Thomas Smith

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Thomas Smith and his family first came to Monroe County from South Carolina in 1826. He traveled with fellow members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church who were deeply opposed to slavery and who wanted greater educational opportunities. He bought land just east of Bloomington, including the tract where Covenanter Cemetery is now located. Thomas married Jane Curry and had five sons and three daughters. Their sons included James Cameron Smith and Renwick Cargill Smith.

In the 1830s when the Indiana State Legislature suggested moving the state seminary to Indianapolis, the Smiths contributed $500 to keep it in Bloomington.

The Smith family was very active in the Underground Railroad. Their house was one of two Bloomington stations on the Railroad, hiding escaped African-Americans who'd been kept as slaves in the South and secretly helping them move farther north. The Smith boys were usually the conductors on the Railroad. They would cart a large load of hay to the John Cathcart farm in Morgantown to sell it, with the African-Americans hidden under the hay.

When the Civil War broke out, both James Cameron Smith and Renwick Cargill Smith joined the Union army, with Renwick serving as an officer. When the war was over, Renwick farmed and worked as a building contractor and in the limestone business. James Cameron Smith married Mary Jane Cathcart and they had nine children. One descendant, Henry Lester Smith, served as dean of the IU School of Education for many years. James and Mary Jane owned the land which is now Renwick.

Today, the Thomas Smith House still stands on Pickwick Place, near the intersection of High Street with Moores Pike/Hillside Drive.