Newspaper Articles

Reunion of Friends Born About 1833 in Madison County

Found this delightful story in a 1900 newspaper from Madison County.  I must say, the Smith’s knew how to treat their guests!

from The Richmond Climax, Madison County, Kentucky

Wednesday, December 12, 1900

1833 – A Happy Reunion – 1900

Last Friday Mr. James W. Smith gave a big dinner in honor of his uncle, Mr. William Smith, of Fayette, Howard County, Missouri.  These old friends of the latter and companions of his boyhood days were at the table:  Messrs. Peter and Samuel Phelps, Calvin and Overton Burgin, Samuel Shearer, William Bennett, W. K. Denny, A. T. Chenault and Major Curtis F. Burnam.  Of the repast, it is superfluous to speak.  Mrs. Smith, the lovely hostess, had prepared for the enjoyment of the guests every delicacy to tempt their appetites, and though the guest of honor is a loyal citizen of the Sucker State there was no Missouri compromise, everything being strictly Kentuckian, even down to Old Kentucky hams, that has no rival among the beasts of the field or the birds of the air.  The biggest and most dignified gobbler on Stoney Run had been slain in honor of this feast, added to which was sauce from the gregarious cranberry, as red as claret which tinted with delicate richness the complexion of the succulent celery.  The sportive oyster was there in soup and shell, leaping from aged tongues into still youthful stomachs to die there in ecstatic bliss.  All things else from a well-filled larder, sundry toothsome dishes and divers condiments, made a feast that was fit for the gods.  All the guests had passed the three-score mile post, and some had gone beyond the fourth, but they knew it not that day; for time had turned backward for once on his way, and made them all boys again, just for that day.  The whole house was given over to their enjoyment, and it rang with the unrestrained laughter of the delighted assembly as joke after joke, yarn after yarn had been spun amid loud ha-has and hurrahs!  It was a glorious reunion and will dwell long and pleasantly in the memories of all.

A brief mention of the guest in whose honor the occasion was given may be interesting, being a native of this county, which he left in 1854, and has not visited since 1885.

William Smith was born in 1833 on what is now called the Billy McChord place.  He is the third child of James and Nancy Howard Smith, deceased, the latter a sister of Benjamin Howard, all old Kentucky pioneer stock.  James Smith was a brother of John Smith, of this county, father of Mrs. Dawson Oldham and Mrs. David A. Chenault, all deceased.  Mr. Smith’s grandfather, James Smith, came in 1790 from Ireland and settled, and with his wife lies buried on the old David Chenault place on the ridge between the latter’s house and John Smith’s.

Mr. Smith has lost a brother, the late Presley Smith, and a sister, Mrs. Mary Jerman.  Himself and four younger brothers, Jason W., Thomas, Solon and Benjamin, all reside near each other in Missouri.  An only sister, the youngest child, Mrs. William K. Denny, lives in this city.

Mr. Smith tells an interesting story of his removal to Missouri.  It was in the year of the Great Drouth, 1854, and he rode horse-back to St. Louis, fording every stream except the Mississippi.  He went via Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, Terre Haute, Indiana, and St. Louis, occupying 15 days on the journey.  In Missouri, he was married to Miss Maria Louisa Robinson, whose mother was a Miss Sebree, Woodford County, Kentucky, her father being a South Carolinian.  They have one son and five daughters, one of whom is Mrs. McFerran-Crowe, of Versailles, who attended school in Richmond.  A bright saying of Dr. and Mrs. Crowe’s little Elizabeth was recalled by Mr. Smith: ‘Grandpa, where was God (during the Galveston storm?)’  ‘God was in heaven, my child,’ he replied.  ‘He was?’ she asked in surprise, ‘Well, He ought to have been in Galveston!’

A year ago, a brother, Mr. Solon Smith, visited Richmond and impressed himself most delightfully on all his old friends, and the writer recalling the sterling character of his Democracy, ventured to ask his brother if he, too, were a Democrat.  Whereupon Mr. Smith answered by narrating this story: ‘My wife’s uncle, a Mr. Sebree, went away out West and met a man of the same name, and naturally they wished to trace up their kinship, if possible.  The stranger was not much on ancestral history asked these three test questions.  ‘First, are you a Democrat?’  “Yes.” He replied.  ‘Second, are you a Baptist?’  ‘I am,’ was the response.  ‘Lastly, are you poor?’  ‘I certainly am,’ was the reply.  ‘Well,’ said the wild Westerner, ‘we are kinfolks, so come in and stay all winter!’

‘Excepting that I am a Campbellite, and not a Baptist,’ said Mr. Smith, I am of the same household as my brothers, political and otherwise.

After a few days sojourn among his old friends hereabouts, Mr. Smith will return to Howard County and, we trust, will soon return or send another member of the family that is so well remembered here in the place of their nativity, ‘The Old Kentucky Home.’

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