Smith Gilbert Hastings (1848-1885)

Smith Gilbert Hastings (or Gilbert Smith Hastings) was born in Madison, Indiana in about 1848 to James William Hastings and Priscilla Smith. He was named after either his uncle or maternal grandfather, both of whom were named Gilbert Smith, although it is more likely that he was named after his uncle, as his grandfather abandoned his mothers family when she was a child. Census records all record his name as Gilbert or Gilbert S, but his children's social security applications, and the narrative written by his nephew John Jones in the 1930's, all refer to him as Smith Hastings.

When he was two years old his family set to move to Hopkins County, Texas. During the trip along the Mississippi River, his father and three of his sisters took sick from cholera and died. His mother continued to their new homestead with the help of the Freemasons, with whom her husband had been associated.

Smith grew up on his mothers ranch in Hopkins County along with some of his older siblings. He was the youngest of the family. There is a story of when he was a young man on the ranch, his age isn't mentioned but he couldn't have been older than 28. He was in the choral when an angry bull came charging after him. Knowing he couldn't outrun the animal, he stood his ground. When the bull came close he took the sombrero off his head and tossed it at the the animals eyes. The bull then turned its attention to the hat, giving Smith time to get away.

By 1880 Smith is married to Mary Carlin and living in Fort Worth, Texas. They had a four year old son with them, who would later be known as Henry Mortimer Hastings, but who was written as Henry M. Williams. It seems that Henry was not Smith's son, but that he had taken in Mary and her young son. We have not yet found any record of Mary having married earlier or who Henry's father was. But shortly after the census was taken Smith and Mary had their own child, a girl they named Johnny-Etta Bird Hastings, born December 12, 1880 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Unfortunately neither Smith and Mary would live long enough to see their family grow. They both died in 1885. The kids were given to Fannie Callicott, Mary's sister, and they moved to California.

Smith and Mary had two children, they were:

  1. Henry Mortimer Hastings (born Henry M. Williams, adopted by Smith)
  2. Johnny-Etta Bird Hastings m. Paul Ferdinand Leichter


Census Records

  1. 1850 Census: Madison, Jefferson, Indiana - August 15, 1850
  2. 1860 Census: Tarrant, Hopkins, Texas - August 14, 1860
  3. 1870 Census: Sulphur Springs, Precinct 1, Hopkins, Texas - August 9, 1870
  4. 1880 Census: Precinct 4, Erath County


  1. Narrative: Maternal Lineage of John D. Jones