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Who is Roger Smith?

James Knowles suggests

I currently think of him as a French Canadian voyageur who became intrigued by the southerly waters and paddled his canoe down from Lake Champlain, down the Hudson River to its mouth and then making an unfortunate turn down what is now the East River. He became embroiled in the confluence of water flows as the East River meets the influx from Long Island Sound. He was dumped into the waters along with his eight Indian paddlers and an old friend named Murray. Everything lost, wet and bedraggled, they made land about where the United Nations stands so monarchically today.

I refer to him as Roger with a French accent.

Perhaps his name was derived from the marriage of a Roger and a Smith, and originally Roger-Smith was a woman. The product of a French and English love affair on an island up in the great St. Lawrence River, the highway to the American Heartland. Her father Adolfe Roger would have married Jane Smith in 1668. Their daughter, the original Roger-Smith, was named Lily and bore a marvelous but intenerate adventurer and the son was therefore named after his mother. Jean Roger-Smith anglicized his name to John after the East River Debacle around the turn of the century (ca.1701).

Or was he an Amazonian adventurer, who robbed banks and knew Pancho Villa, and ennobled many acquaintances by his wisdom and presence... a brave and valiant warrior for peace.

It could have been none of this and referred to an unhappy but successful merchant from Bridgeport whose history embarrassed him it was so dull.

My feeling is that Roger Smith was curious, innovative, adventuresome and interested in the world. You'd love to sense him drinking next to you. He'd give you feeling of the grandeur of the world and consequently the importance you have in the cosmos. For that you would always be in his debt. But he'd be a traveling man. You'd only know him in passing. But you'd think again and again in your life, I wonder what Roger would have done in these circumstances.