Begin Again Thomas Smith

Reverend Thomas Smith's cane, Portland, 1750

Reverend Thomas Smith's cane, Portland, 1750
Item 48474   info
Maine Historical Society

Thomas Smith's silver-handled walking cane is engraved: "Tho Smith, Rev. Thomas Smith, born Boston Mch 10, 1702, died May 23d 1795, Ordained in Falmouth, Me. Mch 1727, Was the first settled minister in Cumberland Co." The engraving is on the silver below the handle.

Thomas Smith gained wealth during his time in Maine. The most valuable possessions held by Reverend Thomas Smith were his enslaved persons. Upon the death of his son, Thomas Smith, Jr. in 1776, the father bought his son’s enslaved people, "a man and a likely young negro woman" for 700 English pounds—about $130,000 as of 2021. A census of Falmouth Neck (Portland) in 1749 counted 21 "slaves" in the population of 2,346.

An image of Reverend Smith shows him displaying this silver-tipped walking stick, an extravagant item for the time. Smith's diary entry from 1769 demonstrated his pride in material possessions: “Had a new wig, a rich one, and hat. Had my super fine black clothes.”

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