Harford History

January 14, 2007

"In memory of William Smithson, who departed this life January 17, 1809, aged 64 years."

This is the inscription on the tombstone once located in a family graveyard along the southeast border of Bel Air between the Fulford and Homestead farms. One of the signers of the Bush Declaration - Harford County's "Declaration of Independence" - Smithson was born in 1745 and built the Fernandis Homestead in Bel Air. The 1774 home was considered to "compare favorably with the best of our modern dwellings," by Walter Preston in 1901. He also owned property between Bel Air and Hickory.

When the new judiciary system was instituted in Harford County, Smithson became one of three judges for the Circuit Court. He had no children and upon his death the Homestead Farm was willed to his niece and nephew, Elizabeth and William Dorsey.

[Source: History of Harford County, Maryland by Walter W. Preston. Research by Harford County Public Library]

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