In addition to being a well-know surveyor of the North Carolina (new
boundaries and of Davidson Country, Daniel served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War, Brigadier General of the Mero District, Secretary of the Territory of the United States Southwest of the River Ohio, chairman of the committee to draft the constitution of Tennessee, United States Senator, and Indian treaty negotiator
In 1793 Daniel Smith authored a pamphlet on the new Tennessee territory, which was followed by his map of the land west of the Cumberland Mountains and as many water course. This Map of the "Tennessee" Government was widely published well into the nineteenth Century.
Smith was called upon in 1784 to help survey the city of Nashville. In 1785 he was one of nine trustees appointed for Davidson Academy, the First institution of higher learning in Nashville, In 1798 he was appointed to serve Andrew Jackson's remaining term in the United States Senate. He then ran for the Senate in 1805 and defeated the incumbent, William Cocke.
Daniel Smith was born in Stafford County, Virginia, to Henry and Sarah Crosby Smith, He grew up on a plantation in Virginia.Daniel studied "physic" of medicine with Dr. Thomas Walker while living at the Walker home, Castle Hill, in Albemarle County, Virginia. He most likely acquired his learning in other fields such as surveying , law, and mathematics form Walker as well. After being licensed as a surveyor by the College of William and Mary, Smith took up that profession and began his work in 1770.
In 1773 Daniel married Sarah Michie. They had
two children. Their son,George, married Tabitha Donelson,oldest daughter
of Captain John Donelson,III. Their daughter, Mary Ann (Polly) married
Samuel Donelson, Rachel Jackson's brother.
Of her three sons from that marriage, Andrew Jackson Donelson served as private secretary for Andrew Jackson at the White House and Daniel Smith Donelson was a General in the Civil War.
he completed in 1784. To claim his land,he brought his family to this site
and began construction of Rock Castle. Much of the construction supervision
as well as plantation management was shouldered by Sarah since for
most of their married life, Daniel was gone for long periods, on surveying
trips. Daniel Smith died in 1818 at his home. Sarah died in 1831,and both
are buried in the family cemetery, on the grounds of Rock Castle.
Rock Castle reflects in its furnishings a simple
lifestyle of culture and good taste. The furniture and many accessories
are late eighteenth century antiques, typical of the furnishings, Daniel
and Sarah owned. Three original pieces; a blanket chest, a desk, and a
sugar chest belonged to Smith. They are refined, Hepplewhite style. The
Family Bible, private letters, and Daniel Smith's library of over two hundred
books, are in the collection. They have proved valuable for research, on
the life and character of Daniel and Sarah Smith.
The architectural style is a simple and pleasing
blend of Georgian and Federal periods. It has its origins in the colonial
homes of Virginia, Daniel Smith's birthplace. The original unit, built
in the mid 1780's, consisted of two rooms. The family lived in these while
other rooms were added. By 1796 the multi-level stone dwelling was complete;
it is comprised of seven rooms-four downstairs and three upstairs-along
with a useable basement and attic.
Of special significance, are the floor-to-ceiling,black walnut cupboards built into the fireplace walls; in several of the rooms. A rarity for Tennessee homes for this early period. They show the skilled craftsmanship of Smith's nephews, Smith and Peter Hansborough.
Rock Castle was raised from the land itself. The great limestone blocks were quarried nearby. The wood for the house came from virgin walnut, ash, cedar,cherry and popular trees on the property.