George Joseph Smart (1875 - 1934)

Origins

George was born on May 2, 1875 in Beaver Township, Fillmore county, Minnesota, the oldest son of James and Margaret Smart.

Apparently, the 1880 census shows George, 5, living with his parents in Beaver.

Death Certificate
Birth Certificate not found : MN has birth records only from 1900

Clapp Family Record
Randy Smart has the original picture.

Single Days In Texas by Randy

George grew up in the care of his German mother and five older sisters. He was encourage to "succeed" and made familiar with a variety of life. By the time he was a young man, George had gathered some useful experience. Then, when George was only 20, his father suddenly died.

After the death of his father, he set off across the Badlands at it's most notorious period guided by seasoned brothers-in-law, Pete Kenney and Reuben Taylor, to trade the family land in Plainview--his only inheritance--for horses, the only thing they could get for it.

See Land for Horses

Marriage - Lora Vale Edgar

Randy Smart has the original picture.

George married Lora Vale Edgar on January 1, 1906 at the courthouse in nearby Arapaho, Oklahoma. He was 30--Lora was 20.

Lora Vale Edgar was born June 7, 1885 in Richmond, Ray county, Missouri to Paschal V. Edgar and Mary Jane Paul O'Bannon.

Having arrived in Clinton at the same time, the Smarts and Edgars became very close. The only Edgar boy, Jim, was rather large and happy-go-lucky. Whereas, George was small and more reserved--a man of expectations. They grew close over the years--sharing sister stories. In 1905, a proposal from a man with a thriving farm--a man of real estate--a man familiar with the whole family--put to Lora's 65 year old widowed father, was readily accepted. George was finally getting married. Jim, however, never would.--Randy

Marriage Records - Paschal's Letters to Lora Vale - Pension

Married In Oklahoma

They started their married life on a 160 acre farm, 6 miles out of Clinton, Oklahoma. The farm consisted of 90 acres of open ground, 15 acres of alfalfa, 20 acres fenced hogproof; all land fenced and crossed fenced. There were 2 wells and a cistern, plenty of running water. There was a 2 roomed house, a storm house, a 36 by 40 ft. barn, hog sheds, chicken house and yard; a large bearing orchard of all kinds of fruit and a nice grape vineyard, evergreens, shrubs and nice yard. There were horses and mules for working the farm. And he had 100 head of thorbred Poland China hogs.--Clara's Saga

Pictures of the Farm

George was cashing in on the American Dream unfolding all around. He found himself in the middle of the vast American continent surrounded by people from diverse backgrounds and educations. He was enjoying a world of box socials and dances that was new to him. He spent his life getting there and it seemed they were now in the right place at a time when they were giving away prime land. Perhaps he could make up for the loss of his inheritance.--Randy

Children - George & Lora

 

Child

Birth

Death
Family
  Clifford Lee November 27, 1906
Clinton, OK
September 4, 1990 Cashmere, WA
Grave
- Funeral Card
m. ULRY m. NEWELL m. JONES No Children

 

Clara Edna

February 10, 1908
Clinton, OK

October 21, 1997 Prairie City, OR
Grave
m. Harry Dew 1930 Edna, Derral, & Ronald

 

Truest Ray

November 27, 1909
Cloudchief, OK

May 14, 1987 Seattle, WA
Grave - Funeral Card - Obit
m. Agnes Zimmerman 1937 Mary, Judy & Sherry

 

Glenwood
Died young

May 3, 1911
Cloudchief, OK

November 8, 1912 Cloudchief, OK No Find-A-Grave found

 

Levern

September 21, 1912
Cloudchief, OK

December 13, 1993 Wenatchee, WA
Grave - Funeral Card - Obit
m. Helen MYERS m. GRAY m. REESE (Terry)

 

Ralph Wayne

1915 Clinton, OK
See his page

d. 2007 Sequim, WA
See his page
m. Beatrice WINN 1939 (Ralph Dewayne, Jack Orin, Randy Curtis, Gary Allen)

 

Helen Margarite

June 18, 1917
Rice, WA

March 28, 2008 Tualip, WA No Find-A-Grave found

m. SHAEFER (Duana, Merwyn, & Lanny) m. VANDER WOUDE (Starla) m. SMITH

 

Estle George

February 4, 1919
Greenacres, WA

December 24, 1987 Cashmere, WA
Grave
- Funeral Card - Obit
m. ANDERSON (Steven) m. MERRITT
1936 Report Cards - Betty's Funeral Card - Betty's Obit

Land Deals by Randy

Giving up his inheritance wasn't easy. However, his horse-trading experiences in Texas--how it solve their land problem--left George with a keen desire to trade. He never saw himself as a long-term farmer. Growing food was secondary--something you just did. If he sold extra crops, it brought in a little extra money. And improving land to sell (as some German immigrants were doing) was hard work. To George, deals could be made trading anything and everything.

As land became a hot commodity, George became a land baron. He bought, sold and traded many quarter sections as well as individual lots in and around Clinton. He probated his mothers will, having become quite familiar with the workings of the court, a few miles away in Arapaho.

In 2004 I spent the day in the Arapaho Courthouse looking through 100-year-old records of my Grandfather's land deals. Here are a few I found (mostly in the old log books):

  September 11,1903: George J. Smart received 147 acres in El Reno, OK via State Volume Patent Acc. No. OK1030__.367 Doc. 287 Misc. Doc. No. 11136.
BLM Record

Clinton Area Land Map

  December 7, 1904: He sold lot to B. W. Thompson in Section 31, Range 17, Township 12 west of Clinton, OK.
  December 8, 1905: Filed a patent on lots in Section 7, Range 17, Township 12. Also bought Sect. 14 NW in range 18 from Martha Labouc.
  December 11, 1905: Sold lots in Section 7 to E. K. McCormick.
  December 5, 1906: Bought Section 2SW, Range 18, Township 12, northwest of Clinton.

His luck would change and his health would turn but the fortunes he made in these deals would help for years down the road.

Education in Oklahoma and Washington

The children went to school, walking 2 miles or so sometimes. The older children finished the first 8 grades--passing the State Tests and graduating in the spring of 1924. Clara finished the 9th grade and went on to high school in Greenacres, Washington, living with friends. The younger children were kept in school all through the 8th grade, in spite of moving every few years. Ralph, for example, went to 1st grade in Green Acres (1921), 2nd-4th in Deer Park, 5th-7th in Goldendale and graduated in Wenatchee in 1930. Some months he only made it to school six days. --Clara's Saga

The Smarts believed in education. They made sacrifices sometimes so their kids could attend school. Yet, like so many during that time, George got what education he could when and where he could find it. In Oklahoma, he made the effort to fill in some of the blanks. George was a avid reader of just about all he could get his hands on.--Randy


George in "Adult School."

George's Wanderlust by Randy

After a few years of working on their homesteads, they were well-improved and yielding sizable crops. Yet, neither Lora Vale nor George seemed to embrace farm life. George had a trading nature that seemed to go to his core. He seemed ready to trade everything he had and move on to something else. He couldn't seem to put down roots. He amassed a great deal of equipment but never made much money growing food. Lora was caring for a 6, 4 and 3 year-old in addition to their struggling infant and a two month-old son, Lavern. Lora would loose a baby as Winter 1912 moved in on them.--Randy

Lora Vale Breaks A Leg by Helen Myers

One summer day, the entire family was going to the fair except Lora, who wanted to stay home and rest. She was adamant and rebuffed all protests until she got her way. They loaded up the truck and left early and were gone until very late in the day. George insisted Lora tie the cow up to graze all day and she did. When she went to move the cow one time, she couldn't get it to go where she wanted--Lora being a small woman and it was a large cow. While she was trying to move this cow, she somehow got her leg broken pretty badly. She had to lay there all day until the family returned and, by the time they got her to a doctor, the leg wouldn't set straight. She walked very poorly the rest of her life.--Helen Myers, Lavern's first wife).

Prairie Weather by Clara --Clara's Saga

One of the things I remember is a big hail storm. It came up about 4 in the afternoon, and it got as black as night. It was sometime before it started to hail, stones as large as golf balls. I can remember them piled up against the foot boards around the chicken yard. It was always my and Clifford's job to pick up the box of dry chips for kindling the fires. So this day we had to pick them up by the flashing of lighting. We weren't afraid of the storm. That day Papa had gone to town and had just gotten off the main road into our lane when the storm started and when the hail started he had to stop the team and get under the wagon. One of the horses was hit in the eye and it put his eye out.

And I remember several times when Mama would get her white washing hung up on the line, and a big wind would start blowing and the line would break and all her clothes would o down in that old red dirt. She would cry and cry and of course have to do the wash all over again. I felt so sorry for her and would wish I was big enough to do it for her.

Tracing Their Steps

Other dates and places where the family left a trail. Most of the unsupported information is attributable to Clara and Ralph's recollections.
  1897 At the age of 22, George helped moved the family from Northern Texas to Oklahoma where they homestead large farms, working on each other's property.--Randy
1900 On June 26, the 1900 Census enumerator found Margaret living with George, Charles, James, Frances, and Grover in Washita, Custer county, Oklahoma. Rosella was living alone between them and Fred/Martha Lebouc.
1904 - 06 George does several Land Deals in the area of Clinton, Oklahoma.
  1908 George sold his original Clinton farm May 1st and moved into Cloudchief with Lora and two small children (Clifford and Clara). George bought and operated a grocery store.
1910 On May 21st, the 1910 Census enumerator found George, Lora, Clifford, Clara, and Truest living in Seger Township, Washita county, Oklahoma.
  1912 They moved to the family farm in Clinton that Grover and Frances inherited when Margaret died at the end of '09. Margaret's Will
  1914 In 1914, Lora's father, Paschal, and her older brother, Jim Edgar, moved to Colville in the northeastern corner of Washington on the upper Columbia River. They brought 40 acres on Colville Mountain, sixteen miles north of Colville. Three of Paschal's daughters would soon follow.
  1915

George and Lora moved into town (Clinton) in the Fall where the older children began school. After school was out in the Spring or some time that Spring or early Summer Mama and us children went to Collvile Washington to visit Grandpa Edgar and Uncle Jim and stayed the summer.--Clara's Saga

  1916 That winter Papa was in bed with rheumatism. I remember when one of us would touch the bed, he'd cry out in pain.--Clara's Saga
  1917

In the spring of 1917, we all moved to Washington. We stayed for a short time with Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Clay at Colville, Wash. Then we went to Rice, Wash. and stayed with Aunt Willie and Uncle Lloyd. Papa was getting much better and was able to take care of the large vegetable garden Aunt Willie had planted. On June 18, 1917, our little sister, Helen Margerite was borned. (Rice is not longer in existence. When they built the Grand Coulee Dam, that area became a large lake.)--Clara's Saga

Pac and Jim Edgar came to Washington with George and Lora Vale Smart sometime in the spring - Letter Snippit

  1920 On January 17th, the 1920 Census enumerator found George, Lora, Clifford, Clara, Truest, Lavern and Ralph living in Greenacres, Spokane county, Washington.
  1920

When it was time, the family chipped in to help friends and neighbors "get the fruit in." The money earned working the fields and orchards helped sustain them when they needed it most. Here is George picking fruit with the kids in Anderson's orchard.

1920s George went into additional real estate deals. Through his new contacts, he heard of a 160-acre farm at Half Moon Prairie, near Deer Park and the Great Northern Railroad, north of Spokane.--Clara's Saga
  1921

The family moved to Kettle Falls where George got work on a farm and the family moved to Greenacres (a suburb of Spokane today) on the Spokane River. Estle was born here. George worked in a cement plant outside of Spokane. Ralph went to 1st grade in Greenacres.

  1923 George bought a farm and moved the family to Half Moon Prairie in the Spring, where they grew produce to sell in Spokane.--Clara's Saga
  1924 The older children finished the first 8 grades in Washington--passing the State Tests and graduating in the spring.--Clara's Saga
  1925 In 1925, George bought a Model T Ford pickup. He traded the wagon and team for mechanized transportation.
  1926 In the fall, only a few years after buying it, George sold the farm in Half Moon Prairie and moved the family to Centerville, near Goldendale, Washington where Lora's sister Willie and her husband Lloyd Hobbs lived. Clara went to high school there, staying with the Hobbs's.
  1928 George's Motor Vehicle License shows him living in Ceterville. In the fall, the family moved to Vancouver, Washington. They camped along the Columbia River until they found a house to rent. The children were old enough to help pick fruit.
1929 In the summer the family moved to Wenatchee, Chelan county where lots of work was found in the fruit orchards. This is where they would "settle," even thought most of the family would scatter before too long.
  1930 Ralph graduated in Wenatchee in 1930.
  1930 The 1930 Census shows George, Lora, Clifford, Clara, Ralph, Helen & Estle living in Grange Precinct, Chelan county, Washington.
  1940 On April 20th, the 1940s Census enumerator found Lora, a widow, living with Clifford and Levern (farm laborers) in Madera, California.

George Dies in Washington

George developed epithelioma (skin cancer) in his neck in 1932 which invaded his jugular vessel in 1934 and he never got well.

George Smart died at the age of 59 on September 25, 1934 at Deaconess Hospital in Wenatchee, Washington. He is buried in the Wenatchee City Cemetery.

Officiating was Rev. Farrell of the Latter Day Saints Church. Jones & Jones was the undertaker. Death Certificate - Find-A-Grave

Lora Vale's Later Years

In 1936, a couple of years after loosing George, Lora Vale went to Madera, California to visit Cliff for the winter. The next fall she moved there. She lived most of her remaining years in a little one-bedroom rented house with big elm trees on a quiet street in Madera. She loved gladiola and grew a few in her yard there. She always dressed nice, wearing petticoats under pastel dresses. She wore plenty of perfume and powder. She wouldn't come out of her bedroom until she was completely dressed and made up. In her latter years, at a time when Helen lived in Roseville and Ralph in Tracy, Lora was put into the Roseville Convalescent Hospital.--Randy

Lora Vale passed on January 28, 1969 in Rosevile, California. She was 83 and had outlived George by almost 35 years. Neither one ever had much of a relationship with anyone else although Lora Vale did meet and date one man in Madera.

  Lora's Gravestone
Block 24, Section 313, Grave 1 Belmont Memorial Park, 201 Tielman Ave., Fresno
Lora's Death Certificate - Obituary - Funeral Card

Other Pictures

These are all l the pictures I have of George and Lora so, if you have some more, please share.

George Rides a Motorcycle

Lora, Mrytle, Wilma

George at Range Valley Gardens

Lora with flowers

Visiting with Clay Davis

Lora, in Easter dress

All dressed up

Homemade dress?

With Estle and Ralph

In tall cotton

Post-WWII Visit with Relatives

 

Credits / Attributions

Clara E. (Smart) Dew wrote and typed an excellent 5-page family history: The Saga of George Joseph Smart and Lora Vale Edgar Smart.

A lot of this information was from family records. Among these is an 11-paged typed document Titled "The Smart History Ancestry" which I believe was compiled by my mother from her Smart in-laws as well as her husband, Ralph. There are many errors in it, but it serves as a landmark of what they knew collectively--then.

Ralph Smart contributed much orally (to his son, Randy C. Smart) that has been merged with what else we have here.

Recollections by Randy C. Smart - I knew Lora and visited the Clinton area as well as being guided thru Hardesty by a former-resident cousin, Ronnie Smart...and I've read a lot of history.