Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The James Thomas Smith Family - Part 14

Harb X. “Hobby” Smith

Born 19 Dec 1897 – Died 18 Nov 1982

and wife 

Mary Josephine “Josie” Johnson

Aug 12, 1898 – Feb 1, 1978 

            Harb Smith was the youngest son of James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith, born in Ohio County, Kentucky in the winter of 1897.  When he was 22, he married Mary Josephine “Josie” Johnson, age 21, and this couple had four children:  James Cleatis, Glendon Lewis, Charles Harb, and Mary Lou.  His favorite attire all his life was blue bib overalls, and I think someone told me he was buried in his overalls. 


          October 24-1976 – Grandmother:  “Harb took some little pigs to Cromwell to sell.  And this lady wanted one and asked how much.  Harb told her $10, and the lady said the pig wasn’t worth $10.  And he told her, “Anything that can squeal and has a tail is worth $10.  (Isn’t that awful?  Laughter from us.)  But she went on and bought that pig.”  (Grandmother sees tape recorder, and said, “I forgot you had that on.  I shouldn’t have told that.”) 

          On a tape dated May 1, 1977…there was mention about Harb’s little puppy that Pa and Ma got him, when Harb was little. 

          “Yes, Ma and Pa and Harb got a little dog.  They named him Turk and he was a little bitty dog, but Pa never would allow a dog in the house.  That’s just one thing he wouldn’t have.  But Harb would stick that little puppy under his coat and in by the fireplace…right close to the jam, and he would have that little puppy under his coat, sitting there with it.  But he didn’t keep him that way very long. 

          “Harb went to a ball game every evening.  His crop needed working out, and I remember them telling how he went to the field to work, but he unhitched his old horse from the plow and got on that horse and went to the baseball game. He always wanted to play ball.” 

          July 22, 1978:   G. O.:  “Aunt Josie could skin a squirrel faster than anyone I ever seen.” 

          Mildred:   “I’ve heard my mom and dad say that.  They had never seen anything like it.  They would come in with five or six squirrels and we would go down behind the chicken house made out of logs, and she just took that hide off of them before you could think about it and lay each one of them on another log…just going up. 

          “I went there many a morning, and this has been since we were here in Salt Lake even, and that was before they moved down to Cromwell.  When they lived up there on the old home place.  And Uncle Harb knew how mama loved squirrel, and he would get up bright and early and go out and kill a squirrel and we would have it for breakfast.  And she could make the best gravy I ever tasted.  I haven’t tasted one in years.” 

          GO:  “I’ll tell you.  Aunt Josie and Uncle Harb hadn’t been married long when we were back there, and I would go with them when they went to work in the tobacco fields over on the old Chancellor place.  And they had a big tank over there and it was all grown up with grass and big old bull frogs all around there.  

          “And she would fix me a piece of red flannel on a fishhook and while they were out there working in that tobacco, well, I would go around the bank of that tank and drop it down and I couldn’t see where they were.  I would just hear a frog  hollering and I would go over there and put it down there, and first thing you know, down would go the pole.  And I would catch those bull frogs.  But I hunted with Hobby all the time and she would play with me.  And I would go down on the side of the hill behind the house and there was a bank of coal down there on the hill – slate…”. 

          Tape March 7, 1977:  

          G.O.:  “But my Aunt Josie would play with me.  That’s the reason I always liked her and Uncle Harb.  They were the youngest.  She would help me set them hooks out…in a little tank where the horses drank…and cows.  And we would catch little perch.  They hadn’t been married very long…maybe five or six months.  They would take me with them everywhere they went…and that was good.  

          “She would get me a piece of red flannel, and I had a fishing pole, and over on the Chancellor place they had a great big old pond and boy there was bull frogs over there.  And grass grew around it where I couldn’t see over the top of it.  Higher than my head.  And I would take that pole and stick it over the top of that grass with that piece of red flannel on a fish hook and every now and then one of those great big old bull frogs would jump out there and get it.  And boy, I would pull it up over that grass with that pole and his old tongue would be out that far.  And he would be just a croaking.  And we would take them home and they would skin them, and we would have fried frog legs.  Aunt Josie would clip them.  She was just by that like she was about squirrels.  She could skin a squirrel faster than anybody I have ever seen.  

          “I think her name was Johnson before she was married.  She could play the guitar and play the French harp.  Sang.  She even composed songs…I never will forget one that she composed, and I thought it was grand.  And it had a real good tune to it, and she could pick it on the guitar and sing it.  And the name of it was “Take Me Home in The Moonlight.”  And she would pick that and sing.  I’m trying to think of how it went.  Oh, I have forgotten how it went now.  But she could pick Clover Blossom on that guitar and sing it.  And it was pretty.  She would sing it.  (Daddy started singing…” 

                             “Clover blossoms, clover blossoms,

                             Waving in the pale moonlight.

                             Fills my heart with tender longing,

                             For that old home tonight.”


                             “How I ponder, as I wonder.

                             From the folks so far away.

                             And the little girl who’s waiting

                             In the fields of new mown hay.


          “Well, I can’t remember all of it.”  (I thought he was doing well to remember that much!)

Why I thought she was the grandest person.  She would sing that, and she would sing: 

                             “In the cool, shady night

                             Take me home by the moonlight.

                             In the cool, shady night,

                             Take me home”…


          “And I can’t remember the rest of it, but she would just make that guitar talk while she was singing it.  When she would sing it, you could almost be able to see it in your imagination.  That’s why I have remembered it, I guess.  Well, she was young.  And being a daughter-in-law.  She didn’t work as hard as everybody else.  And I guess they didn’t ask her to either.  And I know if there was something hard to do, she would do her part of it.  She wasn’t lazy.  But if she didn’t want to, she didn’t.” 


Harb X Smith

Dec 19, 1897 – Nov 18, 1982 

 BEAVER DAM – Harb Smith, 84, of Cromwell died Thursday, Nov. 18,    1982,   at Ohio County Hospital, Hartford.  He was born in Ohio County,  was a retired farmer, and was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist  Church and Cromwell Lodge No. 692 F&AM.


 Survivors include a son, Charles H. Smith of Cromwell; a daughter, Mrs.  Bobby H. (Mary Lou) Penrod of Owensboro; five grandchildren; a great- grandson; and a sister, Eva Cox of Troup, Texas.


 Services are at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at William L. Danks Funeral Home,  Beaver Dam.  Burial in Sunnyside Cemetery.  Visitation after 11:30 a.m.  today at the funeral home. 


            An obituary from the Ohio County Times dated 9 February 1978, page 4, reads: 

"Mrs. Josie Smith" 

"Cromwell -- Mrs. Josie Smith, 78, died Wednesday, February 1, at Ohio County Hospital.  She was a member of Bald Knob United Methodist Church.


    Survivors include her husband, Harb Smith; two sons, Charles H. Smith, Cromwell and James Cletus Smith, St. John, Indiana; a daughter, Mary Lou Penrod, Owensboro; five grandchildren; a great grandchild; a brother, Chester Johnson of Cromwell, and a sister Dee Shields, Hartford.

Services were at 1 p.m., Friday, at William L. Danks Funeral Home, Beaver Dam. Burial was in Sunnyside Cemetery.




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