England, 1831. The year that saw the opening of the London Bridge, creation of the Royal Astronomical Society, the coronation of King William IV, the scientific demonstrations of the brilliant Michael Faraday, the departure of Charles Darwin for the Galapagos, and the birth of the also brilliant James Clerk Maxwell. But all that pales in comparison to the event that occurred on January 11.
It was that day that Henry Tilbe Smith was born to Charles and Ann Smith in the English village of Aldington in the county of Kent. He was their first child.
Three months later, on April 30, little Henry was christened in the local Aldington church, St. Martin’s. By 1841, he had a sister, Ellen Ann.
In 1851, at age 20, Henry boarded the Italy at Liverpool for the trip to America. The trip to Liverpool was enough in itself for a village boy such as Henry. Liverpool stood at the other side of the country.
The Italy made another stop at Queenstown, Ireland, another new sight for Henry, before coming to New York.
From New York, he made his way to Rock Creek, Ohio, in Ashtabula County. There he met Frances Elizabeth Wilbur and they married in 1852. They soon moved to nearby Saybrook. There Henry became father to five children: Henrietta Ann, Mary Elizabeth, Charles Anson, Katherine Bell, and Frederick Henry.
Henry spent his years in America farming with his sons Charles and Frederick to help until they got their own farms nearby.
The last few years of his life Henry suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which we can probably blame on his diet which was high in fats. This caused his arteries to clog and blood to flow slowly, which probably led to some confusion as the blood wasn’t getting to his brain. When he worked he probably had tight pains in his chest and couldn’t catch his breath no matter how hard he tried. On September 18, in the early hours of the morning, Henry’s heart simply gave out.