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Individual Record
Smith, Jesse Bishop
Age: 0, credited to Strafford, VT
Unit(s): USN
Service: MIDS, USN, 7/64; steamer Gettysburg, North Atlantic Squadron, 69; steamer Alaska, Asiatic Squadron, 71 [College: NU 68]

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

Birth: 08/06/1846, Strafford, VT
Death: 11/19/1874

Burial: Strafford Cemetery, Strafford, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Bob Hackett
Findagrave Memorial #: 138580000
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Gibson Collection
College?: NU 65?
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(State digraphs will show that this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldier's home)

Remarks: None

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Strafford Cemetery, Strafford, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.

(Gibson Collection)


Jesse Bishop Smith (6 Aug 1846 -- 19 Nov 1874), born in Strafford, son of Burleigh Hunt and Julia Ann (Bishop) Smith.

He attended school in Strafford, and prepared for college in Montpelier. He entered Norwich University in 1862, and remained two years. In 1870, the school awarded him a B.S., back-dating his degree to the year he would have graduated.

Smith was appointed Midshipman on 28 July 1864, graduating from the Naval Academy in June 1868. He was promoted to Ensign on 19 April 1869, and served on Gettysburg, North Atlantic Squadron that year. Ordered to Signal duty in Washington in early 1870, probably for training, then joined Alaska when she left New York in April, bound for the Asiatic Squadron. While on this cruise, he was promoted to Master on 12 July 1870. Alaska steamed independently in the Far East until May 1870, when she met the squadron in Nagasaki, Japan.

Led by Rear Admiral John Rodgers' flagship, Colorado, the squadron sailed from Nagasaki in Mid-May 1871, and on the 19th, "arrived at the mouth of the Han river, Korea, to open the country to trade and to assure protection for Americans." On 1 June, a Korean fort fired on a survey party from two of the ships. In retaliation, on 10 and 11 June, a landing party of 650 sailors and marines attacked five forts on the Salee River, ending any chance of a treaty. Another Vermonter, Surgeon Charles Wells (q.v.), was attached to Colorado during the expedition. Alaska returned to New York in late 1872.

Smith was promoted to Lieutenant on 25 November 1872, and died of consumption brought on by "exposure during the Corean campaign," at Strafford two years later; interment in Strafford Cemetery.

Smith was a Mason, a member of the Masonic Lodge of Stafford, and the Celestial Lodge, of Shanghai, China.

Smith married Georgiana Louisa Fitts, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, on 7 March 1870. Georgiana filed for and was granted a Widows' Pension to date from her first husband's death. Georgiana married Horace G. Howes, of Boston, on 20 March 1893, and lost her pension. Hawes died on 20 July 1905. In 1917 she filed for a Widows' Pension again, but the application was rejected, due to the fact that the newly revised 1916 law required at least 90 days of active service during the Civil War. As a midshipman at the Naval Academy, his only active service was on a practice cruise on Marion in 1865, and was only credited with two months and 25 days of sea service, according to Naval Academy records.

(Peck; Callahan; Cooney, 170; Ellis & Dodge, 2:725-726; Ellery Bicknell Crane, Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts, (Lewis Publishing Co., New York, 1907), 334; 1865, 1868, 1870 Navy Register; Argus and Patriot, 3 Dec 1874, 1890 Census; Widows- Pension #2151)