Photo courtesy of The Shook Museum – Clyde, Haywood County NC
A few weeks back the girls and I attended the Quay Smathers Memorial Singing School which was held in the Shook Museum in Clyde, NC. This is the second year we’ve been able to attend and we had a terrific time. We’ve been fortunate to get to know Quay’s daughters, Liz and June, who we have much in common with.
We all come from musical families and The Deer Hunter grew up in the Dutch Cove area of Canton that Quay’s family lived in and that June still lives in today.
During this year’s singing school June pointed out the photo above and read the words below from a document that belongs to the museum.
John Smathers b 17 Dec 1781 Pa d Feb 10 1825 Haywood Co NC 44y + Mary Agner May 10 1803 NC b Jan 1776 d Nov 28 1868 NC Haywood Co 92y
Mary Agner lived until her death at age 94 in the old Shook House, which still stands. She was there when the famous Methodist circuit rider Francis Asbury stayed as a guest. Her dress was exhibited until recently in the house which has become a museum.
John Smathers and his wife, Mary Agner Smathers, moved from Pennsylvania into Piedmont North Carolina, and, after the Revolution, found their way into what is now Haywood County.
They selected a home spot somewhere in the neighborhood of the present site of Canton, or near Turnpike by 1815 to escape Rowan Co’s disease stricken community. Here they made their home and reared a family.
The children of John and Mary Agner Smathers were Isaac, Charlie, Mary, George, Jesse, and Levi. The children all grew to maturity in Haywood county and married there.
Among Mary Agner Smathers’ prized possessions was a book written in 1795 in German, containing songs, prayers, and sermons by Martin Luther. That book is in the possession of Janice Smathers and her bro Julian. “An inscription on the fly leaf of this old volume, with its brittle paper and ink faded almost beyond deciphering, has preserved the key which opens a door into past history of the Smathers family before its first members came across the Blue Ridge to the Pigeon River,” Patton wrote. “There in German script, appears the record, which translated reads: Johannes Smetter was born 17th Dec 1781 Pennsylvania.”
I had the front pages of the Smathers German book translated by a German Scientist I work with and is attached for your information and use as well as a photo.
Courtesy of 6x grandau Rebecca from her Smather’s family album collection.
List of children:
Isaac (Eiseg) William 2/7/1804 Rowan died: 10/23/1835
George Fredrick (The Yorg) 9/9/1807 Rowan died: 6/24/1894
Jesse 12/19/1811 Rowan died: 2/20/1879
Mary ‘Loni’ Smathers 4/20/1816 Haywood died: 9/21/1855
Levi, 9/9/1817 Haywood died: 3/4/1896
Charles ‘Charley’ 7/21/1819 Haywood died: 12/8/1906
Added by Junior Ramsey 7/18/2016
As June shared the story of John and Mary I felt goosebumps rise up on both my arms as I thought about the Smathers family who’ve called Haywood County home for over 200 years. Thinking about the longevity of the family line in the same general area and the heritage, music, and culture continuing to be passed down even until this day, made me wish I could send John and Mary a message and tell them they did good.
If you ever get the chance drop by the Shook Museum for a visit. The old house is beautiful, especially the third floor chapel, and the folks who run the museum are very informative and friendly.