- (Research):Smith had a half brother and half sister, Joseph Hancock and Thyrza Hancock, but he was the only child of the union of Edward Smith and Catherine Hancock, nee Marsh. Thomas Jones of Runcorn was no relation to Captain Smith, so far as I'm aware, but he does seem to have been a very good friend. He was the best man at Smith's wedding in 1887 and was later a witness to his will. Smith and his family were staying with the Jones when the 1901 census was taken and Smith's widow Eleanor was lodging with the Jones's in the early years of World War One.
Thomas Jones was one of five witnesses at Smith's wedding in 1887. They were Thomas Jones, Joseph Hancock (Smith's half brother), John William Pennington, Maria Annie Pennington, Mary Privett Rooker. It may be an assumption on my part that Jones was Smith's best man, but he seems the likeliest candidate.
As to Eleanor living with the Jones's. In 1903 when he witnessed Smith's will, Thomas Jones gave his address as The Nook, Runcorn, Cheshire. In 1915, Eleanor is corresponding from that address.
Smith may have had a number of aunts and uncles, though there are only two definates.Between 1807 and 1822, at least seven children were born in Hanley, whose parents were named Edward and Elizabeth Smith. The eldest of these, Edward, was baptised on 10 May 1807, while Mary Ann (or Mary Anne) is listed as being baptised twice, on either 10 or 28 May 1809. One Thomas Smith was baptised on 30 October 1814, Jane on 11 September 1816, William on 1 June 1818, and Phyllis was baptised on 16 September 1821. All of these children had been christened at St John's, the town's Anglican church the records for which were unfortunately destroyed by fire during the Potteries Riots of 1842. But the last child, George, was baptised at the Charles Street Wesleyan Chapel. His details are more complete, he was born on 28 October 1822 and baptised on 1 December 1822.
The chances are very good that this is a full list of Edward and Elizabeth Smith's children. There is supporting evidence that Edward and George, the eldest and the youngest were related, as they were both still living with their mother in 1841 when the census was taken. It's also know that Jane Smith was their sister, as Edward would be a witness at her wedding and her daughter was lodging with his family in 1861. As to the others, it's anyone's guess.
As I have said, I've no evidence myself that the Jones's and Smith's were related, though I have never gone looking for any evidence as regards that, so they may well be. I'd be interested to hear about anything you come across in this respect.
I can however, tell you a little about the Penningtons, having a copy of the 1881 census.
In 1881, William Pennington farmed 147 acres of land at Woodhead Farm in Parkside Road, Newton in Makerfield (modern day Newton-le-Willows)and employed five labourers. William Pennington was 58 and was Born in Newton in Makerfield as were his wife and children. His wife Sarah was 53, daughter Mary J Pennington was 22, son John W Pennington was 21, Sarah E Pennington (Smith's future wife) was 19 and Martha E Pennington was 12 and listed as a scholar - a schoolgirl. They had three indoor servants living with them: Ada A Burtonshaw, 17, a general servant from London; John Hall, 60, a farm servant (indoors) from nearby Winwick; and Edward Kennedy, 56, farm servant (indoors) from Dublin, Ireland.
I imagine that the Maria A Pennington listed as a witness at Smith's wedding was either a sister not listed on the census, or (more likely) John W Pennington's wife. I also know that Eleanor's father William Pennington was dead when she married Smith six years later.