Just another James Smith….
My GGrandpa was Alvin Oliver Smith. His parents were James W. Smith and Oella Denney. Oh yes, that means that my GGGrandpa was another James Smith, he might as well be John, William or Charles. With Smith being a common surname, when you match it with a common given or first name the haystack gets bigger and bigger. Common names are hard to trace because they are just so many people with the same names. And if your ancestor provided incorrect or incomplete information to the census recorder they become even more invisible. You just have to keep digging.
James W Smith was born in July of 1843 in Ohio and died on January 28, 1913 in Indiana. I will blog in the future about his family and what I have found but for now let us talk about James W. and his immediate Family. He arrived in Indiana with his family sometime between 1843 and 1847. We know that because his next youngest sibling was listed as born in Indiana in 1847.
He enlisted in the Civil War in 1865. He served in the Indiana 142nd Infantry in 1865. When he returned from the war, he went back to farming in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. He married Oella Denney in March 18,1869. I should add here that information from our own family sources like pictures and Everett and Lillian family bible indicated that James W Smith’s wifes name was Della. It was through contact with Denney family researchers that we were able to obtain the correct information about Oella true given name. Census records, marriage records and several other sources had her listed as Della, Celia, and Ola, just to name a few. They had 6 children; William Frampton Smith, Alvin Oliver Smith, Della Smith, Dora Smith, Etta Clare Smith and Francis Willard Smith.
James and Oella’ s first born son, William Frampton married Dessie Heckman on April 15, 1905. They had two children; Virgil Smith and Della Smith. After James W Smith died Oella is found living with William Smith and his family. Shortly after Oella came to live with them, Dessie died of TB. Della was 15 months old when her Mother died.
Alvin Oliver, my GGrandfather was born Dec 18,1873. He married Cora Crites on Dec 24, 1892. They had two children; Everett Alton (1904) and James Fredrick (1907). They lived in Indiana until about 1920 before leaving to go to the Flint area. See the post titled the “Just incase this “Automotive Thing” doesn’t work out” .
Della Smith married William Sparks. They had four children; Nora Sparks (1897), Talmage Sparks (1899),Virgil J Sparks, (1902) and Alvin Sparks(1904). I have thus far been unable to make any contact with any relatives from this family. Nora Sparks married Grover Patten and they had one daughter and Nora died at age 36 in 1933. Grover Patten was referenced in the “Shared school picture” blog.
Dora Belle married William Harvey Jackson on June 30 , 1893. They had three children; Oscar(1895) , Charles (1899) and Ruth(1903). My Grandfather Everett had always said that his favorite male cousin was Oscar Jackson. Charles died in 1901.
Etta Clare was not known to me for quite some time. She was born in 1886. She married William Homer Wert in 1903. We have a couple of very nice pictures of this couple in the dusty box of photos. They had two children, James Frank Wert born in 1903 and Lule Etta who was born in 1905. Etta Clare died giving birth to Lule in 1905 she was 19 years old. We are lucky to have the photos of her that we have. Some time back I did get a letter from the wife of Lule’s son. She was not able to tell me much since she was not directly related but it was nice to hear from her all the same.
Francis Willard Smith was born in 1887. He married Arena May Straley in 1907. They had two children; James W. Smith (1911) and Dorothy Smith (1917).
This picture was given to me from two different relatives during my search. It is of the James W. Smith family. It is the only photo that I have of James W Smith. It has no date on it but we can figure it out by the people who are in the photo and the dates they were born. I do not know whose house it is or the exact location but it is likely near Zaneville or Ossian Indiana. We will date the Photo in the next blog..