My Family’s American Story by Andrew Smithwick

One City, One Story 2015 “Tell Your Story” Contest

Category:  Grade 3-5

3rd place

My Family’s American Story

by Andrew Smithwick, Grade 5


My name is Hugh Henry Smithwick. It is the year 1642 and we are setting sail on the Good Ship Globe from England. I am traveling with 15 other men to Virginia in the American colonies. We are each going to set up 750 acres of land for lumber plantations under Mr. William Eyres’ command. We’re going to sell the lumber back to England and get rick. I am very eager to start.

It is the year 1663. I have been in America for many years now, operating the plantation. It is nice, but I plan to explore the northeastern area. It looks like there is good land there for growing crops such as tobacco. hopefully it will be a good home for my wife and nine children. We are planning on colonizing this area. They are seeking a land grant from King Charles II. They plan to call it the “Province of Carolina”. We will be the first European settlers there.

It is the year 1669 now. I have been buying and trading land. I also help people come to America in exchange for part of their land. I now have over 17,000 acres of land here in the Carolinas. My son Edward has land , too, and has given one acre to build the first church in the Carolinas here. This place called America is a really great place. I am happy to be here.

It is the year 1781. My name is Edmund Edward Smithwick. We still live in North Carolina like the many generations of Smithwicks. We are fighting in the Revolutionary War. We believe that North Carolina and the other colonies should be independent from England. Even granddad Bennett, who is 100 years old, knocked a man down for yelling “Hurrah for King George”. My brother died this January fighting at the Battle of Cowpens against the British Red Coats in South Carolina. It was sad, but it was a turning point in the War of South and led to the victory in Yorktown. We have fought for independence for our United States of America, and we stuck to it. I think this new country will be a world of freedom for our future generations.

It is the year 1945. My name is Master Sergeant Thomas G. Smithwick of the Signal Corps, Company C. First Signal Battalion in General Patton’s 7th Army. I am “somewhere in German” fighting for the United States of America and the Allies against Germany and the Axis. I have been away from home and my wife and two children for 29 months, serving in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Alsace, and Germany. My wire teams lay down communication lines between the front lines and our army headquarters through enemy mine field an under constant enemy fire. Because we always carry through to a successful completion, I was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal for leadership and devotion to duty. We have a job to do: defending the freedom, justice, and prize of the United States and intend to do it as quickly as possible, so we may soon be sailing home.

It is the year 2015. My name is Andrew Smithwick. I am the 14th generation of Smithwick in America. My ancestors came to America for its great opportunity. They settled in the country, then fought and struggled for its independence and freedom, believing that they and other people could live the American dream. I, in return, shall work to continue my family’s and others’ dedication to America.



To view a list of all the winners, see:

Jane Gov

Jane is a Youth Services Librarian at Pasadena Central Library. She purchases YA books for the library system and maintains the teen booklist, online resources, and webpages. She oversees Teen & YA programs including Summer Reading, Advisory Board, Zine, book reviewers, Teen Mental Health Initiative, and volunteers. She also coordinates the library's Innovation Lab, STEAM Kits project, and Young Readers League. She also conducts a few kids events and storytimes. Jane is a contributor to VOYA Magazine and a YALSA Board member.  A majority of her free time is spent with her two corgis Tyrion and Gimli. She tweets as @missjanegov.

One thought on “My Family’s American Story by Andrew Smithwick

  • October 28, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Dear Andrew Smithwick,

    Today, October 27, 2017, I found your biography of the Smithwick family, which you wrote two years ago. I was searching for information about the Smithwick family, as I am also a descendent! In fact, my mother owned part of the original family farm property in Edenton, NC, until she sold it in 2016! The Smithwick family also donated the land upon which the first Episcopal church in NC was built. There was also a ladies Edenton Tea Party protest held there (similar to the Boston Tea Party)! I just started working on my family tree on the website this week. My name is Matilda Jacquelyn Turner Nelson, and my great grandmother, Joel D. Smithwick (named after her father), was the last Smithwick in my branch of the family.
    I want to tell you how I got my unusual name (yes, like the movie, “Matilda,” I loved it!). My great great grandmother’s name was Matilda Gibson, and she named a daughter Matilda Smithwick, her sister was Joel. Joel got married to John Mayo, and they named their daughter, Matilda Mayo. Then Matilda Mayo and Dr J R Vann had a girl they named her Matilda June Vann, and then I came along, and I was named Matilda Turner. I live in Maryland.
    I have one other awesome thing to tell you: my husband, Robert Edwin Nelson’s anscestor was General Thomas Nelson, Jr, who was a general in the Revolutionary Army, the third governor of Virginia (right after Thomas Jefferson), AND HE SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE! I really hope that someone will give you my messages soon. Sincerely, Matilda Nelson


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