Elizabeth Smith McClurken

1767 - 1852

By: Roger Kemps © 2008


Elizabeth Smith was born on February 10, 1767 in Antrim, Ireland. She died on September 2, 1852 in Oakdale, Illinois.


Her parents were John Smith (1730 - 1784) and Agnes Faris (1745 – 1838). Elizabeth and her parents were Scotch-Irish. Her siblings, included:


·      David (May 13, 1771 – December 29, 1841)

·      James (1776 - 1826)

·      John (1778 – February 7, 1807)

·      Agnes Donnelly (1782 – April 8, 1848)

·      Rebecca Wilson (July 22, 1784 – September 27, 1864)


Elizabeth accompanied her parents, and brother David, on a voyage from County Antrim, Ireland to Charleston, South Carolina in 1772. For an explanation, see Covenanters. Elizabeth came on either the Hopewell or the Pennsylvania. See surnames at:  Surname Summary of those who came with Rev Martin  and details at: Names of Passengers from Ireland.


Elizabeth Smith married Thomas McClurken on September 4, 1790 in Chester, South Carolina.


Elizabeth and Thomas were Covenanters. They had six children while living in South Carolina:


·      John (May 4, 1792 – July 12, 1874)

·      Archibald (November 11, 1794 – April 7, 1853)

·      Nancy (December 25, 1797 – November 9, 1857)

·      James (January 5, 1801 – October 8, 1875)

·      Thomas (March 31, 1805 – January 10, 1867)

·      David (June 22, 1811 – March 18, 1880)


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1790 Census of Chester County, South Carolina, along with three males under 16 years of age, three females, and one slave. It is presumed that the others were not their children, but may have been related.


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1800 Census of Chester County, South Carolina. Living with them were John, Archibald and another male child (under 10), another male (15 – 25), Nancy (under 10) and 4 slaves.


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1810 Census of Chester County, South Carolina. Living with them were John (16 – 25), Archibald (10 – 15), James and Thomas (0 – 9), Nancy (10 – 15), and two other free persons.


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1820 Census of Chester Township of Chester County, South Carolina. Living with them were James (16 – 25), Thomas (10 – 15), David (0 – 9), and Nancy (16 – 25).


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1830 Census of Chester County, South Carolina. Living with them were Thomas (20 – 29), David (15 – 19),  and Nancy and one other female (20 – 29).


About 1830, some of Elizabeth’s children (James and Thomas, Jr.) moved with their families to Washington County, Illinois. For an explanation of the circumstances associated with the move, see Covenanters. On September 7, 1833, Thomas sold his 250 acre plantation on Rocky Creek in South Carolina. In December, he and the balance of his family members, left for Washington County Illinois. Thomas and Elizabeth purchased 80 acres in Section 15 in 1834 and 40 acres in 1836.


Pages 55 & 56 of the Narratives of Randolph County are a transcript of a letter written in 1896 by Rev. J. J. McClurkin, a grandson of Elizabeth. In it, he describes:


·      How Elizabeth was well indoctrinated in the principles of the Covenanter Church and, no doubt, helped Thomas to see the evil of slavery and to join the Covenanter Church.

·      The four slaves that were set free by Thomas (between 1800 and 1810) as a result of his conversion to the Covenanter faith.

·      The trip from South Carolina that commenced in December 1833. This was a six week trip, on which Thomas, Elizabeth and daughter, Nancy, traveled in a one horse carriage. Other family members were in a wagon with four horses.


Elizabeth and Thomas were Charter Members of the Oakdale Reformed Presbyterian Church that was formed in 1834. It is likely that they participated in the Underground Railroad, along with other members of the congregation, because of their disdain for slavery.


Elizabeth is mentioned in “History of Oakdale Township” (see references) on page 33 as an RP Church Charter Member.


Elizabeth and Thomas show up in the 1840 Census of Washington County, Illinois. Living with them were David, Nancy and one other male (20 – 29).


Thomas died on March 22, 1845 at the age of 97. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 5, Grave 32), near Oakdale, Illinois.


Elizabeth then applied for and received a widow’s pension of $34.11 per year until her death. Copies of the payment registers are available below. In addition, at least 40 pages of Thomas’ pension file are related to the widow’s pension for Elizabeth.


Elizabeth shows up in the 1850 Census of Washington County, Illinois. She was living with her son, David, and her daughter, Nancy.


Elizabeth died, at the age of 85, on September 2, 1852 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 7, Grave 38), near Oakdale, Illinois. For an image of the headstone, see this link.


Reference sources and files:





Surname Summary of those who came with Rev Martin

Names of Passengers from Ireland

“Perry County, Illinois” page 207

McClurkin-Smith Record, Washington County, Illinois

Elizabeth_McClurken_Pension Part1.jpg   see line 6

Elizabeth_McClurken_Pension Part2.jpg   see line 9

1790_Thos_McClurkin_Chester_SC.jpg   see right column, third from bottom

1800_Thomas_McKlirkin.pdf  see line 2

1810_Thos_McKlirkin_Chester_SC.jpg   see line 19

1820_Thos_McKlirkin_Chester_SC.jpg   see line 22

1830_Thomas_McClurken.jpg   see line 9

History of Oakdale Township and references

Oakdale Reformed Presbyterian Church

Thomas_22_12_1835_WHSWQ_S15_T3SR4W.jpg (purchased 11/19/1834)

Thomas_1_8_1838_SWQNWQ_S15_T3SR4W.jpg (purchased 8/11/1836)

1840_Thomas_McClurken_Sr.jpg  see line 2

1850_James_Sarah_McClurken_pg1.jpg  see line 41


Narratives of Randolph County.pdf

Oakdale Cemetery Website

Genealogy Trails Washington County, Illinois Website

Rootsweb Freepages

Ancestry.com OneWorldTree

Charlene Gillespie Deutsch Research


Home Page

Biography Index

Ancestor Tree



Last updated  5/16/2012