Margaret (Clapp) Smart (1844 - 1909)


Margaret Clapp was born February 4, 1844 1 in Coles (now Edgar) county, Illinois. She was the second daughter born to Eliza Jane White, first wife to George Clapp, a German farmer born in North Carolina.

Her father had 19 children. His family descended from Thomas Klap of 16th Century Germany with roots in Norway.

George Clapp Family Record

Life with James Smart
Life in Minnesota
Long Road to Texas

Pictures: Paffords - scanned in 2004. The later one might have been taken in 1895 with James's passing (51-52 years old). The other, married at 22 maybe. Restoration by Ancestor-Rescue.

Martha and Margaret : Close Sisters [Source Unknown]

During the Civil War, on October 22, 1865, Martha Clapp, Margaret's sister, married Mary's nephew, Samuel M. Darnall in Coles county, Illinois and moved to Nebraska. Later in life, Sam and Martha moved to Oklahoma to be close to Margaret. However, both Sam and Martha died in November of 1916, victims of the influenza epidemic.

Plainview Land for Horses


After Margaret's husband James died. Margaret traded the Plainview land (see Land Swap) for 98 horses. She sent her "boys" to take possession of the horses and deliver papers signing over the land. On their way home, they traded for more horses, arriving home with 127 horses that were not very good livestock. [Source Unknown]

George Smart would have been 20, Charles 16, and John 8. Its not sure who went with George. They made the thousand-mile journey safely considering their ages and the fact that the country was herding unwanted elements--desperadoes and troublesome Indians--into that area then. The boys must have been armed but I suspect they took along brothers-in-law Rueben Taylor and Pete Kenney who were about 30. Rueben was a second generation Texan. He and Pete were seasoned cowboys. These two probably kept the young boys from going too far astray.--Randy

Homesteading: The Family Farm in Oklahoma

Property Map ~ Homestead Doc ~ Sales Doc ~ View West (May 04) ~ View South (May 04) ~ Homestead Act Info ~ Clinton Area Land Map

BLM's State Volume Patent issued October 17, 1904 Acc. No. OK1360__.487 Doc. 1094 Misc. Doc. No. 13928.


Reuben and Susan Amanda (Smart) Taylor had found land available just northwest of Port, Oklahoma. Reuben determined the soil there was very good for farming and moved his family. A few years later (~1897) Margaret moved to Port, Oklahoma with her children. Pete and Rachel (Smart) Kenny came along with their toddler, Jessie Leonard in a covered wagon, driving their livestock alongside. [Source Unknown]

Bruce Womble of Clinton was on this trip and told several stories in later years of the journey, the Indians, and other hardships encountered. At one point Pete Kenney drew his six-shooter on some Indians that were holding some of their stray cattle. He talked them into "behaving" and they moved on. [Source Unknown]

Around 1900, after a few years getting to know the lay of the land, Margaret paid her $12 and filed a claim on a quarter-section of land west of Clinton, Oklahoma, about 40 miles northeast of Port. The land (shown on map) is on a sharp crook in the Washita River northwest of the Union schoolhouse (no longer there) and southeast of Stafford. She received a "patent" on 160 acres in 1905 after "proving up" in compliance with the provisions of the Homestead Act. This property was referred to as "the family farm."--Randy

The house was situated just northeast of the bend in the river just south of the Rufus Phillape family. Later, it had to be moved up the hill to make room for a Panhandle Santa Fe Railroad line (since removed) as it rounded the bend at the river. The family helped a great deal in improving this property. Margaret left it to the twins when she died in 1909. They sold it in 1920 for $5500. [Source Unknown]


Click here to download a hi-res file of George Smart on the Farm

To view the farm close up, click on the picture

l-r: George, Martha, Rachel, and Margaret. Fred LeBouc and Pete Kenney are in their buggies. Randy Smart has the original picture]  

Margaret's Life: Retrospective- by Randy

  Randy Smart has the original picture In her 65 years, Margaret saw big changes. She traversed a great portion of a vast continent while raising 11 children and supporting her husband. After the Civil War, she and James took a huge risk, leaving their productive farm in Minnesota and setting out for Texas. For James it ended in Texas where, after 13 frustrating years, this farmer died of a heart attack bringing in the cotton crop on someone else's farm. For Margaret, life was far from over and much was yet to be done. She was up to the challenge!

Margaret's childhood had been a constant challenge. Her mother died at the age of 39, not too long after having her eleventh child. The three older sisters: Mandana (16) Margaret (11) and Martha (8) would take on even a greater family role sooner than they expected. They helped tend the five younger children as well as the farm boys. George Clapp quickly re-married and proceeded to add eight more children to their burdens. The three sisters formed a strong bond that held them close for a lifetime and spanned half a continent.


But for so much of her life, Margaret had been adrift--lacking firm roots. She endured crop failures, infestations, tornadoes, falling crop prices, drought, inflation, epidemics, and dust storms from Illinois to Texas and Oklahoma. She left one child in Minnesota, a second in Texas. She stuck with her husband 30 years until he died in Pilot Point, Texas.

Although 52 year old, she would push forward, family in tow. It couldn't have been easy but she accomplished a great deal in those last 14 years in Oklahoma. Once she got land again, she held on tenaciously. She knitted together her children, their spouses and what kids came along into a family unit that held together. Only George left the family--he and his wife following the Edgars to Washington. The remaining family ended up in Texas and Oklahoma.

She was a determined woman that fit the times. Her family orbited around her, working together to explore new territory--looking for work as well as arable land they could own and farm. These were heady times and, like so many in that era, she got in on the land/farming bonanza.


A Poem by Margaret

I want when I die not a tear to be shed,
No engravement be placed on my tomb,
But lay me away upon my right side,
And rejoice that my suffering is done.

(She had nightmares on her left side and also on her back)

Margaret's Will

Margaret made a will March 6, 1909 making George executor. In it, she gave each of the 9 older children $1.00 each and left the Family Farm to the twins with $400 in assets: (4 horses, wagon, 2 cows, furniture, cultivator and 2 listers, feed=maize/ Kieffer).

Margaret Passes

Margaret died December 24th, 1909 in Sentinel, Washita county, Oklahoma. She spent her last days with the Taylors in nearby Port.

She was buried in Port Cemetery near seven of her eleven children: Rachel, Martha, Rosella, Amanda, James Ota, Bill and Grover.


Port consists of a few houses at a crossroad about 10 miles northwest of Sentinel. The Taylors lived at the crossroad and farmed nearby. About 2000 feet to the east of them is the Port Cemetery and our ancestors.--Randy
These pictures taken at Margaret's funeral in Port, Oklahoma the end of December, 1909. One shows all living children. I have two originals of this picture] The other (click to enlarge) is a different grouping from the same setting. I'm pretty sure I scanned this at the Paffords in Hardesty, Oklahoma in 2004.--Randy



The George Clapp Family Record - A hand-written recap of the significant dates for the George Clapp and James Smart families. This was provided to my Dad, Ralph Smart in the 1960/70s by Frances (nee Smart) Pafford (1887-1975), who did the most research of these families of anyone in her generation and these dates are proving very accurate. She might have had access to bibles and other information not found since. Her records might have been passed on to Marion and Dorothy Pafford. In 2004, they had many of the original family pictures.--Randy