James W. C. Smith, 1837-1897

James W. C. Smith

1837-1897


Capt. James Washington Clark Smith
James William Clark Smith was born April 24, 1837 in Newburg, Franklin County, AL. His parents were Rev. James Smith and Nancy Mullins Smith. He was grandson of two Revolutionary War solders: Mathew Simpson Smith and William Thomas Mullins.

He enlisted in the Alabama 16th Infantry at Tuscumbia, AL on July 15, 1861. It appears that he was enlisted as a 1st Lieutenant at the age of 24. He was promoted to the rank of Captain on August 15, 1861 and became Commander of Co. H, 16th Ala. Infantry. Military records indicate that he was commissioned on October 3, 1861 for three years. In December 1861, he was stationed at Camp Beech.

Smith was in the Cleveland train wreck sustaining known injuries to his face and head. Following his recovery, he rejoined his command April 2, 1864, He retired August 1, 1864.

He married Elizabeth Caroline Knight on Feb. 24, 1863. She was great granddaughter of Thomas Graves Coffee, who was older brother of Gen. John Coffee of TN. and AL. They were the parents of 9 children.

On May 15, 1887, James W. C. Smith began a long struggle to obtain a military pension for his service to the Confederacy.  At that time he was living in Franklin County, AL. A second application was filed on May 11, 1889; a third on May 30, 1891; a fourth on April 29, 1892; a fifth on April 3, 1893; a sixth on May 10, 1894.  His application was finally approved on June 10, 1895.

From application for relief by blind soldiers, user act approved Feb. 13, 1887:

"Personally appeared before me, J. M. Jordan, Judge of Probate in and for said County, Capt. J. W. C. Smith who, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that when a Captain in company H of the 16th Ala., Regiment of the Infantry and while in discharge of his duty on the 4th day of November 1862, at or near Cleveland, Tenn., in the state of Tennessee he was in a rail road wreck on the East Tenn. & Georgia branch road, while the army was in transit from Knoxville to Murphresboro, Tenn. received injuries and that the consequences of which wound received or disease contracted in said service he lost his sight; that he was a resident of Alabama on the 13th day of February, 1891, and is a resident at the date of this application; that he does not own taxable property of the unencumbered value of $1000 or gross income or salary over the sum of $1000 per year."

John William Clark Smith died August 12, 1897 and is buried at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church cemetery. The church was founded by his father, Rev. James Smith, in 1824 on the corner of his farm. The congregation still meets every Sunday.

This information provided by Betty Moss.

More Links Reference This Event

The Killed On The Railroad - Nov. 7, 1862

Monument, Unveiled, Dedicated - Nov 4, 1989

PVT. Marvin Wheeler's Story of the Wreck

History of the 33rd Ala Inf, CSA

33rd Ala Vol Soldiers From Butler County

Destitute Families of the 33rd Ala Vol

33rd Ala Vol Soldiers Buried in Oakland Cemetery

Soldiers of Co. A 1st Bn, Ala Artillery

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