Individual Narrative  

Reginald Edward Smythe

Undated lithograph.

Smythe Homestead, Little Chesterford, Essex, England

Reginald's mother died in childbirth.

Reginald Edward Smythe, son of Sir Charles and Jane (Edwards) Smythe, was born on 3 August 1780 in Little Chesterford, Essex, England. 1 Reginald's mother died in childbirth. Anna Chordray, the wife of Sir Charles' gardener, was enlisted to serve as wet nurse and nanny. Reginald was christened on 20 August 1780 at St Margaret's, Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, England. 2 Anna Chordray acted as surrogate mother in the absence of Reginald's parents. Reginald was educated between September 1785 & June 1797 at Ridgeway's, Braintree, Essex. 3 He was educated between September 1797 & June 1801 at King's College, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. 4 He graduated from there on 12 July 1801. 5 He and Elizabeth Conyer obtained a marriage license on 10 July 1803 in Cambridge. 6 Reginald married Elizabeth 5 days later in Burnt Pelham, Hertfordshire, England. 7 The marriage of Reginald and Elizabeth was annulled on 10 August 1803 at Chancery Court, London, England. 8 The bride's father, Sir Rodney Conyer, Knight, discovered his underage daughter was planning on marrying Reginald Smythe using a license obtained fraudulently. Arriving too late to stop the marriage he took his daughter home by force and applied to his friend, the Bishop of London, for an annulment.


Reginald served as a Lieutenant here in 1806.

Reginald served in the military on 10 October 1805 in London. 9 To ensure Reginald created no further embarrassment for the family Sir Charles prevailed upon his friend, Lord Thompson, Colonel of the 8th Dragoons, to obtain a commission for his son. On the 10th of October 1805 Reginald was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 8th Dragoons. He was shipped to Malta shortly thereafter. A marriage contract for the marriage of Reginald and Rachel Woods was signed on 1 May 1810 in Malta. 10 Marriage Banns for Reginald were published on 20 May 1810 in St. Stephen's, Malta. 11 He adopted Rebecca Moore on 14 November 1810 in Malta. 12 Reginald had a total of 2 marriages. He was a client of George Van Stone. George van Stone handled all of Reginald Smythe's legal affairs. George was Reginald's administrator. He participated in a military promotion on 15 March 1812 in Malta. 13 He had a son John Smythe on 14 May 1813 in Ilford, Essex. 14 Reginald had a son John on 14 April 1814 in Little Chesterford. 15 Reginald retired on 15 July 1816 in London. 16 He emigrated from there on 10 August 1818. 17 He had a property change on 25 August 1818 at Lot 32 Concession 10, Murray Twp., Newcastle District, Upper Canada. 18

Valois Homestead, Brighton, Upper Canada

Reginald accepted their help in the winter of 1818.

He immigrated on 1 November 1818 to Coburg, Newcastle District. 19 Arriving in Coburg Reginald needed both help and advice. George van Stone, local business man and entrepreneur, who was handling Reginald's land grant suggested he could either give up the grant and take employment as a laborer or prove the grant. Either way he would require someone to care for the children. He suggested the Potter Valois family in Brighton. They had a son John's age and at 13, Rebecca would be a help to Mrs. Valois. Reginald spent Christmas with the Valois and decided to accept their help. It would prove a good decision. Reginald signed a will on 12 January 1825 in Coburg. 20 He died on 14 April 1826 at Lot 32 Concession 10. 21 Cause: Drowning. Reginald's estate was probated on 28 April 1826 in Coburg. 22


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