Edward Smith was a native of Ulster County, New York. His wife, Jane Whitaker, was a native of Kingston, Ulster County, New
York. Edward and Jane were married in Kingston and four of their children were born there, the others were born in Illinois.
One of Smith’s daughters, Leah Margaret, married John Breen, a member of the Donner Party.
Smith and his family came overland from Springfield, Illinois to California in 1848, leaving Springfield in April of that
year. He kept a diary of the journey beginning in Missouri on April 29, until November 11 when he and his family arrived in
In San Francisco, he worked as a merchant until November of 1849, and then moved to live a short time in Santa Cruz. In January
1850, he and his family then moved to San Juan. He practiced law, since he had previously studied English and American law.
In July of 1850, with a Colonel Allen, he established the San Juan post office, and became the area’s first postmaster. He
also worked as a land surveyor of Monterey County. Edward Smith died in 1853 probably at the end of September or early October.
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