Site Scope

This site marries genealogical fact with narrative stories that are faithfully rendered from known facts and accepted history. It flows through time, following our ancestors from the 16th Century Scottish Highlands through devastating war years in America. The information on this page comes from repeated intimate research into the lives of these families. The individual pages are based on facts and these facts have (or need) documentation to facilitate further research. Where this documentation has been obtained, it is linked herein, as appropriate. Where documentation is absent, it should be assumed it is wanted and this effort will make it easily available.

The basic context and scope of this site is defined by the linage of the Smart Family it reflects. Other families who's history crossed paths with these Smarts include:

 

Clapp
Darnall

Ford
Edgar
LeBouc

Taylor
Pafford
Kenney
Parker

Other parts of this site you might want to visit are:

    • Histograph : The historical flow of our history, charted.
    • Trails : Information on recent descendants.
    • Maps : Geographical context.
    • Scottish Highlands : Our family origins are thought to go back to Pictish tribes.

Research / Contributions

Information on this site has been collected, organization and presented by Randy C. Smart, free and available to any and all. Many others have contributed to this site--some in important ways. These cousins are interested in the information presented on this site as well as the visitors. I hope you'll introduce yourself.

  Name Line

Addy

  Bill Jones Smart, JO jonesbb3@juno.com
  Cher Dangelo Smart/Hutchins cheryl_d362@yahoo.com
  Tim Scott Smart/Scott wizardtim12@yahoo.com

 

Frank/Brad Teel

Smart

trishasbrad@yahoo.com
  Janet Demarchi Smart happygranny530@hotmail.com
  Mary Sweeney  Smart  msconsulting@suddenlink.net ? 
  Chris Quentin Clapp crashq@pacbell.net
  Peggy Rowe Clapp pegrowe62@gmail.com
  Peggianne Combs Combs/Pafford

pc_tupware@hotmail.com

  Marlena Bushway Ford marnirn75@hotmail.com
  Mary Ford Ford m.ford@wb4me.com
  Charles E. Templer Darnall, Gough, McDaniel, Stewart CHARTEMP@aol.com
  Sharon Prigmore Darnall shari@prigmore.org
  Ronnie Smart Smart smart57@localnet.com

I owe a great deal to my Mother who interested me in family history. She opened my eyes to many things. Dad was a great deal of help in many ways. I've come to understand him and appreciate the life he has lived through the experience of studying our ancestors.

My second cousin, Ronnie Smart, who grew up in the Oklahoma Panhandle, opened my eyes to see there existed the detail to write a story of this family. Many stories and important pictures came from Marion Pafford of Hardesty, Oklahoma. His mother, Frances, was proud of her family and saved a great deal of history that she and Marion have shared with all of us. The stories Clara Smart Dew wrote about the weather, kids wondering off, and all kinds of trivia really helped me feel like I was there. ·

The Internet and it's affect on history as well as the future are astounding. I would have never met Ronnie if it wasn't for the Internet but the advantages only start there. I appreciate those many other family historians who selfishly provided glimpses into our family history..

Historical Context

This chronicles one family's trials, tribulations, struggles and triumphs during an era unique in all of history. These family stories are part of the bigger history of early American settlers. Their lives were much the same as other pioneering farmers of their times. Their struggles could even be called ordinary. But it is because their lives were typical and because the times were quite extraordinary, that these stories offer a tantalizing glimpse back through history.

Their times were incredible --the likes of which we may never see again. Never has there been so much arable virgin land to farm. And there were many farmers to farm it--farmers who's souls longed for a chance to prosper, unencumbered by the machinations of despots. An entire continent was opening up and freedom reigned!

As farming people, they had always gambled with their very existence, pitting their personal efforts against the vagaries of nature. The burden they carried in the Old World had been unbearable and land reforms had only made matters worse.

In stark contrast, America provided a completely unique opportunity for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to own land. Their yearning for land, especially land that had never been put to the plow, brought them to New England from where they scrambled ever-westward, taking advantage of the open land.

But as land began to get harder to find, farmers could no longer move westward. Most good farm land was under the plow. That golden age of open land--an age lasting over a hundred years--came to its inevitable end.

Today scientific farming methods boost yields and minimize land depletion. Irrigation Districts provide water. Farmers continue to farm the same land. Bank financing, crop prices and international price fluctuations became the everyday worries of the modern farmer.

Those free and heady days of "settling" virgin land were over. Simply turn over the soil and, if it rains, times were easy. But maybe...just maybe...they won't be completely forgotten. We should remember the trials they faced amid the joy they found. It was an important and exciting time in history.

The slavery quandary seem to affected everyone deeply. Slavery, accepted by the founders of the US in order to throw off the greater yoke of Colonialism, only festered with time--an unacceptable part of our Union, flying in the face of the fine words of the Declaration of Independence, where ALL men were "created equal."

The struggle of the nation to throw off this yoke forced Americans to reconcile their noble ideas with their economic realities. As Lincoln realized, the issue was not divisible along the Mason-Dixon Line. If the South broke away, it would only change the political boundaries--mills in the North, as much a part of the slavery equation as the southern plantations, would continue to reap profits from the labor of the slaves.

This real and pressing quandary prompted a great deal of soul-searching in most circles as well as renewed metaphysical exploration. Great socio/economic and moral rifts opened between citizens/states. The social upheaval in Illinois was every bit as intense as it was anywhere. Heated discussions erupted almost everywhere people gathered. Almost within earshot of our ancestors, Lincoln and Douglass examined the arguments and defined important issues as the entire World looked on. Religious zeal spawned many sects during this period--some of them nearby.

Times

Joseph Reed Smart and Mary Ann Stewart Darnall both helped settle the Wabash River Valley of Illinois after moving from Kentucky in the 1820s, when they were young. Joseph died there in 1845. Mary went with her son James and his family to Texas where she and her son would die.

James Moses Smart married Margaret Clapp in 1866 and moved to Minnesota. They farmed there until 1879 when they traded their rich cultivated land for bad land, sight unseen, in Plainview, Texas.

After the death of James Smart in 1895, the Oklahoma Territory was opening up. His survivors moved to Oklahoma and homesteaded a quarter-section on the Washita River, just west of Clinton.

Around 1909, when the Oklahoma Panhandle area opened to settlers, one of James sons, Charles Chesterfield Smart, was with the first settlers in the Hardesty area at the center of the Panhandle. Others in the Smart/Pafford families were to have a substantial influence on the Hardesty area and descendants still live there today.

See Chronology for a time/place breakdown.

Summary

Mary and Joseph grew up in different parts of Kentucky. By the 1820s, Kentucky and Tennessee had become "old" frontier. Farmland was showing signs of overuse. Mary and Joseph's families, like so many others, were caught up in the rush to be the first to farm the rich lands and lush river valleys of this virgin land to the west. The farmers certainly appreciated the value of verdant land, fallow since the Ice Age--much of it covered with good trees, just begging to be plowed.

Land! Glorious land--opening up ahead of them as they went westward. Life suddenly offered them renewed hopes and blessed them with idyllic dreams. They saw a bright and serene future where hard work on rich land could be rewarded. This was all a farmer could want.

In these times, families found prime land to settle in the newly-opened Wabash River Valley. Illinois provided the answer to their prayers. Their dreams of a new life were amply fulfilled by the rich affordable farmland and the civilized community they found here in this beautiful valley. They settled down to have children--content to grow old on the farm surrounded by family and friends.

The Smarts, Darnalls, and Clapps teamed up with other families to raise barns and clear fields, realizing the benefits of sharing backs, ideas and information. By working together, they also benefited in other ways. Harvest dances, country fairs, as well as political and religions get-togethers provided plenty of stimulating social diversions.

Over the years, the farmers of the Wabash Valley grew very close. Held together by their network of friends and family, the Smarts survived the death of their patriarch, Joseph, at the young age of 46. Mary and the children fell safely into the bosom of her mother, sisters, brothers uncles, aunts and cousins who lived and farmed in the area.

But the world around them was convulsing with ever-increasing spasms that would eventually destroy the peace. Mary's family (Darnall/Stewart) were caught up on both sides of the Civil War and its social and economical conflicts. Their large American family was of English origin with branches in both southern-leaning Kentucky and in Maryland--which was put under the strong arm of Lincoln due to its strategic location.

If Mary could not convince them otherwise, her sons would be fighting with the Illinois Regiment of the Union Army against their Darnall and Stewart cousins. Mary persuaded James to avoid the fighting. He married Margaret Clapp, a local farm girl. He met her at one of the harvest dances or a wedding of a friend. Her father was a farmer who's family immigrated from Germany. When war broke out, James and Margaret moved to Minnesota to farm and raise a family.

However, James's younger brother, Moses Jackson Smart was youthful, plucky and all-too-anxious to serve. He was almost immediately wounded early in the war and lived the rest of his life on a disability pension.

After the War and its subsequent aftermath, the West still beckoned. James traded his cultivated Minnesota land for land in Plainview, Texas. He left with his family on an incredible journey of many years, living in covered wagons. Along the way, they took what farm work they could get, developing skills they would need to dry farm in the West.

Years later, while still farming for others in Texas--still working their way towards Plainview--James died. Margaret, with eleven children (five older girls, four young boys, and a young set of boy-girl twins), realized better land could be found in Oklahoma--men and women of means could homestead on newly-opened land with water to irrigate with.

Although still greenhorns, Margaret sent the older boys off through the Badlands of Northwest Texas on a long journey to trade their land--the land they failed to reach--for horses. After the boys returned, this 51 year old widow, together with the entire family, loaded up the wagons and drove the livestock to land just west of Clinton, Oklahoma, where they filed a patient on a quarter-section right on the Washita River.

They survived on the open plains by digging in, building shelters using the red sod under their feet and whatever else they could obtain. Life was hard for them at times. Over the years, they would face crop failures, infestations, tornadoes, falling crop prices, inflation, epidemics, and dust storms. Some managed to hold onto their land to try yet another year. For others, it was West, always West.

As good land became scarce, their lives changed. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl , and two World Wars were to scatter the family to almost every corner of the Western States. That glorious time when verdant sections of affordable land were available for stout, enterprising people from all around the globe, had eventually come to an inevitable end.

Long gone were those glorious days spent farming in the warm company of family and friends. Gone were all those many wonderful years shared with family and close friends in the Wabash Valley.

Geography / Maps

FAMILY GRAPHICS - The best family pictures, are reflected herein. If you have access to or know of the existence of other pictures or memorabilia that might be shared, please contact me by e-mail. Hi-resolution pictures files are available, suitable for printing. E-mail your request, including the filename if possible, to: pictures@ancestor-rescue.com.

MAPS - Maps can add another level of understanding and texture to your history experience. Maps come up in separate windows so you can toggle back and forth (Alt - Tab) while reading stories. Click the Geography link anytime to access the full map menu.

Hardesty History [PDF] - Excerpts and pictures from previously published document such as the Hardesty History book and other unknown resources.

Milestones [PDF] - A chronological listing of significant events in the Oklahoma Panhandle area.

Distribution of Smart Families in 1920 America.

 
Future descendants should challenge these details in an effort to continue sorting out and expanding our shared history--I have only roughed it in and organized it.
Randy C. Smart
Port Angeles, Washington
rsmart@ancestor-rescue.com
( 360 ) 775-5079

Administrative Notes

Maintain all source reference data when copying information. This web site is not a genealogical source. It is a depository of information facilitating the sharing our common family history. As determined and when available, digital copies of source documents are linked herein for reference, printing, etc.).

In tracking ancestry via DNA, accuracy is wholly subject to the documentation of those with whom you compare your DNA. Since DNA can’t be read directly, the valid ancestry of those tested is still of supreme importance.

Webmaster can provide additional speculative data on many ancillary lines not shown.

A major source for Smart genealogy is seriously flawed and information taken from there needs to be re-sourced before assuming it correct. See correction