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Peyton Smythe

A Biography of Peyton Smythe notes:
The pillar of stone that marks the final resting place of the remains of Peyton Smythe testifies that he was born on December 15, 1826 in Tennessee.  Genealogical records report that he was the son of John F. Smythe and Lucinda Peyton. His stone and early death records of Corpus Christi (page 102 #1525) state that he died on 6 October 1897 at 70 years of age from apoplexy (stroke).  

His website shows a photo of his son, Peyton Grant Smythe, and the announcement of this son’s wedding to Donia Dove.  Peyton the elder first settled near San Antonio when he came to Texas in the 1850s. He married Otelia Buchnar of Prussia (her name is sometimes given as “Othelia”) on 17 May 1856 in Bexar County (volume D1, page 81) and initially settled down to farming (1860 Bexar County census, pages 486B and 487A).  

In the 1860 census he is already doing rather well as his real estate is valued at $3000 and his personal wealth is given as a further $2000.  Also by 1850 Peyton and Otelia have their first two daughters, La (usually called “Alice” or “Ella”) and Ma (M. A., often called “Emma”).

The Civil War may have impacted the family as Peyton is no longer a farmer by the 1870 census (Bexar County, page 195A).  However, he is still prosperous.  He is a merchant with wife and six children and has real estate valued at $14,000, but a personal estate of only $600.  

By 1875 he had already traveled to Corpus Christi with the intent of moving his family to the city by the coast (Gazette of 24 July 1875 as quoted in C. C. Caller of 25 July 1922, page 5 col. 3-4).  The paper of the following week speaks of how he is already working in Corpus Christi as it reports how “Capt. Peyton Smythe” moved the new large county safe from the Central Wharf to its prepared position in the county courthouse (Gazette of 31 July 1875).  A note by E. T. Merriman in the later issue of the Caller quoting the old Gazette article notes that the safe was later sold to the Weil brothers when the new 1914 Nueces County courthouse was built (C. C. Caller of 28 July 1922, page 6 col. 5-6).  

Peyton is listed in the 1880 census of Nueces County (E. D. 116, page 2D/sheet 4) as now practicing also the work of a wheelwright (someone who builds and repairs wheels for carts and wagons of transportation in the 1800s).  He and his wife have 8 children, and young son Peyton who is 16 years old is serving as a clerk in the dry goods store.

Elder Peyton Smythe also was active in civil life.  In 1876 when Mr. Chambers from the Roberts Rifles is found drowned, an inquest was held by “Justice Smythe”, and in 1886 a Mr. Smythe takes an oath of office as the Deputy City Marshall of Corpus Christi (see website document).  Meanwhile his children married and became active in the life of the city also.