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Clara Drew Smith (1830-1911)

Voyage: 1853

Ship: Sea Bird

Clara Drew was the daughter of Charles Drew, Jr and Hannah Thomas. She was raised in the Greek Revival style house at 28 Cove Street. In 1851 she married her cousin and neighbor, Capt. Jonathan Smith, Jr. (1824-1863). She took a “honeymoon” voyage with him aboard the Sea Bird to Smyrna in 1852. A letter written to her sister-in-law, Judith Winsor Smith, described the voyage. Although she had been feeling unwell for much of it, she was able to enjoy a lavish meal at a fellow American’s home, “We sat down to table at half past one…and had upwards of twenty different courses and thirty different dishes including fruit of which there were twelve different kinds…after dinner we had music, waltzing and dancing…” She mentions that this is her second trip to the city, so she may have gone a previous voyage or merely stopped in Smyrna once before on the same trip.

The Smith’s youngest daughter, Helen, was born in 1853, but unfortunately died the following year. Tragedy struck again when their son, Omar, died at age three in 1863. Their only surviving child was daughter, Clara May (1855-1931).

Capt. Jonathan Smith eventually retired to the sea and worked in his brother’s shipyard in East Boston. He died after a long illness, in 1863. Clara earned money to support her daughter, Clara May, by becoming a talented copyist for businesses in Boston. She died at age 80 in 1911 and is buried in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury.


Letter from Clara Drew Smith to Judith Winsor Smith, Nov. 15. 1852, Private Collection.

Click to view: letters of Clara Drew Smith 1852

Clara Drew Smith (1830-1911). Collection of the Drew Archival Library, DRHS.
Clara Drew Smith (1830-1911). Collection of the Drew Archival Library, DRHS.
Sampler made by Clara Drew, aged 8 years. DRHS collection, 1916.137.001.
Grave of Clara Drew Smith, Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, MA.