Asa Smith

Asa Smith

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
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Posted with permission from Curtis Media Corporation
This page was last updated on 01/24/99.