Elizabeth Agnes Calder was born 3 August 1839 in Scotland, the eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth (Forbes) Calder. Between 1840 and 1843 she travelled to the New World with her parents and her younger sister Christianna. The family settled in Bainsville Lancaster Township, Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada. After the death of her father John, her mother Elizabeth (Forbes) Calder remained in Lancaster Township with her son and daughters, until about 1861 when the family moved to Kenyon Township, Glengarry County.
Elizabeth stayed with her mother and siblings for the move to Kenyon Township, Ontario Canada, at some point between 1861 and 1865 she left home to join her sister Christianna in Gouverneur, New York.
In 1865 she married James Jason Smith, a lifelong resident of Gouverneur, New York and recently returned US Civil War soldier.
James’ family had long established roots in the community, dating back to 1807. His great great grandfather, Aholiab Smith and his son Benjamin (James’ great grandfather) settled in the village of Little Bow in Gouverneur.
James enlisted in the 92nd New York Infantry for service during the Civil War, mustering in October 27, 1861. He was wounded in action at the Battle of Fair Oaks / Seven Pines, Virginia 31 March 1862 and sent to a hospital in Washington DC to recover from his wounds. James returned to his regiment 31 October 1862 and was present at the Battles of Kingston, The Wilderness, Petersburg and White Hall, surviving the war to be mustered out of the service in Albany, New York on 7 Jan 1865.
It is a bit unclear at present when James was sent home, as there are indications that he may have gone home sooner than 1865 and this needs to be clarified. It is odd that he was “mustered out” of the service in Albany, NY five months before the war was over. It may simply have been an administrative issue; the paperwork was signed that day and he was already home. It certainly would make sense that he returned home prior to the recorded discharge date as he married his wife Elizabeth, and their first son was born, all the same year.
James and Elizabeth began their family with the birth of their eldest son William F. Smith with 5 more children following; 1869 Cora Lucy; 1870 Etta; 1874 Murray J.; 1876 Wheeler J.; and in 1880 Benjamin Forbes Smith.
The family remained in Gouverneur all of James’ life, and then Elizabeth went to live with her daughter Etta, in Ogdensburg, NY about 1901.
James died on January 17, 1885 at the age of 39, in Gouverneur. The cause of his death is unknown; however his military pension record indicates that he was certified as an “Invalid” 25 February 1881.
Elizabeth Agnes Calder-Smith died 4 August 1905 at the home of her son Wheeler Smith. She passed away as a result of a complication from a stroke she had suffered days before. Both are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Gouverneur, New York.
History 92nd New York Infantry Regiment
Battle of Fair Oaks/ Seven Pines Virginia
Battle of Kingston, North Carolina
Battle of the Wilderness
Siege of Petersburg
Battle of White Hall