- H. James Henderson
Smith, Meriwether (1730–24 January 1794), revolutionary patriot, legislator, and congressman, was born at “Bathurst,” Essex County, Virginia, the son of Francis Smith, a planter and legislator, and Lucy Meriwether. He was born into the elite of Virginia on both sides of his family. His maternal grandfather, Launcelot Bathurst, was a patentee of nearly 8,000 acres of land in New Kent County, while his father, who mentioned sixty-three slaves in his will, was a vestryman and justice of the peace and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses from Essex four times (1752–1758). Meriwether Smith followed this tradition of political involvement just as Virginia was assuming a leading role in the movement toward the Revolution. About 1760 he married Alice Lee Clarke; they had two children before Alice died. A signer of the Westmoreland Association against the Stamp Act in 1766, Smith was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses from Essex in 1768 and in 1769 was a member of the illegal assembly of burgesses at Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg that framed the association with other colonies to boycott British imports. In 1769 he married Elizabeth Daingerfield; they had two children....