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Frances Elizabeth Smith


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At a Glance

Frances Elizabeth Smith, Mary Ivy Smith  and Rebecca Cameron Smith  were three sisters who attended the Burwell School.


Fanny Smith of Caswell County, NC signed Robina Norwood 's autograph album on May 24, 1850, and therefore may be assumed to have been enrolled in the Burwell School at that time. Her name also appears in the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 [1].

The girls' father, Richard Ivy Smith, Esq., of Caswell County, NC is listed as a trustee of the Caldwell Institute in its Catalogue of the Caldwell Institute 1848-1849 [2], printed by Dennis Heartt, and it seems likely that the J is a misprint for I, a common error in Heartt's early catalogues.

He also signed a petition as a merchant for cabinetmaker Thomas Day for permission from the North Carolina General Assembly to bring Day's wife to North Carolina. At least two letters document the Smith mercantile business.

On March 4, 1856, Mrs. Burwell (Margaret Anna Robertson) wrote to her daughter Fanny (Frances Armistead Burwell ),

Two new boarders have this moment come Fanny Smith's sisters nice little girls ----so Farewell....

On March 10, she wrote,

The last girls who came Fanny Smith's sisters are just as good as she was---but tho' they are all good I find plenty more than enough to do.

Fanny Smith, Rebecca Cameron Smith, and Mary Ivy Smith, all daughters of Richard Ivy Smith and aunt Mary Amis Goodwin Smith of Hycotee, Caswell County attended the Burwell School with their cousins Mary and Sallie. Richard Ivy Smith and Mary and Sallie’s father Rev. Samuel H. Smith were first cousins [3] [4].

Biographical Data

Frances was called Fanny.

Important Dates

Frances Elizabeth Smith was born on February 18, 1838 [5], in Caswell County, NC [5]. She died on May 11, 1873. She is possibly buried in an unmarked grave in the Smith Family Cemetery in Hycotee, NC [5].

Places of Residence

  • Hycotee, NC, between February 18, 1838 and 1870. Hycotee was the family farm.

Schools Attended



  1. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.
  2. Catalogue of the Caldwell Institute 1848-1849.
  3. The Alumni History of the University of North Carolina.
  4. Caswell County Historical Association.
  5. Caswell County Historical Association. Caswell County Family Tree.
  6. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).