Smith, Charles Jeffery

first name (variants): C.J.; Charles Jeffry; Charles Jeffrey; Ch. J.; C. Jeffry
honorific(s): Reverend
Birth: October 9, 1740 in Setauket, Long Island, NY
Death: August 10, 1770 in Long Island

Yale; Moor's Indian Charity School


Yale (Class of 1757)






Itinerant minister, missionary.

  • Moor's Indian Charity School in Lebanon, CT (from 1763-04 to 1763-06)
  • Providence (Forge), VA (from 1770 to 1770-08-10)

June 30, 1763: Ordained at Moor's Indian Charity School and set out on a mission to the Six Nations with Joseph Brant.

November 1764: Began a mission through the mid-Atlantic region, returning to Long Island in the summer of 1765.

Marital status

Married his first cousin, Elizabeth Platt, on September 20, 1767. They had one son, Elihu Platt Smith, who graduated from Yale in 1785.


Charles Jeffery Smith was an independently funded Presbyterian missionary and itinerant preacher. After his father's early death, Smith inherited a large private income. Instead of enjoying a life of leisure, he chose to complete his education at Yale and then become a missionary. After graduating, he taught at Moor's Indian Charity School, gratis, for a few months in 1763. His first mission, and his only mission among Indians, was a 1763 endeavor to the Six Nations, accompanied by then-student Joseph Brant as an interpreter. However, Pontiac's War forced them to return. Although Smith continued his missionary career, he focused on slaves in the Mid/South-Atlantic region and English-colonist congregations. Smith held several important roles in Wheelock's Grand Design. He was Wheelock's heir-once-removed (after Whitaker) in Wheelock's 1767 will, and was proposed as Occom's companion on the 1765 fundraising tour. Wheelock consulted Smith about the location of what was to be Dartmouth College (Smith proposed Virginia or South Carolina), and solicited him as an envoy to the Six Nations in 1768; when Smith refused, the job fell to Ralph Wheelock, who severely alienated the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Sir William Johnson. Smith's residence was in Virginia at the time of his death, but he actually died in Long Island while visiting his family, from a gunshot wound sustained while hunting. It is unclear whether this was murder, an accidental shot, or suicide.


Calloway, Colin, The Indian History of an American Institution. Dartmouth College Press 2010. Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Lawrence, Catherine. “Guide to the Charles Jeffery Smith Papers (MS 1372).” Yale University Library, January 1996. Accessed via Google. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. McCallum, James. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Dartmouth College Press 1932. Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. “Providence Forge/Forge Bridge.” Accessed 12/20/2012. The Hamlet People. “Rev. Charles Jeffrey (Jeffry) Smith, "Tangier."” Accessed 12/17/2012. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia biography, under the editorial supervision of Lyon Gardiner Tyler. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1915. Accessed via GoogleBooks 12/20/2012.