It looked to be a lovely day, sunny and with the highest temperatures in weeks – 50°! And rain predicted for the rest of the week. So first, we raked the remainder of the leaves and cut the yews at the base of the patio wall way back. They are prostrate yews and threatening to prostrate themselves all over the lawn. I also spent some time confirming I was right when I blithely identified our tiny squirrels as red squirrels, and that the largest evergreens were Norway spruces. A new old house is an adventure in research and archaeology every day.
Robert is working part-time, telecommuting, and had put in most of his hours. We had two hours of daylight left. He suggested a walk in the park along the river, but it was getting cloudy, and I, wuss that I am, had had enough fresh air (it hadn’t quite reached 50). Friday, we had decided to come back from Fairmont down Route 19 rather than the interstate, and had ended up cutting across Meadowbrook Road. I had spotted Aaron Smith Road and Smith Chapel (the church – I had missed the unincorporated sign for the place entirely somehow) and told the kids (who are both grownups ;-) “I bet that is our Aaron Smith (long speech here about exactly how they are descended from Aaron Smith).” I checked my files and the web, and it was. So Robert and I went for a country drive to look for his grave. The kids have been to way too many cemeteries; thank goodness they had gone back to their own lives after Thanksgiving.
After turning left at Aaron Smith Road, since there was no graveyard visible at the church, and finding that it led to a gate for the Pete Dye Golf Club, turned around and crossed the highway to the road on the other side – which quickly came to a gatehouse with signs saying “FBI Police”. we turned around again and went on toward Route 19. I eventually spotted a graveyard on a small hill, as it turns out, now overlooking the golf course – I wonder what Aaron Smith thinks of that.
The graves of Aaron and Sarah (Allen) Smith are in the far corner, overlooking the creek, and obviously the starting point for the cemetery. The original stones are nearly illegible, but a modern stone with their names and dates has been added.
For those interested, Aaron and Sarah Smith were among the first settlers on Simpson Creek, northeast of what is now Bridgeport. Joshua and Libby Allen, Sarah’s parents, came to and James Smith and his second wife, came from Mercer County, New Jersey to the frontier of what is now West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Aaron’s mother, Ann Park, died in New Jersey. Aaron and Sarah were married in what was then Frederick County, Virginia in the fall of 1772, and moved west. Their first son, James Allen Smith, was born on Simpson Creek the next summer. Smith Chapel was founded in 1776, and is likely the oldest continuous Methodist congregation in West Virginia.
Aaron and Sarah’s sons Aaron Jr. and Israel moved south to Ritchie County, and Jonathan and some of Aaron’s children on to Roane and Gilmer Counties. Israel’s granddaughter Florinda married John Morgan Dye, and Aaron’s daughter Susannah married Henry Hill, which is how Suzanne Dye McMinn of Chickens in the Road and I came to be 6th cousins.
And of course, I got as much fresh air walking up to the graveyard as I would have gotten in that walk in the park.