Asa Smith (21 Sept. 1843-7 June 1920), born in Fentress County, Tn. was the son of
David (1918-186 ) and Frances (Fannie) (Cobb) Smith (1922-1891). David, a Unionist, and
his oldest child, Ahijah, were killed by bushwhackers during the Civil War. David Smith
was shot, according to one of his nieces, in his own back yard when was only a few weeks
old. His wife was making soap outside in a big kettle so their young daughter, Sarah, had
to finish making the soap as grease was so scarce they couldn't afford to waste it. David
is buried in the cemetery across from the house where he was shot on East Fork of Big
Indian creek. This cemetery is not on the WPA cheek list but it is called the
"Doogan" Smith Cemetery. Lettering on the native stone at his grave had flaked
away in 1983 but, about 14 years before, Welter Webb, of Cehna, had copied from the stone:
"D. Smit b. Se(pt), dec Feb. 1 ". Eleanor Jane (Smith) Stephens, daughter of
David, was buried there in 1890. Almost certainly Ahijah Smith is buried there, too. Both
Asa and Ahijah Smith were on muster roll of Beaty's Independent Scouts (Mtd.) A notation
on Asa's muster roll, "Served with B. last half of the war."
His paternal grandparents were Richard (1789) and Eleanor (Means) Smith (1789) who settled
on Indian Cr Overton County 1860-70. Richard was an elder in the West Fork Christian
Church. His fatherwas George Smith, Sr. (approx. 17601838), a slave owner and early Large
landowner in Overton County. He was in Randolph Co., N.C. at least 1801-07. His sons
Richard, John and George, Jr. were deeded property by his widow, Nancy, (probably second
wife) in 1839.
The parents of Eleanor (Means) Smith were Andrew (1746/49) and Nancy (Gray) Means. Born in
Dauphin Co., Pa., he served in the Revolutionary War from North Carolina where, in 1790,
they were living in Randolph County. They were in Overton County, Tn. 1807 to 1820, moving
to Clay County, Mo. where both died in 1826.
Asa Smith's maternal grandparents were Jesse Cobb (1790-1864) and Genetta (?) (Stephens)
Cobb. Jesse Cobb, born in S.C. according to 1860 census, settled in Poplar Cove. He was
Register of Deeds, on the committee to set voting districts for Fentress County in 1836,
and was a well-to-do farmer, He was given power of attorney by his brother-in-law, Sevier
Stephens, before he left for war in Mexico where he died in service at Puebla. According
to Mr. Hogue's History of Fentress County, Tennessee, Jesse Cobb fought at the battle of
Horseshoe Bend and was a democrat who attended the convention to nominate James K. Polk.
He is buried in the old Evens cemetery on Wolf River.
In 1907 Asa Smith applied "for such share as may be due me of the fund appropriated
... in favor of the Eastern Cherokees ... through my grandfather Jesse Cobb ... his mother
was a coker and she we a Cherokee Indian. She married a Cobb, my mother's maiden name:
Fannie Cobb". Claim was disallowed as fact of descent from a person who was a party
to the treaty of 1835-36 and 1846 was not established. Neither were many other Fentress
County claims through Jesse Cobb and others established.
David (1770-80) and Sarah (Long) Stephens (1789), daughter of Henry Long, were Asa Smith's
maternal great grandparents. His great-great grandparents were Thomas (1759-before 1839)
and Sarah (Miller) Stephens (12 Mar. 1757 in England). Thomas and Sarah Stephens are
buried in the Albertson Cemetery on Peavyhouse farm in Fentress County.
Asa Smith was married first to Nancy Emeline King (27 Feb. 1847-18 Jan. 1891), the
daughter of James (1815) and Elizabeth (Betsy) (Beaty) King (23 April 1822-25 Jan. 1888).
His parents were Thomas (1801-1978) and Jane (Jennie) (Mullenix) Beaty (1804/71 Jan.
1893). Children of Asa and Emeline (King) Smith were:
Mary Elizabeth (15 Dec. 1868-9 Jan. 1948) m. Lafayette F. Bowden
Martha (20 Nov. 1870-15 June 1948), m. George Winningham on 14 Feb. 1892. Her husband was
Sheriff of Pickett County and their son, Floyd, was his deputy. Both were killed while
making an arrest in 1933. A few months Later her only other child, Willie, Sheriff at
Albany, Ky., was killed under the same circumstances.
David D. (21 Oct. 1872-1 Dec. 1938), m. Ocia Delk 8 May 1897. He
was formerly Superintendent of Schools in Fentress County and later became a merchant,
farmer and timber man. He is buried in Spring City, Tn.
James (30 June 1875-28 Aug. 1952) married (1) Mary Ella Allred and (2) Laura Lemert. He
was also at one time Superintendent of Schools in Fentress County and later elected
Trustee of Cumberland County. At the time of his death he was a large landowner and
prosperous farmer in Rhea County. He is buried at Crossville, Tn.
Granville (Dandy) (15 May 1878-29 April 1942), m. Frances Martin on 25 Feb. 1912. He was
in timber business most of his life. He is buried at Crab Orchard, Tn.
Garfield (Dock) (1 Jan. 1882-1 Aug. 1963), m. (1) Maud M. Billingsley 3 Oct. 1909 and (2)
Carrie Broyles Porter. He was a successful farmer in Rhea County and was well known in
State agricultural circles. He served for a number of years on the Rhea County Court. He
is buried in Spring City, Tn. cemetery.
Ahijah (Hige) (20 Nov. 1987-13 Feb. 1912), m. Elizabeth Darnellon 1 Dec. 1905, Until his
last illness (with cancer), he was in timber business with his brothers.
Sherman N. (15 Sept. 1887-22 Jan. 1958), m. Birdie Bandy 5 June 1910. He received his law
degree from Cumberland University in 1914, practiced law in Tennessee and was eountyjudge
in Cumberland County; went to Vero Beach, Fla with his family in 1925 where he practiced
law until he became ill. He is buried in Vero Beach, Fla.
After the death of his first wife in 1891, Ase Smith married Nancy Jane Garrett in Mar,
1894. She was born 20 Dec. 1862 and died 10 Sept. 1923, the daughter of Richard Garrett
and Margaret (Smith) Garrett (ahe the daughter of Matthew Smith). Children of Ass Smith
and Nancy Jane (Garrett) Smith:
Joseph (29 Nov. 1895-April, 1933). He was never married. Received his B.S. from Middle
Tennessee State and his Master's from Peabody College. He taught at Birchwood High School
and was considered an excellent basketball coach.
Dora (4 July 1898-1982), m. Oswald Conatser 2 May 1927.
Cora (23 Jan.1901-19 Feb.l983,m.George Rich.
Luther Thomas (6 Oct. 1903-living in 1986) at Crossville, Tn. Married (1) Wilma Reagan and
(2) Alice Fox. He served in the ETO during World War II, was with State Institutional
Department and farmed until his retirement.
Thomas Greer, nephew of Emeline King Smith, was a frequent visitor to the home of the Asa
Smiths as the Greer and Smith boys took turns visiting each other. At the time Asa Smith
lived there, Thomas Greer said, his home was one of the best log houses around -- that
most of them had only one room but this one included a large L'loft" where the boys
slept. They had a dining table in the Largest of the rooms and always had plenty of
everything to eat, including "leather britches" (dried green beans) and dried
pumpkin. He said that Asa Smith was a quiet man, never said much unless he had something
to say, and that he was very easy on his children. He would dress up on Saturdays and ride
to town on his fine horse which no one else was allowed to ride. When H. Clay Evens spoke
at Rugby, he took his son Garfield (Dock) to see him. His son, Dock, said that as they
lived about half way between Jamestown and Livingston, they welcomed overnight guests
quite often. He said that they killed 30 or 40 hogs every year and sometimes paid workers
in meat. He raised lots of cattle, sheep and mules and kept several pairs of oxen and
mules at the logging camp where he had several people working for him. His younger
children would take feed and food to the camp about once a week. Asa Smith liked to read,
took several papers and read everything he could get including, especially, the Bible.In
later years he lost the place where his children were born at Boatland by signing notes
and bonds for others and having to pay them. Then he moved to Poplar Cove.
Garfield (Dock) Smith recalled in 1958 that his father was a good, moral man although he
did not belong to a church. "He didn't gamble, cuss or smoke but chewed
tobacco". The first time he indicated that he knew his son,Dock, chewed,they were in
the field and his father said, "Garfield, haven't you got a little chew?".
Garfield said he had the tobacco but was afraid to say so. He said he never wanted to give
anybody a chew so bad in his life. He said that the Smiths were Republicans and that their
philosophy was, "the least government is the best government."
Thomas Greer said that both of Asa Smith's wives were fine women and that he Liked both of
them. Dock Smith said that his mother, a devout Methodist, would go for miles on her fine
horse to "meetings". She did all her cooking for Sunday on Saturday so that she
didn't have to work on Sunday. For her funeral, which was held a few months after her
death in January, benches were made of slabs of lumber on blocks of wood for what seemed
to her son to be a thousand people attending (funerals were preached by Asbury Wright for
two other people that same day and place so there must have been a huge crowd).
One of the few things Dock Smith remembered about his grandmother Fannie Cobb Smith (she
lived with them) is that she was a very old woman who sat in the chimney corner and smoked
a clay pipe. He would get hot coals for her from the fire to Light her pipe.
In 1958, James Blaine Reagan, a Jamestown attorney, wrote to one of Ass Smith's
granddaughters: ". .. I helped to elect Asa Smith twice to the office of Road
Superintendent for Fentress County. He was one among the best men that I ever knew. ..
." Luther Smith, youngest child of Asa Smith, remembers that when his parents died,
their caskets were made of walnut by BiLly Pierce who made all the caskets in the vicinity
at that time. Trudy Bowden Randall, a granddaughter, recalls that Asa Smith was buried
with his shoes and hat on. He is buried between both of his wives in the Chism cemetery at
Boatland and all three graves have identical tombstones.
by Tennga S.Conner