William Claiborne Smith................. Pots of Gold
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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    299 times

    William Claiborne Smith................. Pots of Gold

    William Claiborne Smith

    William Claiborne Smith was born in Tennessee on August 8, 1816.On October 19, 1841, in Cocke, Greene County, Tennessee, hemarried Elizabeth "Bettie" Bible. They had five children, allborn in Tennessee: Charles Wilson, Margaret Ann, James Monroe,Moses Elbert , and George Franklin.

    In 1853, the family left Tennessee for Collin County, Texas,where Bettie, the mother, died. William C. soon married Catherine Hunter and she became the stepmother of his fivechildren. William and Catherine's first child, John Preston,was born on November 28, 1855. He was a frail child and smallfor his age. When he was 18 months old, another baby was born,William Claiborne, Jr.

    When John was 3 years old, and so frail, they decided that achange of climate would be good for his health, so they came tonorthwest Arkansas in 1858. They came in prairie schoonerwagons, bringing the family and whatever they could. The journey was a long one, no roads but rough trails which led them througha section of the Indian Territory. Indians were not friendlyand Catherine was so afraid that when they camped at night thatthe baby would cry and divulge their location and they would bekilled. She said she almost smothered her baby, William, byholding him close against her lest he cry.

    Finally they arrived safely and bought land south of what is now Farmington. A log house was built, with huge rooms with greatfireplaces and a breezeway between. In the attic or garretthere were lookouts between the logs so that an approachingenemy could be seen, and in case of attack, guns could be firedfrom the lookouts.

    All their food was grown on the farm. Also, William C. was a miller and had a mill which brought in his cash crop. The familygrew rapidly and he and Catherine had several more children --Susan., Alice, Betty, and Kate.
    During the war between the States, the battle of Prairie Grovetook many lives, and the men stationed in Fayetteville would pass within sight of the house as they made their way into battle. One day the younger children were standing on and peeping through the rail fence, watching the Feds go by, when Margaret Ann (the older one of the first family of Smiths)called to the children to come in and not watch those Yankees.One of the officers heard he and called out, saying, "Let themalone, old lady, they will not see us again." This infuriatedMargaret, perhaps because she was not an old lady, and she said,"Never you mind sir, you will be coming back tonight much fasterthan you are going down this morning." That evening late abedraggled, wounded bunch of 'Yankees' straggled in to get somefood and to get their wounds bandaged, and the officer remindedAunt Margaret of her reply of the morning.

    During the war soldiers or bands of lawless men would comethrough and rob the people of anything they could lay theirhands on. Several times when men would come hunting for food oranything that could be carried off, they looked at the beamedceiling and saw a small greasy looking spot. Then they found the trap door that led to the attic or garret where the supply of meat and their apples and potatoes, etc, were hidden, so the family was robbed of its winter's food.

    William C. rode a fine gaited saddle horse to and from his mill,and on Saturday evenings he would bring home the money. Since there were no banks at that time, he hid his money (gold) in kettles which he buried on the farm. Catherine also hid money in the logs where she could pull out a knot hole and replace it.

    When Kate was 11 days old, William C. did not return home at his regular time and Catherine was walking the yard and worryingwhen the horse came home with blood on the saddle. Then a smallboy, Bob Wilson, (who in later years became a fine lawyer) came,and through his sobs told
    Catherine that her husband had been killed, murdered. At thattime, there were no men to go for the body, as it was in 1865just before peace was declared, so two young women took a twowheeled cart and an oxen and went to get the body. It was darkso they built a fire for the long night's watch, and threwburning brands at wolves to keep them away. The next morningthey lifted William C. in the cart, covered him with the quiltsthey had taken along, and brought him home. He was buried on thefamily land.

    A short time later, William H. Engels, a friend of the family,was asked to go to St. Louis to purchase a stone for William C.Smith's grave. So he went in a wagon, purchased the stone withthe inscription which read something like this: "W. C. Smith,born August 8, 1816, was a devoted husband and father, and wasmaliciously murdered on March 11, 1865. He was loved and trustedby all and he will be missed by his family and friends, buttheir loss is Heaven's gain."

    The gold which he had buried on the farm was never found by thefamily, though they searched for years.

    After William C.'s murder, Catherine grieved terribly and wouldeven go down in the field to his grave at night and weep andwail. However, she was still a young and beautiful woman, andwas courted and swept off her feet by a dashing young man,Abraham Allen, and they were married in about a year. Abraham,stepfather to the Smith children (John, William, Susan, Alice,Betty and Kate), was a drinking man and did not bring too muchhappiness to the family.

    Abraham Allen and Catherine had four children: Elizabeth(Lizzie), Martha, (Mattie), Robert Lee and Benjamin. Thesechildren were half brothers and sisters of the children ofWilliam C. and Catherine Hunter Smith, and no relation to thefirst set of Smith children, who also were half brothers andsisters to the children of William C. and Catherine Hunter Smith--- so it still remains a puzzle to many that the first set ofchildren were no relation to the third set, yet the middle setwas related to both the 1st and the 3rd.

    Catherine Hunter Smith Allen died of a stroke in 1901.

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    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2
    Feb 2011
    Mountain Home, Arkansas

    Re: William Claiborne Smith................. Pots of Gold

    Is this in North central Arkansas, close to Mountain Home, Norfork, Old Joe area along HWY 5 South

  3. #3
    Apr 2011
    NW Arkansas
    Teknetics Delta 4000
    It's between Farmington and Prarie Grove. Rheas Mill is closer to Farmington, The intersection for Rheas Mill road is a couple of miles from the Farmington high school. I'll be looking into this one.



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