Mary HAIRSTON ID#1036, b. about 1770, d. 16 September 1822
Father*Capt. Robert HAIRSTON1,2 b. b 1724, d. b 2 Jun 1791
Mother*Ruth STOVALL b. a 1731, d. 3 Mar 1808
Birth*Mary HAIRSTON was born about 1770. 
She was the daughter of Capt. Robert HAIRSTON and Ruth STOVALL.1,2 
Marriage*Mary HAIRSTON married Gideon SMITH on 27 April 1784 in Henry County, Virginia. Security and witnesses were Obediah Bennet and John Loyd. Henry County Register of marriages, 1778-1849, Family History Library Film 31990.3 
Death Spouse*Her husband, Gideon Smith, died in July 1788.4 
WillIn Capt. Robert HAIRSTON's will dated 26 May 1790 in Franklin County, Virginia, Mary HAIRSTON.1,5 was named as an heir; It is interesting to note that Robert lists his sons, granddaughters and all but two daughters as "my beloved". However, he lists daughters Martha Hunter and Jenny Rentfro as "her daughters", indicating his wife Ruth.

Robert's daughter Sarah "Sally" Hairston, died before his will was written.

PDF transcript of Robert's 1790 will attached -->
Death*She died on 16 September 1822.2 
Probate*Her estate was probated on 3 September 1829 in Franklin County, Virginia.2 
Court Record*The sale of slaves by Mary Smith to Samuel Saunders in 1813-1815 was contested in the Franklin County Court in 1851. The court records mention that Mary Smith had two children named Gideon and Ruth and that Ruth married a man named Finney (both still living in 1847).

The Mary Smith vs. Samuel Saunders court case was about whether Mary Smith was sound of mind and able to make financial decisions when she sold the slaves she inherited from her father, Robert Hairston. It appears from most of the depositions that she was borderline capable of making financial decisions.

At a Circuit Court continued and held for Franklin County at the Courthouse on Thursday the 15th day of May 1857. Siting as a Court of Equity.
Present. The same Judge as on yesterday.

Joseph Peters Administrator of Mary Smith deceased          Plantiff
Samuel Saunders                              Defendant

     This court this day came on to be heard upon bill of the plaintiff, the answer of the defendant, the replication there to, the exhibits, the testimony of witnesses and was argued by counsel on consideration whereof the court doth adjudge order and decree that the plaintiffs bill be dismissed, and that he pay to defendant, and of the estate of his intestate, his costs expended in defending this suit.

Franklin County Virginia Chancery Court Order Book B 1851-1856, page 9, Family Search Film 008141193, Image 287. 


Gideon SMITH d. b Jul 1788
ChartsDescendant Chart
Descendant Chart Box

Sources (

  1. [S121] Will of Robert Hairston 26 May 1790, Franklin County, Virginia Will Book #1, pages 70-71. Family History Library Film #007644994, images 69-70. Inventory & Appraisel record February 1793. Will Book #1, pages 85-87, 1786-1812. Family History Library Film #007644994, images 77-78. Family Search, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  2. [S3511] Mary Hairston Smith vs Samuel Saunders, Franklin County Chancery Records, 1851-022, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
  3. [S3076] Virginia Marriage Records, From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly; Indexed by Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore 1984,
  4. [S3078] Wingfield, Marshall. An Old Virginia Court. Memphis, Tennessee, 1948 HATHI Trust -, Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  5. [S3131] Salmon, John S, and Emily J. Salmon. Franklin County, Virginia, 1786-1986: A Bicentennial History. Rocky Mount, Va: Franklin County Bicentennial Commission, 1993. Print., Personal Collection - printed book.
Last Edited16 Nov 2020