Melancton Smith Photo

Melancton Smith

Death: Jul 29, 1798

Birthplace: New York

Nationality: United States

Melancton Smith

Date of Death : Jul 29, 1798
Birth Place : New York

Melancton Smith was a New York Delegate to the Continental Congress. His first name is sometimes spelled "Melanchthon"; it derives from Philipp Melanchthon, the leader in the Reformation. He was born in Jamaica, Long Island in New York and homeschooled by his parents. He was businessman in Poughkeepsie, New York and in 1769 he helped organize the Washington Hollow Presbyterian Church. He became a delegate to the first New York Provincial Congress in New York on May 22, 1775. He served in the Continental Line Regiment on June 30, 1775, which he organized as the Dutchess County Rangers. In 1777 and 1778. On Feb. 11, 1777, he became one of three members of a Dutchess County, New York commission for "inquiring into, detecting and defeating all conspiracies ... against the liberties of America;" he served for the next six months administering oaths of allegiance, arresting suspects, informing upon and examining Loyalists. While wielding this powerful civil and military authority, he was also serving as sheriff of Dutchess County. He extended his land holdings by purchasing some of the forfeited Loyalist estates. Smith moved to New York City in 1785 where he was a prominent merchant.

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