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Slave census records show that , by 1860 John Smyre Jr owned only one slave, a male in the same age range as my third great grandfather James Henry Johnson.Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned about my fifth great grandfather Johannes Schmeirer Sr.(1785–1877), who was the son of a German immigrant Johannes Schmeirer Sr.(1740–1846) and his German American wife Utilla Bost (1764–1831) of Lincoln County, North Carolina. My family has generated hundreds of DNA matches across the descendants of the Smyre children.Additionally, my cousin who is a direct paternal descendant of James Henry Johnson, shares the Smyre paternal haplotype of J-M172.Location offers clues on which of Johannes and Utilla’s six sons was more than likely James Henry Johnson’s father.I feel like I’ve challenged them to confront the truth that the Smyres were slave owners.
Through research I’ve been able to determine that James Henry Johnson’s father was likely a man named John Smyre Jr.
Gumbel’s reflections in particular, struck close to home for me.
I remember a few years back enjoying a guys night out over cigars and dark liquor.
He was a land owner, farmer, mill operator, logger, woodworker and merchant, among other things, who lived to age 106. Connecting with my Smyre descended DNA matches and their family members has enriched my life. From a research perspective they’ve been extremely helpful and supportive in sharing family documents, resources and thoughts with me as I have searched for any and all possible references to my enslaved third great grandfather James Henry Johnson.
We’ve also had some very open and honest conversations on a range of topics.A few hours and about 5 debates into our fellowship, in the midst of a 6th debate, an acquaintance decided to declare to me in rebuttal, “Andre, you are a Bryant Gumbel type.” I became angry.