Where upon the British opened fire, boarded, and dragged off four men. Three claimed to be U.S. citizens who had previously been impressed into the Royal Navy." The south and west insisted on war; meanwhile the conservative east wanted no part of it. On June 18, 1812, President Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain, the document of a bitterly divided congress. The nation, unready for war, found itself in a war insisted on by the south and west in defense of the North and East, which didn't want to be defended.


Cornelius Smith was born in 1787 somewhere in Holland. Sometime before or after the War of 1812 he immigrated from Holland to Philadelphia or Montgomery County in Pennsylvania.  Nothing is known as to why he came and what he did when he got here. Nothing is known as to what his involvement was with the War of 1812. However, Cornelius Smith was captured during the war and held prisoner in Dartmoore Prison.

Dartmoore is a rocky plateau covering about 350 square miles in south Devonshire, England. Dartmoore Prison, scene of the Dartmoore Massacre, is at Prince Town. In the massacre, the British killed 7 and wounded 50 American prisoners of the War of 1812 as they tried to escape. One of Cornelius' heirlooms is a large print showing a black and white sketch of the Dartmoore Prison. [I believe your father, S.B.Smullen III has the print].

Cornelius Smith married Elizabeth L. Walters (1790-1861), of Philadelphia  on 13 October 1816.  Two photographs of both Cornelius and Elizabeth were obtained form "Aunt Marian". Cornelius appears to be a slender, under nourished, chap with big hands. While Elizabeth seems rather attractive in her younger days. The photograph of Cornelius in his elder years seems no different than when his was young. While Elizabeth's photographs indicated she did not age well. The photographs of the elder Cornelius and Elizabeth Smith were  photographed by T.H. Newcommer, 508 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Obviously the couple lived in or near center Philadelphia. 

Shortly after they were married, Elizabeth gave birth to twin girls, Catherine and Maria, on 22 July 1817. Sadly to say they died one month later. This did not discourage them; they proceeded to have seven other children during the years of 1818 and 1833.

Elizabeth was forty-three years old when she gave birth to Benjamin Franklin Smith; Cornelius was nine-nine. The Smith family now consisted seven children, five boys and two girls, ranging from a fifteen year old boy to a baby boy.  Mary Ann and Elizabeth were eleven and twelve years old and must have been somewhat of a help. Cornelia Franks Smith was only eight years old, while her oldest brother was fifteen. Remember, Elizabeth was twenty-six years old when she married.

  Cornelia Franks Smith (1825-1901 ) and William Smullen (1821-1860)

At the age of nineteen, Cornelia Franks Smith married William Smullen on 28 January 1844. [We really don't know where William came from, but we assume he lived in Philadelphia.] The photographs of William Smullen and Cornelia Smith, obtained from "Aunt Marion" were probably taken at the time of their marriage. William appears to be a dapper twenty-three year old; while Cornelia appears as an innocent nineteen year old. The other photograph of Cornelia, taken by Draper, Photographic Portraits, 1313&1315 Columbia Avenue, Philadelphia, PA., pictures her as a stern but sensitive, middle-aged woman. Cornelia and William had six children. Their children were:

Photographs of all the Smith/Smullen children were obtained from "Aunt Marian". The photographs show the children as little miniatures of their parents... they look so old as children! The twins', James and Frank, photograph at a young age appear to be the same picture. However the photograph showing them at about 5-8 years of age seem to be different children. Pictures of William Smith Smullen and his children depict him as an extremely disdiquished gentleman.

Apparently the twins were more than William could bear. William died in 1860. Cornelia, at the age of 49, remarried to Henry Lutz in 1864.  She gave birth to Henry's child, Henry C. S. Lutz, in 1865. [lets guess that the C.S. stood for Cornelius Smith]

A double wedding must have been held!  James and Frank both married Edward and Louisa Wills' daughters. on 6 April 1879, Frank Joshua Woolston Smullen married Susan Wills and James Herbert Dexter Smullen married Sara Ann Wills. Sara and Susan Wills were the daughters of  Edward James Wills and Lousia Welma Johnston VanStone, both from England.  Photographs show Sara and Susan as rather pleasant and attractive young ladies for their time... but look out for the mother-in-law, Lousia Welmer Johnston VanStone. [Who could be pleasant with a name like that!] The photographs were all taken by Philadelphian photographer, which indicated the families lived in Philadelphia, PA.

  Frank and Susan Smullen had two children: Bernice Smullen was born in 1884 and Roy W. Smullen was born in 1886. Frank died in 1901 at the early age of 45. Susan lived on into the twentieth century,  died in 1940.


        James Herbert Dexter Smullen (1856-1914)

James Herbert Dexter Smullen apparently remained in Philadelphia while he twin brother, Frank  Joshua Woolston Smullen, went west. It is said that Frank rode shot-gun on the stage-coach west. However their are photographs of his children, Bernice Smullen born 1884 and Roy W. Smullen born 1886, which were taken by a Philadelphia photographer. Maybe he didn't ride west until after 1886.  There are no photographs of Frank; however there are several of James taken as a young man through his elderly years. Likewise there are photographs and pictures of his wife, Sarah Wills Smullen, from her years as a mother  until her "golden" years. James and Sara had four children: