Barak Smith

(aka) Barek Smith


Born: Aft Mar 1787 in Danby, Rutland County, Vermont, USA

Died: 22 Mar 1868 in Iowa, USA

Father: Nathan Smith (c. 1753 – 1824)

Mother: Elizabeth Rogers (c. 1767 – 1817)

Family #1

Spouse/Partner: Mary Palmer (1788 – 1875)

Married: 1808 in Vermont, USA

Child: Gilbert Palmer Smith (1812 – 1900)

Child: Ebenezer R. Smith (c. 1829 – )

Child: Deborah Smith (c. 1831 – )


Barak was a member of the Society of Friends, and was probably a carpenter for most of his life.

In 1840, Barak was probably living in Collins (Erie County, NY). By 1850, the household consisted of Barak, Mary, Ebenezer and Deborah and they were still in Collins. Also living with them was 21 year-old David W. White.

Around 1854, Barak and Mary had moved to Cedar County, IA, where they were joined by Ebenezer about a year later. Both Barak and Ebenezer were farmers in Iowa.

Change Date

This data was last changed on 8 Feb 2009, and is stored in datafile B.

Primary and Secondary Sources

(see About Sources)

1840 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule)
National Archives and Records Administration. [applies to name, notes]
1850 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule)
National Archives and Records Administration. [applies to name, birth, notes]
1856 Iowa State Census
[applies to name, birth]
Ancestor Chart of George E. Spear
by Michael Englemann; [applies to birth, death, marriage]
Palmer Families in America
by Hon. Horace Wilbur Palmer, Ph.B., LL.B.; Neshanic, N.J.: Neshanic Print. Co., 1966. [applies to alias]
The History and Map of Danby, Vermont
by J.C. Williams; Rutland, Vt.: Printed by McLean & Robbins, 1869. [applies to name, alias, birth, death, marriage]

Research Notes (source comments, unreliable information)

I have seen references spell his name as Bareck, but I don't know if these are historically accurate (i.e., if Barak ever used that spelling).

Barak was probably married in Danby (Rutland County, VT), possibly on 1 Sep.

Some (unreliable) references add other children, all born in Danby: Oprah (b. 6 Oct 1809, d. 12 Jul 1866), Nathan (b. 8 Feb 1811, d. 15 Jan 1866), Daniel Chickering (b. 25 Oct 1814, d. 1899), Joseph Addison (6 May 1817, d 1 Mar 1872), and Elizabeth (b. 25 Jun 1820, d. Nov 1900). This makes sense given the large difference between the marriage and Gilbert's birth, and especially between Gilbert and Ebenezer. This may also be born out, at least in part, by pre-1850 U.S. Census records, but these do not identify any individual other than the head of household, and thus provide additional evidence but no proof. More substantive references will need to be found.

In 1856, Barak and Mary were living with in IA with son Ebenezer (and his wife Caroline?) and another unknown person, George Nogus(?) (a 45) who is identified as a farmer. (Hired hand?)

He may have died in Springdale, Cedar County, IA with his son in 1853. Possible burial in Hickory Grove Cemetary, IA.

At the time of the Hicksite schism, it appears that Barak remained "orthodox," while his wife Mary aligned with the Hicksites. According to one family story, Barak hid Mary's shoes, thinking to prevent her from attending service. However, Mary was not to be turned from her purpose and appeared at the meeting house in stocking feet. (From the essay "By the Old Mill Stream" by Carlotta Wood and Nora Johnson Brown, 21 Feb 1935. Carlotta and Nora were two of the three writers who wrote the "ALNORCA" series in the 1930s: Alice Stewart being the AL, Nora being the NOR, and Carlotta being the CA. At least one reviewer considers these women to be very accurate and well researched in their presentation of history, but I have no independent confirmation as of yet.)

I have found several references (all unreliable, unfortunately) referring to Barak as an abolitionist, possibly of some renown. This is reasonable considering his Quaker beliefs. One source stated that Barak's (home?) at the corner of Jennings and Conger Road (in Collins?) was a station on the underground railroad. Reference was also made to the Taft home on Vail Road (also in Collins?), but I don't know the connection.