BIOGRAPHY OF THOMAS INGLES SMITH
Thomas I. Smith was among the first settlers of Corsicana and donated to the Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian and Methodist churches a half block of land each which was to be used in erecting houses of worship. Cumberland Presbyterians built on their lot first after having used the old academy and court house for two or three years. Funds were subscribed by all the denominations with the understanding that the church was to be used alternately and the Sunday School was to be attended by all faiths. This arrangement worked out to the satisfaction of all concerned, and when the Civil War came on sewing and knitting was done here for the soldiers.
Thos. I. Smith came to Navarro County the year before it was organized and later married Mary Louisa Neil, a widowed1 daughter of J. L. Bartlett2 who made his home at Taos3 for some years. A little son of Thomas I. Smith, who died, was buried just north of the school, on what is now First Avenue in Corsicana and his grave has been located by William Elliott, county surveyor.
Thos. I. Smith was a Texas Ranger in command of a company and helped to protect the frontier from Indians and also helped survey many of the tracts of land in Navarro County. He died in Austin and Mrs. Smith later married C. M. Winkler, a young lawyer of Corsicana. Two daughters were born of this latter union, one of whom became the wife of Judge Sam R. Frost.
*History of Navarro County (Dallas, Tex.: Southwest Press, 1933), pp. 252-53.
Notes by Roger Bartlett:
1. She was not a widow when she married Thomas I. Smith, as she and her first husband, John C. Neill, had been divorced by an act of the Texas Congress in 1842. Harriet Smither, ed., Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1841-1842, vol. III (Austin, Tex.: Capital Printing Co., Inc., 1945), pp. 507-8 (stating that "the bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between J. C. Neal and Louisa Neal . . . be, and the same are hereby dissolved, and the . . . parties are left free to act and contract for themselves, as though they had never been married" by an act of the Congress of the Republic of Texas approved by President Sam Houston on 23 Jul 1842).
2. Her father was Jesse Bartlett, but he had died in 1838, before the extended family moved from Washington County, Texas to Navarro County. The reference probably is to J. C. Bartlett, a brother of Louisa's who lived at Taos for several years.
3. Taos was also known as Porter's Bluff.