Independent Historian

William “Duke” Smither is a Historical Novelist, U.S. Navy Veteran (Viet Nam Era, Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuban Expeditionary Forces), native of Frankfort, Kentucky, resident of Richmond, Virginia, and retired Sr. Security Investigator for Dominion Energy, Inc.

A former Sports Reporter for his college newspaper, as a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and Reporter/ trainee at the Richmond Afro-American newspaper, he later graduated from St. Paul’s College (B.S. Business Management), returning to VCU for postgraduate studies in Criminal Justice Administration during his working career, along with independent study programs in Black History (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College) and Ancient African History (Virginia State University).

In retirement, additional research and writings led to the history-related journal he created at, and assignments as contributing writer for BlackPast.Org, the international web-based reference center for African-American History, at He also began writing his historical-fiction trilogy on Western Hemispheric marronage and resistance to European colonialism and slavery.

His debut novel, Backroads to ‘Bethlehem’: Odysseys of the Maroon Warrior… (2018) was the trilogy’s first installment. Passage(s) to Saint-Domingue: Jakobe’s Journey… (2022) is the sequel. The third book, Children of the Swamp (working title only) is underway, pending completion. His current website is: