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Melancton Smith

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Title: Melancton Smith  
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Subject: Gilbert Livingston (legislator), New York Manumission Society, New York Provincial Congress, Congressional Apportionment Amendment, Washington, New York
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Melancton Smith

Melancton Smith (May 7, 1744 – July 29, 1798) was a New York Delegate to the Continental Congress. His first name is sometimes spelled "Melanchthon"; it derives from Philipp Melanchthon, the leader in the Reformation.

He was born in Jamaica, Long Island in New York and homeschooled by his parents. He was businessman in Poughkeepsie, New York and in 1769 he helped organize the Washington Hollow Presbyterian Church.

He became a delegate to the first Dutchess County Rangers. In 1777 and 1778. On Feb. 11, 1777, he became one of three members of a Dutchess County, New York commission for "inquiring into, detecting and defeating all conspiracies ... against the liberties of America;" he served for the next six months administering oaths of allegiance, arresting suspects, informing upon and examining Loyalists. While wielding this powerful civil and military authority, he was also serving as sheriff of Dutchess County. He extended his land holdings by purchasing some of the forfeited Loyalist estates. (Boyd 1935)

Smith moved to John Jay. He died during the yellow fever epidemic in New York City in 1798 and is buried in Jamaica Cemetery, Jamaica, Queens, New York.


  • Boyd, Julian P. "Smith, Melancton, 1744–1798, (May 7, 1744 – July 29, 1798)," Dictionary of American Biography, Volume 9 (1935)
  • Robert H. Webking. "Melancton Smith and the Letters from the Federal Farmer," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 44, No. 3, (Jul., 1987), pp. 510–528 online in JSTOR

External links

  • Debates in the Convention of the State of New York.
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