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Smith, Melancton (07 May 1744–29 July 1798), merchant, lawyer, and political leader, was born in Jamaica, Long Island (now Queens County, N.Y., and the Borough of Queens, New York City), the son of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Bayles, farmers. Schooled at home, at an early age he became a store clerk in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, then the most rapidly expanding region of the state. By the 1770s, known for his seriousness and wide reading, he had become a prosperous merchant and owner of many properties throughout the county (which included today’s Putnam County)....