Saturday, September 3, 2011




            I will now mention a few of the dead

            My brother, James Hamilton Smith, was killed at City point, Virginia, on August 9, 1864, while in the U. S. service during the Civil War.  The Rebels threw a torpedo into the U. S. Ordinance barge and blew her up, killing thousands of the Union soldiers, and he among them.  He was twenty-eight years of age, and the father said he looked just like his grandfather who is the hero of my “love story.”

            My nephew, Dr. Joseph Addison Burke, died on his thirty-first birthday.  He was a fine physician and had practiced four years.  He was married years before he died, but I never saw his wife.

            Little, sweet Rebecca Lorena Roe died when se was eight years old, and was greatly mourned by us, as she was so right and kind.

            Little James W. Dawson died when he was years old.  He had the rich, black Dawson eyes, and was a very bright, sweet child.  He was sister Priscilla’s only child.



            I desire to go back to the home of my childhood and let my journey’s march and where it began - amid the scenes of home.

            I am at my old home in Washington County, Ohio, in Decatur Township - to me the dearest place in the county, for here I was born and spent my happy childhood and girlhood days.  I was born in a large, hewn-log house, with large two-story buildings in front - with a wide-roofed hallway between them, leading to a large one-story, round log kitchen on the back of the house.  This kitchen was my parents’ first home in Washington County for a few months -- and they moved into it without windows or doors.  When it stormed they hung quilts in the windows and doorways until it was completed.  Soon after, they put up the rest of the house.

            Sister Priscilla would of ten talk of those old pioneer days, as she was in them and did most of the housework while we others were small children.  When I was three years old, my father erected a large frame house which is still standing on the old farm - in good condition.  My brother, Joseph - while he owned the farm - enlarged and improved the house until it was so big that he told me he was ashamed to look at it.  It takes lots of sweeping to care for it, as I kept house for him in it one year.

            The farm is now owned by Dr. A Howard Smith and Omie F. Smith.  I remember living in the house and sleeping upstairs in it.  I can remember when we were fourteen at the long dining table - our parents and twelve children.  For they never lost even a bale, and reared to manhood and womanhood all that were given to them.  And they of ten said - : We have not one too many.”  There is now standing at the corner where stood one of the front rooms of the log house, a pear tree that is very large and old.  I ate pears off from it last summer.

            I want to tell you about our moving from the old log house to our new, frame house which was nice for those times.  Joseph Place was the builder of it.  Excuse me - as I will say considerable about myself and that moving - as I am the only one I can remember distinctly.  It took the entire family to move me and my possessions - of cats, dolls and play things - as I was the baby and humored pet of the household.  All let me have my own sweet way - and if I did not want to do my own way, my four big brothers would make me do so.

            William grabbed me from my other three big brothers who each said - “I will set her in the new house first.”  He ran all the way with me and my best doll in his arms, while I kept saying - “William, William, where are the cats?”

            He said - “Here comes little Joe with the old gray cat!”
            “Yes, but where are the four lump kittens?”
            “Well, here come the twins, each with kittens in her apron!”

            We sat down by the big fireplace, in which was a fine, right wood fire.  We were a happy lot, with sweet young Maggie for our general out to play in the young orchards and groves around our beautiful new home - which had long rows of trees on each side of the front walk.  On both sides, the palm of Gilead, catalpa, walnut, coffee bean, different kinds of fir and the feathery hemlock mingle their foliage.  The song of the birds meets your ear, and the odor of roses and violets sweetens the air.

            The shrubbery was next to the walk = on both sides - where loomed the little early flowering almond and sweet scented shrub.  Father had planted all these before building the new house.  In these days we could see our dear old father with a pruning knife in his had, caring for all things growing in the front yard, and his three young orchards - in which there were a two-legged apple tree and a four-legged apple tree growing near the house.  He planted trees from his nursery one year, and the next year he grafted them together.  This made one top entrees.  One year he planted four trees near each other.  The next year he grafted of each of these together - and the third year he grafted these together - making one top on four trees.  We children would tie canvas around the four legs of the tree and carpet it with big pieces of moss, for a playhouse.

            My father had the first fruit nursery in that vicinity.  He always had a kind word and smile for each and every person who would meet him at work and while caring for his flower beds - whose beauty and fragrance I cannot describe, although I lived among them much of the time.  Father had every kind of flower that I can think of, and the little early primroses and daffodils were my delight - as he would tell me that these and his many peach trees were in full bloom on that lovely April morning when I was born.

            Maggie would take us out every fine day - for a walk or ramble - and she and “Jo” would build playhouses for us and carpet them with great, big pieces of green moss from big rotten logs.  It was Maggie’s pleasant duty to care for us four younger children while the older ones worked on the farm or spun the flax and wool to make our clothing.

            Our fine new big, six=legged dining tale, now in fine condition in the new home of Dr. a. Howard Smith, in Marietta, Ohio - at which we all dined k- was always covered with a handsome, white, pure linen tablecloth which mother had spun, and father or Priscilla had woven.  Father and mother never would eat without a white tablecloth as they desired their well supplied table to look cheerful and appetizing with its beautiful pink china dishes and some other pretty dishes - now in the homes of sisters Margaret and Lucinda - that they brought from Philadelphia.  Father never would eat without some extra fine meat on the tale, as he said a table was never properly supplied without good meat.  And he would always carve this meat himself and see that his many guests and children were properly served at table.

            Father’s large farm was, and is as yet, a very pretty and romantic place.  There are so many caves with water-falls and Indian mortars in them, and such beautiful rocks in lodges which, in some places, are covered with cat-tail moss, with long, bright green branches.  We would gather this every fall and fill vases with it for winter; and it would grow beautifully in the vases if we kept the water plentifully supplied.  We mixed with it a very delicate, small, round-leafed vine with small, round, bright-red berries on it.  These long, fine vines would hang down over the parlor mantle - and I have never seen more beautiful vases.  The little red berries were good to eat; which made the search for them the more interesting.

            Some of these large, romantic caves are hung with stalactites and have a great many human ones in them - of a large, six-fingered and six-toed race.  Eric Burnett has a lot of big bones which he took out of a cave on his place.  While digging a deep well on his place he found some mastodon ones and a tooth which still has enamel on it.  His home is near our old home.

            One-fourth of a mile from our old home, on sixty acres which my father gave to brother William (he ought forth acres joining it), is the historic old stone mansion which William C. Smith built in 1870.  It is known all over hat vicinity as one of the finest homes.  It is a huge pile of stone, pick-dressed and chisel-ordered - with four gales and slate-roofed.  There are large stone, twin columns in front, and an immensely big dressed stone resting on top of these columns, on which he cut the American Eagle and shield and darts - the cost of arms of the United States of America.  Above this stone is another finely dressed stone, on which he cut in large letters:

Erected By
In 1870

            And above this stone is a smaller square stone, on which he cut the names of his apprentices and men that helped to build the mansion.  These are:  S. Quinn, D. Newell, T. Stephens and S. Brooker.

            On the back of the cottage, on the lower part of the north gable - seen plainly from the railroad - is a grand, very large arch with a beautiful hanging keystone.  The cottage has a south front and a rolling terraced year.  A hemlock hedge cuts the upper part of the yard from the large lower grounds on which stand all kinds of large firs.  Passing through the front gate, an avenue of dark pines appears before you.  On both sides of the walk, leading up stone steps, the yellow age.  The song of birds meets your ear, and the odor of pines sweetens the air.  This large stone mansion is built on a high hill and the mountains of West Virginia can plainly be seen from it.

            Three children by name of Lee (brother William’s wife’s brother’s orphan children) were given a home here when they were very small.  And one of the girls, Roxy - now Mrs. George Remely - and her husband, with three children of his - one young girl and boys - and her brother, Theodore G. Lee, now occupy this beautiful home.  The mother of these children was Addie Lee, a first cousin of Roxy.  Brother William’s wife’s relatives will probably occupy Lincoln Cottage for many generations.  William’s wife was cousin of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army, and a cousin of the great Senator Ben Wade of Ohio.  Her mother as Ruth Wade, a very fine and refined lady.

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