Family Biographies

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Archibald Smith (1801-1886)
Archibald Smith was one of the founding fathers of the town of Roswell. He was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1801, and married his cousin, Anne Magill in St. Marys, Georgia, in 1830. In 1838, after facing financial difficulty with two plantations along the coast, Archibald brought his family and 30 slaves to the Georgia frontier. Archibald was a staunch Presbyterian whose strict religious beliefs are reflected in the plain-style home that he built a mile from the town square. He was the only member of the founding families of the colony to remain a farmer. The cotton grown on Archibald’s plantation was used by the Roswell Manufacturing Company to produce Roswell Grey for the Confederate Army. Archibald Smith died in Roswell on January 3, 1886.

Anne Smith (1807-1887)
Eldest child of Charles Arthur Magill (1782-1854) and Elizabeth Zubly (1784-1736), Anne was born in St. Mary’s, Georgia, in 1807. She married her first cousin, Archibald Smith (1801-86) in St. Marys in 1830 at the age of 23. While still living along the Georgia coast, Anne gave birth to three children: Elizabeth Anne (1831-1915), Archibald John (1833-1836), and William Seagrove (1834-1865). Her first son, Archibald John, died from malaria at the age of three. After the family moved to Roswell, Anne had two more children, Helen Zubly (1841-1896) and Archibald “Archie” (1844-1923). Archie described his mother as “…heroic and tragic in mind and body. She was quiet and even tempered, calm and deep, but rather cold on the surface. She inspired confidence and respect rather than affection. She was ever kind and self-controlled but never merry. She felt and suffered deeply but would not wink an eye.”

William Seagrove Smith (1834-1865)
William "Willie" Smith, son of Archibald and Anne Smith, was born in St. Marys, Georgia, in 1834. He attended Oglethorpe University and explored careers in business and education before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He enlisted as a member of the Signal Corps and was stationed near Savannah throughout the War. In anticipation of Sherman taking control of Savannah, Willie, sent his trunk to his family because he was unable to transport his personal belongings during the Confederate retreat. Willie lost his life to disease after the long march, two weeks after the Civil War ended. The trunk was placed in the attic of the Smith Plantation where it was discovered 120 years later. Arthur Skinner, one of the inheritors of the Smith estate, found the trunk in the attic in 1987, still containing personal items such as letters to William from 1856 to Nov. 5, 1864, and clothing. Arthur and his brother, Dr. Lister Skinner, cataloged the letters into a book, “The Death of a Confederate,” available for purchase at the Smith Plantation.

Arthur William Smith (1881-1960)
Arthur Smith was the grandson of Archibald and Anne Smith. He attended the Citadel and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1902. Arthur then went to Paris to study architecture at Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1907 to 1909. After returning to the United States, Arthur worked as an architect on projects such as Atlanta City Hall and the Supreme Court buildings of Florida and North Carolina. Arthur married Mary Norvell in December of 1940, when he was 60 years old. The couple renovated Arthur’s ancestral home to use in the summer. They added indoor plumbing, wallpaper, electricity, and an indoor kitchen in the 1940s. Arthur and Mary also raised the roof of the front porch and added the tall, square columns.

Mary Norvell Smith (1890-1981)
Mary Smith was one of five children born to Thomas and Josephine Norvell. She married Arthur William Smith in 1940 at the age of 50 and had a large impact on the current style of the Smith Plantation Home. Mary graduated from Emory University in 1932 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree, and in 1936 she earned a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. Mary was an elementary school teacher with the R.L. Hope and Luckie Street schools in the Atlanta School System. Arthur and Mary traveled throughout Europe, and Mary refurbished the Smith Family home with many of her antique purchases from abroad. Mary died on New Year’s Day 1981 and left the Smith Plantation Home to her niece, Josephine Skinner.