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.

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