Col. Josiah Smith was born November 28, 1723, at East Moriches, Long Island, in a house erected by his grandfather, Richard Smith II, son of Richard (Bull) Smith of Smithtown. His home was located on property known as the Moriches Patent, purchased from the Indians using a grant from King William and Queen Mary of England in 1697.
In 1742, he married Susanna, daughter of Judge Gelston. Susanna died in 1754, leaving five children. In 1758, he married Mary Howell; they had two children.
There was much feeling aroused after the Boston Tea Party; committees were formed and regiments were organized. Capt. Josiah Smith was on one of the committees that was formed at South Haven, Long Island, in June 1774.
Early in 1776, the Continental Congress organized four battalions in the Colony of New York for defensive purposes with Colonel Josiah Smith, Chairman, who was authorized to raise three companies.
On July 20th, General Woodhull notified Colonel Smith that the Congress had called out one-quarter of the militia in Suffolk, Queens, and Kings Counties for defense, and it had been made one regiment to which Colonel Smith had been unanimously appointed as commander.
The regiment under his command saw active duty during the spring and early summer of 1776. In August, Colonel Smith received orders from General Greene to march the troops to Brooklyn and join General Greene's brigade, which he did. From August 22nd to 29th, the regiment was engaged in many skirmishes with the enemy during the Battle of Long Island.
After the battle, the regiment was disbanded. Colonel Smith returned home but later was captured by the British and placed in the Provost prison in New York. He was liberated soon and returned home.
During the following years, he engaged in the management of his estate. He was a man of affairs, having acquired 5,000 acres of land. He was Treasurer of Suffolk County from 1776 to 1786.
He died May 15, 1786, aged 62 years. In 1923, the 200th anniversary of his birth, a marker was placed at his grave in the family burial plot by the Colonel Josiah Smith Chapter NSDAR.
Colonel Josiah Smith Cemetery is located in Center Moriches.
Colonel Josiah Smith's original headstone remains.
The chapter installed this official military marker at the head of Colonel Josiah Smith's grave in 1923.
The Colonel Josiah Smith Cemetery, as seen from Paquatuck Avenue in Center Moriches. The cemetery is adjacent to the house that Colonel Josiah Smith owned during the American Revolution.
"Members met at the Colonel Josiah Smith Cemetery in late October 2010 to lay flowers and pay respects at the grave of the chapter’s namesake patriot. Colonel Josiah Smith, a grandson of Smithtown patentee Richard “Bull” Smith, commanded the Regiment of Minute Men and organized the Suffolk County Regiment. He fought at the Battle of Long Island in August 1776 and fled British-occupied Long Island in November of that year, living as a refugee in Connecticut until his return in 1779, at which time he was arrested and imprisoned in New York City for several months. He died in 1786 and was buried in the family graveyard, located on what is now Paquatuck Avenue in East Moriches."
Kathleen Vermaelen, Bayport-Blue Point Gazette, Holiday 2010, p. 7
MILL POND (KALER'S POND), EAST MORICHES, NEW YORK
"The land of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in East Moriches was originally donated by Colonel Smith for a Presbyterian Parsonage. It opened in 1851 as a cemetery. The old mill that used to stand in front of the Mill Pond (Kaler's Pond) in East Moriches was built by Colonel Smith in 1737. The water gushing from beneath the little red mill building was exciting to see. It was destroyed by the 1938 hurricane. A sad thing to see, all the bits and pieces left after the storm…"
Anne Laube, Honorary Chaplain, Colonel Josiah Smith Chapter NSDAR, April 2012
The Old Grist Mill at Kaler's Pond, East Moriches, NY.*
The Old Grist Mill in winter.*
Workers harvesting ice from frozen Kaler's Pond, East Moriches, NY.*
Montauk Highway ran past the Old Mill in East (not Center) Moriches. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1938 and was never successfully restored.*
*All photos above are used with permission of Mary Field, co-author of An Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area. The book is available through The Moriches Bay Historical Society.