Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fifth Smith Daughter

Fannie Mae Smith
Born 16 Nov 1900 – Died 25 Nov 1968
Md January 26, 1919

Everett Presley Taylor
July 21, 1900 – June 18, 1963

Fannie Mae Smith was the youngest daughter of James Thomas Smith and Sarah (Sanders) Smith.  Fannie was born November 16, 1900, at Select, Ohio County, Kentucky.  She married Everett Presley Taylor, the son of James Jim” Martin Taylor and Kitty Ann Leach. They had one son, Eldred Taylor, who died at Mt. Pleasant before 1963, and one daughter, Mildred Louise, who married John Phillip Bolton.  All are buried in Sunnyside Cemetery, Ohio County, Kentucky. 


March 7, 1977 tape:   Grandmother:  “Fannie Mae and Mildred came that Sunday and they stopped their car way down the street and Mildred came up to the door and knocked, and said…I hadn’t seen her in no telling how long.  But I had a picture of her, and she came to the door and she talked, and I recognized her.  And that sure did get her.  She thought she was going to have a lot of fun out of me.  She asked something, like selling magazines, or something…and she came to the door and we began to talk, and I looked at her and I knew I had seen her.  Of course, I hadn’t seen her in several years.  And I said, “Mildred.”  And she said, “Aunt Eva, how did you know me.”  (Laughter around the table).  “They were a lot of fun.  Fannie Mae was so jolly.”


March 10, 1977 tape:   Jerri: “Was Fannie Mae a lot of fun when she was young, like she was when she was older?” 

Grandmother:  “Yes, she was the life of the family.  And the baby.  Harb and Fannie Mae were close because they were the last two. Fannie married about two months before Harb, married.

“All the rest of them were married and gone.  Fannie Mae was always in a big way.  Fannie Mae always came in after her dates at night and told Ma and Pa all about them and she would give them a blow by blow description, and they just enjoyed it.  My dad was getting old, and they would sit down in front of that fireplace and talk and talk and laugh.  She was close to her mother and daddy and she wanted them to know what a good time she had. 

“She married before Ella.  They stayed in Kentucky for a long, long time before they came to Texas.  She left Kentucky a long time after I did.  Oh, I don’t know what year she came to Texas.  And then his work called him to Utah.  Salt Lake City.  They first lived at Texarkana, and they just followed that work.  I don’t know what…a contractor I think, and then he got called to SLC.  And they are still there.”


Mildred said they lived near Aunt Della – had a swinging gate between them.  Their folks would call out to them:  “Mildred Louise Taylor, Ruby Valois Taylor, and Evelyn Sanders Taylor.

She said she always heard that when Grandma and Grandpa Smith got married, all they had was a barrel of molasses, and that’s all.  She told the “hairpin” story about Grandma Smith.  And that she never fussed or said anything bad.  She always fixed Mildred what she liked to eat – big round biscuits, sugar-cured bacon, and fried corn.

Mildred said they left Kentucky in 1940 and went to Louisville, and her Dad worked in Indiana.  They went to Texarkana and then transferred to Salt Lake City.

Mildred said on a tape once that her dad was crippled and drove heavy equipment all his life – stayed with the Civil Service. She said her mother retired from Sears-Roebuck


  Mrs. Fannie Taylor

   Mrs. Fannie Mae Smith Taylor, 68, of Salt Lake City, Utah, died Monday, November 23, at a Salt Lake City hospital.  She was a native of Ohio County But had lived in Salt Lake City for the past 20 years.

   Mrs. Taylor was a member of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church in Ohio County and a member of Chapter 294, Order of the Eastern Star at Cromwell.

   Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Mildred Bolton of Salt Lake City; one granddaughter; four sisters, Mrs. Della Taylor, Louisville, Mrs. Elizabeth Sandefur, of Palestine, Texas; Mrs. Eva Cox of Troup, Texas, and Mrs. Ella Stewart of Cromwell; three brothers, Charlie T., Ellis J. and Harb Smith, all of Route 1, Cromwell.

   Services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at the William L. Danks Funeral Home, conducted by the Rev. Arnett Williams. Burial was in the Sunnyside Cemetery.


Many thanks to Janice Brown for sharing her family research with all of us.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fourth Smith Daughter

Ella Jennie Smith
Born May 8, 1891 – Died Mar 19 1978
Md January 30, 1914

Roy Thompson Stewart
November 26, 1892 – November 23, 1971

Ella Jennie Smith was born May 8, 1891 in Ohio County, the daughter of James Thomas Smith and Sarah (Sanders).

When she was twenty-three, she married Roy Thompson Stewart, age twenty-two, on January 30, 1914.   Roy was the son of John Henry Stewart and Susannah Miranda (Cox).  This couple had two sons, Velno Kenneth and Theron M. Stewart.


In the Hartford Herald, page 5, column, 4, dated Wednesday, 4 Feb. 1914, I ran across an article although it was only partially included in another page I was working on for an obituary of Tom Sanders.  The part of the article quoted, said:

"Smith - Stewart"

"    At the residence of Rev. Birch Shields, Beaver Dam, at noon, January 30, 1914, while seated in their buggy, Mr. Roy Stewart and Miss Ella Smith, both of Select, Ky. were united in matrimony, Rev. Shields performing the ceremony.

  Miss Smith is the accomplished daughter of Mr. James T. Smith, a prosperous farmer living near Select, and Mr. Stewart is a successful teacher of the county and the son of Mr. J. H Stewart, merchant of Select. 

These young people have many friends who wish them much success as they move down the steps of time as man and wife."   

An obituary in the Ohio County News, dated Thursday, March 23, 1978, page 17, reads:
"Ella Stewart"

"Cromwell -- Ella Stewart, 86, died Sunday, March 19, at Ohio County Hospital.
    She was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist Church and Cromwell Lodge No. 294, Order of the Eastern Start.  Her husband, Roy Stewart, died in 1971.

    Survivors include two sons, Kenneth Stewart of Leitchfield and Theron Stewart of Hammond, Indiana; three grandchildren; two   brothers, Harb and Ellis Smith, both of Cromwell, and a sister,   Mrs. J. N. Cox of Troup, Texas.

   Services were 2 p.m. Tuesday at William L. Danks Funeral Home. 
  Burial was in Sunnyside Cemetery."

The Ohio County Times, edition of March 23, 1978, page 4, cited almost the same information as written above.

Roy Stewart married Ella, the sister of Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox, my grandmother.  He was a well- respected member of his community and among his family relations.  He was a member of Select Church of Christ, the Cromwell Lodge No. 692 F&AM and the Cromwell OES No. 294.  A retired rural mail carrier, he retired in 1958. 

He had Masonic graveside rites and was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery.

He helped me with my research on the Thomas Smith family.  His parents were John Henry Stewart and Susannah Miranda Cox.  Susannah, called “Susie,” was Granddaddy Cox’s oldest sister.

            An obituary from The Ohio County News, dated Thursday, Dec 2, 1971,  page 8, reads:
"Roy T. Stewart"

"Cromwell -- Roy T. Stewart, 78, died at 12:15 p.m., Tuesday, November 23, at the Ohio County Hospital.

    Mr. Stewart was born November 26, 1892 in Ohio County.  He was a member of the Select Church of Christ, the Cromwell Lodge No. 692 F&AM and Cromwell OES No. 294.  He was a retired mail carrier, retiring in 1958.

    Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Ella Smith Stewart; two sons, Kenneth Stewart and Theron Stewart, both of Hammond, Indiana; three grandchildren.

    Funeral services were conducted at 2 p.m. Friday, November 27, at the William L. Danks Funeral Home by the Rev. Gary Embry, pastor of the United Methodist Church, assisted by the Rev. Arnett Williams, pastor of Concord Baptist Church.  Burial was in Sunnyside Cemetery."


Excerpt from tape 10-10-77:
Grandmother:  “Well, we lived with Ella and Roy.  They lived out on a farm and she was afraid, and we were living at the mines at that time, and they wanted us to come up there because Roy was teaching school and was gone all day.  So they come and begged us to move up there with them.  We lived right in the house with them.  We lived together.  We had one side of the house and Roy and Ella had the other.  At that time we didn’t have any children.”

Darrell:  “Do you want to tell about the time you scared Aunt Ella so bad?”

Grandmother:  “I’m about give out.  When did I scare her?: 

Darrell:  “When you came in and you had that old slicker on...”

Grandmother:  “Oh!  (Laughing)  Well, I’ll tell you, Jerri, we were living at the mines at that time.  Of course, we were paying rent.  And Roy had bought a little farm, and he taught school at Taylor Mines.  And that left Ella out there by herself.  And she come down there, and she wanted me and Daddy to live with her…come up there and live with them, because she said, “I stay all day there by myself and I’m afraid.  And you can have half of the house, and you can have a garden, and everything.”  And we decided we would go and live with them.  And then one day, I got the children…it was Gilbert and Eula Mae, asleep, and it was raining – just pouring down – dark and gloomy. 

Roy had gone to teach school all day and Daddy had gone to work.  And we’s there by ourselves.  And I just thought I would put the tubs under the eve of the house and catch some rainwater, and I put Daddy’s old black slicker on.  Got an old hat and pulled it down over my face.  And she hadn’t fastened her back door, and I pulled off my shoes and tiptoed in.  And she was in the bed.  (Laughing)  And I didn’t make no noise.  I just tiptoed up beside the bed and I was looking over at her.  I thought she was playing off on me, to tell you the truth.  And when she opened her eyes, she had…ohhh, I’ll tell you she like to have died.  She thought it was a negro.  Because some lived not very far.  I like to never in the world have gotten her quietened.  It scared me to death.”

Jerri:   “Did she holler?”

Grandmother:  “She did worse than holler.  She almost went into convulsions, it scared her so bad.  She just walled her arms – I couldn’t straighten them out.  She was just having…and I pulled that old hat off.  I was telling her who it was.  And she still…oh, it just scared me.”

Jerri:  “Did she laugh about it afterwards?”

Grandmother:  “Not very much.  It really did scare her.  And I didn’t, either.  Cause I said to myself, “I’ll never, never do what again.”  And I didn’t do it intentionally.  I just thought the children were asleep and we would have a good talk.  A lot of times, she would come in my house or I would go in hers.  And I thought it was going to be raining all day, and I wasn’t sleepy.  But I sure did scare her.  Ella was always easy scared, though.”

Roy Stewart married the sister of Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox, my grandmother.  He was a well respected member of his community and among his family relations.  He was a member of Select Church of Christ, the Cromwell Lodge No. 692 F&AM and the Cromwell OES No. 294.  A retired rural mail carrier, he retired in 1958. 

He had Masonic graveside rites and was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery.

Roy was the first one who helped me with my research on the Thomas Smith family.

I have many recorded tales that my grandmother told me about herself and Aunt Ella growing up.  They were close in age – only two years apart.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Third Smith Daughter

Eva Caroline Smith
Born Mar 31, 1889 – Died Dec 4, 1988
Md September 6, 1908

Jasper Newton Cox
May 10, 1884 – September 21, 1974

My grandmother, Eva Caroline Smith, was born in Select, Ohio County, Kentucky, in 1889, the third daughter and fifth child in a family of nine children.  Her parents were James Thomas Smith and Sarah Sanders.  Her paternal grandparents were Thomas Smith, (Jr.) and Catherine "Kitty" Ann Jenkins; her maternal grandparents were Charles Sanders and Fidella Porter - all of Ohio County, Kentucky.  Eva Caroline Smith had four brothers and four sisters.  She was the fifth child and third daughter born to her parents.

In 1908 at her parent's home at age 19, she married Jasper Newton Cox, 24, who only months before had been discharged from the Army after serving five years.  They had grown up together in the same town, being neighbors, and attended the Select School together.  The first date they ever had was to go to church.  "Newton didn't have his own buggy, and always hired one to go courting in.  It seemed like he always picked the wildest horse he could get at the livery stable," she told me.  "And so," she said, “they had been married 66 years when he died in 1974 at the age of 90.

Newton and Eva Cox had three children, Gilbert Owen who married Frances Altman;

March 10, 1977 tape:  Grandmother:  “Yes, I had a sewing machine.  The first one I had came from Sears and Roebuck.  We were living on a farm in Kentucky.  Eula Mae was a baby.  I was so proud of that machine.”

Every year, her birthday on March 31 was a big event and everyone who could, came to help her celebrate it.  As long as she lived in her own home, it was celebrated there; after she moved to Tyler to live with her youngest daughter, it was celebrated at my aunt's home.  All her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren tried to come, if possible.  In 1988 she reached a milestone and celebrated her 99th birthday.  Her three daughters gave a party for her at Darrell's home, and as always there were flowers, a beautiful cake with candles, and punch.  We all called on her to make a wish, to which she promptly stated, "I hope you all live to be a hundred.  You deserve it."

A wonderful story teller, Eva Cox recounted spell-binding stories of family happenings and day-to-day living in an era that is gone forever.  As her oldest granddaughter, I visited her frequently to collect her life history. Though it was hard times, she made even the Depression years seem exciting!  She left a legacy - her life history, preserved on cassette tapes over a 17-year period, which will ultimately become the basis for my book about her life, her parents, brothers and sisters, and her grandparents, one of whom was a Civil War soldier.  He was Thomas Smith, who fought on the Union side, and was captured by a group of Confederates on New Year's Day near Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1862.  He never returned home from the war.

While Eva Cox did not make much history herself, she lived through some of the most momentous years in recorded history.  Seventeen presidents of the United States were inaugurated after her birth.  Several have sent her greetings, including one on her 99th birthday from President and Mrs. Reagan.  Numerous wars have been fought, won and lost.

My grandmother's early Kentucky tales recall the family smokehouse, making syrup and soap, moving from their old log house to a new two-story log house built by her father when she was five, home chores, her brothers and sisters, play parties, church activities, and her courtship and marriage.  Her tales filled many pleasurable hours for our family members while sitting out on the back porch, or after a special Sunday dinner while sitting around her dining table. 

She told many stories to her grandchildren when they were young.  I asked her once if the stories were true, and she chuckled and said, "Some were, but some I made up."  All of the stories, though, were very entertaining.  When she was trying to get us to take a nap, we lay on the bed and she played little games with us, which we will always remember.  Her favorite songs were "My Old Kentucky Home,"  "Little Brown Church in the Wildwood" and "Sweet Hour of Prayer."   When she lived in Kentucky, she and her sisters and families attended the old Bald Knob Church.
Every year everyone in the family who was home went over to her house to watch the Kentucky Derby with her.  My grandmother always tried to watch it, and when they played "My Old Kentucky Home" before the race started, one time she rose from her chair and stood with her hand on her heart.  She said there was no other song like that one; it always reminded her of her home and native state, and so it was another of her favorites.


Eva Caroline Smith
Mar 31, 1889 – December 4, 1988

Darrell left me her copy of Grandmother's "Day Book" that was written by her own mother, Sarah (Sanders) Smith, for each of her children. (She died a year later, November 20, 1931).  It was a long, thin, gray, canvass-covered ledger book...100 pages.  At the end Sarah Smith wrote:

            "June 18, in the year 1930" --  below this date she wrote these words:

"Mrs. Eva C. Cox, My Daughter, this Book is written in Rememberance
of your Mother.  With lots of love.   Mrs. Sarah Smith."

What a great thing for her to do and she must have worked diligently a little bit each day to make one of these for each of her eight living children.  It must have helped to pass lonely days, and she realized how valuable it would be for each of her children to have - "lest they forget."

She wanted them to know where their roots were.  She was undoubtedly a very smart and intelligent woman, with great common sense.

She was still telling her life stories to me, even six months before her death.  She had a wonderful recall and memory, and a dry wit, coupled with a soft-spoken voice that had just a hint of a Kentucky brogue.  She almost made it to her 100th birthday; she was ill for about four months and died at the age of 99 years, eight months and six days.

My mother, Frankie Cox and my grandmother, Eva Cox


Her obituary which appeared in the Tyler Morning Telegraph on Monday, December 5, 1988 is quoted here:

"Mrs. E. C. Cox Services Tuesday"

Services of Mrs. Eva Caroline Cox, 99, Tyler, are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Lloyd James Funeral Home chapel with Dr. Paul W. Powell officiating. 

Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery in TylerMrs. Cox died Sunday in a Tyler hospital after a lengthy illness.

She was born March 31, 1889 in Cromwell, Kentucky.  She was a housewife. She had been a resident of Texas since 1919, living in New Summerfield for 40 years and Tyler for four years.  She was preceded in death by her husband, J. N. Cox in 1974 and a son, Gilbert O. Cox in 1984.

Survivors include three daughters, Mrs. Darrell Appl, Tyler, Mrs. Eula Mae Smith, Leoti, Kansas, and Mrs. Retha Green, Corpus Christi; six grand-children, 12 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great grandchildren.

Interment will be in Rose Hill Cemetery."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Second Smith Daughter

Mary Elizabeth Smith
Born May 10, 1885 – Died July 8, 1975
Md January 11, 1905

Everett Sandefur
August 23, 1885- June 21, 1954

Mary Elizabeth Smith, called “Lizzie” by her family, was the second daughter born to James T. and Sarah (Sanders) Smith.  She was lively and fun, always getting into mischief and pulling pranks, and married when she was twenty to Everett Earnest Sandefur, also twenty, the son of Lucian A. Sandefur and Mary Emily Beck. 

Everett and Lizzie went to Texas on their honeymoon, and I have a good studio picture of them sitting in a buggy in front of a store in Beaumont.  !n 1912, they were living in Orange, Texas, not far from Beaumont, when their daughter was born.  Later, they lived in Edgerly, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana for a period of several years, before moving to Palestine, Texas. Everett went to work in a store there, and in later years owned his own grocery store in Palestine.

This couple had one child, a daughter, Joye, who married Frank Moore, in 1931.  They had no children.

My grandmother and her older sister were very close and their two families lived together in a number of different places.  Joye was like another sister to my dad and his three sisters.

March 7, 1977 tape – Retha:  “Tell about Auntie fighting at Bunker Hill when you started home from school.  (Laughter)” 

Grandmother: “Well I was quite small, and Auntie was four years older than me.  But from the time we got out of school after we had started home, and there was boys and girls all the way, and they would have a fight.  They chunked at each other, playing, you know.  Not really fighting…just scuffling.  And I think they called it Bunker Hill.  Auntie would pull off her fascinator (that you put over your head and tied them under each end to keep you warm.) …Auntie would pull off her fascinator and that’s where they would have their last battle on their way home.  They would get her fascinator and throw it up in the trees…so it would catch up in the trees.  There were three roads, and they turned one way and we turned the other.  And she would get their cap…and no telling what she did do with that…probably went higher than the trees, knowing Auntie.”

“Oh, at Easter we always got new hats and shoes, and clothes.  And Ella and I both got us an Easter hat.  And it was called leghorn.  And it was white and had red roses on it…for Easter.  And it was real broad-brimmed.  And the next Easter, I believe it was, I got one that was real pretty…it was kindly turban shaped, straw…pretty straw, and it had a veil over the crown and then inside, it had a whole wreath of forget-me-nots.  Blue ones and pink ones.  It was real pretty and I really liked that hat.  Yes, that’s what we wore.  We always had new dresses and new slippers…new clothes for Easter.  Ma made all of those dresses because she had a sewing machine.  That’s why Della did a lot of the house work, because Ma did all the sewing.  Della was real good.”

 Della Catherine Smith Taylor & Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith Sandefur,
Sisters - the two oldest daughters of James Thomas & Sarah (Sanders) Smith

Mary Elizabeth Smith
May 10, 1885 – July 8, 1975

Auntie told me a number of stories about growing up that I wish I had recorded but did not.  One of the things she told was about her grandmother, Kitty Ann Smith, and her children, sitting around in chairs picking cotton seeds out of cotton bolls and putting the seeds in cups.  Each child had a cup.  They were doing this when the Rebels came and invaded their farm and took their wagon and blue geese, and tried to find her money.  However she had it wrapped up in her quilt scrap pieces in her lap and they didn’t find it.  I do have this story below that Auntie told me:

"Auntie said their house was a big two-story house, painted white, with pretty wall paper.  The bedrooms were all upstairs and they had one bedroom downstairs.  They had alots of flowers and the prettiest garden with peonies that looked like wax - red and white.  At the end of the garden walk, the landscape stair-stepped, and they had a grape arbor with slatted roof-top.

Auntie said that Grandma Sanders' house had a summer kitchen where they cooked and canned.

She also said they had a dog, named Old Sport that bit Grandmother once by the chimney.
They had a smoke house out behind the house.  She could remember that her father killed 16 hogs one cold winter day, and there are lots of people there.  They let her walk to Grandma Sanders' house to get a knife to use in the hog-killing.

Lilacs arrived in the early spring and those hardy shrubs filled spring with its delicate scent and profusion of blooms - white and purple.


When Auntie and Uncle got married in 1905, they came to Texas on their honeymoon - and Joye gave me a picture of them taken in Beaumont, sitting in a fine looking buggy  - and they were a good-looking young couple. 

They moved to Palestine, Texas in 1929 - probably from Mexia in Limestone County.  At one time, Uncle had a filling station, and Frank worked in it after school.  I've forgotten who told me that.  He next had a grocery store.  Uncle's Grocery Store,"Sandefur's Grocery" store was located at 601 West Reagan Street, Palestine, according to the 1937-1938 Palestine City directory.  Their residence was in the Southview Addition.  Ten years later in the 1947-1948 city directory, both addresses remained unchanged.


E. E. Sandefur Rites Wednesday
Obituary from the Palestine Daily Herald,
Tuesday, June 22, 1954



             Funeral services for E. E. Sandefur, 68, will be held in the Bailey Funeral Chapel at 6 p.m. Wednesday with the Rev. Morris House, pastor of First Methodist Church, officiating. 

Burial will follow in New Addition Cemetery.

            Mr. Sandefur died at 7:15 p.m. Monday in Memorial Hospital, following an illness.

             Born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, he came to Palestine to make his home in 1929.  He had operated Sandefur Grocery Store here for the past 19 years.

            Pallbearers will be Fred Rogers, J. D. Glenn, Lacy Kendrick, Robert Bristow, Bill Presley, O. R. Williams, Weldon Bynum and Ed Lockey.

            Survivors include his wife; one daughter, Mrs. Frank Moore of Palestine; three brothers, C. W. Sandefur of Mexia, Adrian Sandefur of Pasadena, Calif., and John Sandefur of Alamosa, Colo; and one sister, Mrs. Virginia Taylor of Beaver Dam.

Mrs.  Sandefur
Obituary from The Palestine Daily Herald,
Wednesday, July 9, 1975

                                             Mrs. Sandefur
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Sandefur of Palestine, died Tuesday morning in a local hospital following a long illness.

Funeral services will be held in Bailey Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. Thursday with the Rev. Jim Crawford officiating.  Burial will be in New Addition Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be J. D. Glenn, W. A. Fuller, Jr., Robert Bristow, Weldon Bynum, Herbert Schuler and David Dial.

Mrs. Sandefur was born May 10, 1885 in Ohio County, Kentucky, to James T. and Sarah Sanders Smith.  She had resided in Palestine for the past 46 years and was preceded in death by her husband, Everett E. Sandefur, on June 21, 1954.  Mrs. Sandefur was a long standing member of the First United Methodist Church and Women's Society of Christian Service.

Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Frank Moore of Palestine; three sisters, Mrs. J. N. Cox of New Summerfield, Mrs. Della Taylor of  Beaver Dam, Ky., and Mrs. Roy T. Stewart of Cromwell, Ky.; two brothers, Ellis Smith and H. X. Smith, both of Cromwell, Ky. and several nieces and nephews.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Five Smith Daughters

Four oldest daughters of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith

Select, Ohio County, Kentucky

About 1908-09 – Ohio Co. KY:  Ella and Eva (Standing);
Smith Sisters - Della & Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie), Seated
Youngest sister, Fannie Mae, is missing. (She was about 9 years old
and probably at school when this picture was made.)

The Five Daughters of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith
Select, Ohio County, Kentucky

The Smith family stories come from the past, but continue on into the future, through their descendants.

Daughter One:

Della Catherine (Smith) Taylor
Born Nov 5, 1880 – Died Oct 17 1975
Md.  22 March 1913

Fleming Letcher Taylor
Born April 8, 1876 – Died March 6, 1960

Della Catherine Smith, born 5 November 1880, was the daughter of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith and was named for her two grandmothers.  She married Fleming Letcher Taylor, March 22, 1913, at Select, Ohio County, Kentucky.  She was thirty-two and he was thirty-eight.

This couple had four children:  two sons, Jewel D.; Eldred S. Taylor; and two daughters, Evelyn Taylor and Valois Taylor.


Excerpt from Grandmother’s tape recording about Aunt Della’s family:

“Della always got up and got breakfast, and always got up and built a fire in the fire place.  That little bitty thing.  And then she would come wake up everybody and tell them breakfast was ready.  She would have a great big bread pan full of buttermilk biscuits baked, and ham and eggs and all, and put them on the table.  She was an angel all her life.”

Jerri (Janice Brown): “And didn’t you say she got her buckets and went to milk?”  Grandmother:  “Yes.”

Jerri:  “How come she wound up with all the work?”

Grandmother (GM):  “I guess we…all the rest of us was kind of lazy.   (Laughter).   We had our chores, too, but not as many as she did.  But she never complained.” 

Jerri:   “And did she do the washing? “

Grandmother:  “Yes, but we all helped with that – but Della did the ironing.  I never ironed a thing in my life until I was married.  I didn’t know anything.  But we would carry the wood in and build a fire around the kettle, and keep the fire going, and carried her water to rinse in.  We had a big spring of water right there by the shade tree.

 “Della always done the ironing, and Ma did the sewing.  Everything was starched and ironed as slick as a ribbon, and Della was the one that done it.  And on them old flat irons, where they would get black on them.  GM:  “Yes, but we helped.  But she did all the ironing.”

Excerpt from Evelyn Elmore’s letter to Janice Brown – July 25, 2010:
(Evelyn Elmore is still living in a nursing center in Louisville in 2015.  Evelyn’s  address is:  Telephone 502- 477—5972, 625 Taylorsville Road,
Taylorville, KY 40071).

“Yes, Mother was the oldest child and was named for Great Grandma Fidella (Porter) Sanders (and aunt Caddie Stinchfield – her name was Della Catherine (Smith) Taylor.
(Actually she was named for both grandmothers – Fidella (Porter) Sanders and for Catherine “Kitty Ann” (Jenkins) Smith, I believe, which was the custom at the time.  The oldest daughters were usually named for their two grandmothers, and the oldest son was named for his two grandfathers).

“Grandma Fidella came and got mother when she was born and kept her almost 2-1/2 years til Uncle Charley was born.  (She was spoiled – by her two uncles and the Sanders).  So they told Grandma to get Della’s (mother) clothes ready – Grandpa was coming to get her so she could watch her Baby Brother and rock the cradle, if or when he cried.  She said Della kicked and screamed for Grandma Sanders as she was handed up to Grandpa Jimmy on a horse. So…Mother said she cared for each child as they came along.  Next was Aunt Lizzie – Bettie - (“Auntie” to us and Retha and Darrell).  Then Uncle Ellis, then Aunt Eva, then Aunt Ella and then Uncle Harb, (Ollie Perry died at four years old).  Then came Aunt Fannie Mae.

“Mother got her horse and went to Select (pronounced SEE-lect per Grandmother Cox- JB) after grocery’s, etc.  Grandmother “Sarah” had typhoid fever – was in the parlor – away from the family.  She went into a coma for about two days and nights and Mrs. Raley would set by her bed day and night and take wet cotton and keep her lips damp – no response – and Grandpa was worried sick.  They would keep the children in the yard a lot.” 
July 22, 1978 tape:  Grandmother: “I’ll tell you, your Aunt Della could cook biscuits.”

Eula Mae:  “Do you remember Uncle Letcher’s phonograph?” 

G.O.  “Sure can.”

Jerri:  “What were the names of the songs that you and Joy and Eula Mae marched around and around and around to?”

Eula Mae:  “You ‘member that Victrola?  We marched and marched.”

Grandmother:  “Auntie had that Victrola.”

G.O.  “The Double Eagle.”

Eula Mae:  “Yes, that was it.”

Darrell:  (Hums it)

Eula Mae:  “Didn’t Uncle Letcher…wasn’t that “The Poor Old Man?”  Wasn’t’ that the one?” 

G.O.  “He had a cylinder Victrola.  A Victrola that had cylinder records on it.  And he had one called the Poor Old Man.  And that’s the one we liked and always played.  But he had a whole bunch of them stacked up there.  We always liked to go down there to Uncle Letcher’s house – Aunt Della’s husband.”

Eula Mae: “Aunt Della would give us…what kind of pie was that she would always give us?”

G.O.  “Gooseberry.  Gooseberry pie.” 

Eula Mae:  “I thought it was butter scotch or something.”

G.O.  “It was gooseberry.  And she had a lot of white leghorn chickens.  And boy, she would really fry them chickens up …when we went down there.  And they had a wire to catch them with, with a hook on the end of it.  And go out in the back yard and snare those chickens.”

Grandmother:  “Aunt Della was a pretty good cook.”

Eula Mae:  “Yes, she was.”

G.O.  “She could really cook them.  There’s two things I remember about her cooking.  Three really.  The fresh roast ears she cooked. And that fried chicken.  And gooseberry pie.  And no one else that I ever knew of in Kentucky ever had any gooseberries.”

Eula Mae:  “I thought it was sweet potato pie.”
Mildred Bolton:  “Yes, she could really cook, and my Aunt Josie could too.  Aunt Josie cooked like grandma.”

When we visited Ohio County in 1975, we visited Aunt Della. I never shall forget her.  She was in a nursing home, and when my dad and I walked into her room, she held up her arms for a hug, and said, “Oh, Gilbert, I thought you would never come.”  She was so happy to see him and tears were in both their eyes.  My dad was later to say that he wouldn’t take anything for that trip to Kentucky!  The next month he bought a new station wagon and took my mother, his mother, and his three sisters, and they all went back together.  My grandmother said it was the first time she had ever been back home with all of her children.

Aunt Della and grandmother had a nice visit, although Aunt Della died on the last morning of their visit.  They went by to tell her goodbye, only to learn that she had passed away during the night.  The girls (Eula Mae, Retha and Darrell) thought it best not to tell her for fear it would upset her so terribly and spoil the trip, so they waited until they got back to Summerfield to tell her.  And she accepted it very well as she was so thankful to have seen all her brothers and sisters once more – Uncle Harb, Uncle Ellis, Aunt Ella and Aunt Della, who ranged in age from 78 to 95.  Aunt Della was ninety five when she passed away.

Obituary was carried in The Ohio County, News, Thursday, October 23, 1975:

Mrs. Della Taylor

BEAVER DAM – Mrs. Della Taylor, 94, died Friday, October 17, Ohio County Rest Home, Beaver Dam.

            Mrs. Taylor was born in Ohio County, November 5, 1880, and was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist Church.  Her husband, Letcher Taylor, preceded her in death in 1960.  

            Survivors include two daughters, Valois Shuffett and Evelyn Elmore, both of Louisville; eight grandchildren; eight great-grand-children; two brothers, Harb and Ellis Smith, both of Cromwell, and two sisters, Mrs. Ella Stewart, Cromwell, and Mrs. Eva Cox, Troup, Texas.   

            Funeral services were at 2 p.m., Sunday, October 19, at 2 p.m., Danks Funeral Home, with     the Rev. Malcolm Couch, pastor of Liberty United Methodist Church, officiating.  Burial was in Liberty Church Cemetery.

Another obituary in The Ohio County News, Hartford, KY dated March 11, 1960, was almost identical to the one above,   However, it did mention that he was a native of Ohio County and that Casebier Funeral Home, Beaver Dam, was in charge of the arrangements.

My dad remembered when he was about ten of riding his horse to his Uncle Letcher's grist mill to have corn ground for his grandfather, James Thomas Smith and Sarah (Sanders).  Letcher married their daughter, Della Catherine.

Della Catherine (Smith) and husband Letcher Taylor and
little son, Jewel Taylor.  Della is oldest sister of Eva (Smith) Cox


"Letcher Taylor Dies at Age 83"
   "Letcher Taylor, 83, died at 3 a.m., Sunday at his home in the Mt. Pleasant community.  He was the son of Dow and Gabriella Ford Taylor.  He was a member of the Woodmen of the World.

    He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Della Smith Taylor; two daughters, Mrs. Evelyn Elmore and Mrs. Valois Shuffette, both of Louisville; two sons, Jewell Taylor, Beaver Dam; Eldred Taylor, Terre Haute, Ind., and nine grandchildren.

    Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Liberty Methodist Church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. William Perkins.  Burial was in the church cemetery. 

    Pallbearers were Kenneth Baize, Samuel Crowder, John Iler, Arthur Crabb, Charles Smith and Roy Stewart."


An obituary for Eldred, son of Letcher and Della (Smith) Taylor was copied by me from information Edith Davis had in 1975 when I visited with my parents, husband, and daughter, Amy, six.  He was born 26 Jul 1915; died 05 May 1974.  In 1920 and 1930, he was living with his parents at Cromwell on Hicks and Manly Road.   He was 22 in the 1940 census, living in the home of his parents, along with his twin sister, Eveline, age 22.

Eldred enlisted in Army June 15, 1945 at Indianapolis, IN.  His tombstone says Dy. Sgt. U.S. Army, WWII - Liberty Cemetery, Ohio Co. KY.

Obituary is in two newspapers:  the Ohio County News and the Ohio County Messenger - Jan 22, 1965.

Eldred S. Taylor

                        Eldred S. Taylor, 58, of Terre Haute, Indiana, died
Sunday at Terre Haute, son of Mrs. Della Smith Taylor
                        and late Letcher Taylor.

                        Member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church.

                        Survivors:   Son, Rodney Taylor – Terre Haute
                         Daughter, Tammy Sue Taylor, Terre Haute.  
                        Two sisters, Valois Shuffert and Evelyn Elmore,
                         both of Louisville, Ky,
                        Burial in Liberty Cemetery.

Contributed by Janice Brown. More to follow.