More about Smyrna

The history of Smyrna written by Alma Martin that we read a bit of last week might remind us of how much our descendants would appreciate it if we wrote down our own memories. Maybe you could begin that today and then, of course, let me read it.

Smyrna School (School No. 12) was in Marion Township. Number 12 was the older school that was located at 700 S. and 480 E. and No. 13, the newer school, was at 600 S. and 550 E. Teachers in those two schools included (but not limited to) Lela and Letha Akin, Frank Hahn, Lillie Lowe, Paul Huber, Leona Kuhn, Lucy Lehman, Nellie Spillman McWilliams, Ruth Meeks, Frieda Mae Miller, Marie Monter, John Thrine and Catherine Tumilty. Alma wrote that Ruth Meeks boarded in Smyrna when she was teaching at the school there.

Alma wrote that when her dad went to school first it was a little log school. “The first Smyrna school was log up the road close to Noah Lees house of log too. He attended the Catholic School at Millhousen and walked back and forth. One girl from Smyrna went and when the creek was up one of the big boys would carry her across the creek. They never had any overshoes and there wasn’t any bridge then.

This Smyrna School was built in the same place the frame one was built. Alma Martin said that she went the first year in the new school when she was six years old. “A little band of German people came to America where they could worship as they please. They built a little log church close to August Spreckelson’s. Then a while later they built the church where it now stands across the road from Dale Lange’s place. It was in 1861 and they called it Smyrna Lutheran Church.”

Here’s a story Alma told that’s a jewel. “My daddy went over to the Cornie store one day to get Grandma Martin some crackers. Mr. Cornie said, ‘I can’t disturb my cat today.’ He kept the cat in the store to take care of the mice and she had her kittens in the cracker barrel the night before. He said he didn’t want to disturb her for a few days. The crackers have so much paper around them to keep them clean that if you don’t eat paper you wouldn’t have a problem. Mr. and Mrs. Cornie lived to near 100 so the crackers didn’t hurt them.”

She wrote that they sold shot by the pound and said, “A pound is a nickel’s worth the world around. There was a Mr. Elder lived just down the road a little piece and he would steal Cornie’s plug tobacco . He had a big stick with a nail in the end and would reach over their counter and steal a plug.”

“One day when he was driving cattle to market to Cincinnati, he used a long black snake whip by cracking it real hard to get the cattle to stay closer together and it hit his eye and burst it. His family got in great need so they moved away from Smyrna. One of the daughters married a lazy man and her sister called Ed Buckley on the phone and asked if he would send her a little money to get food and Ed said, ‘I sure will.’

“Mr. Ed Buckley was such a nice man and Mrs. Elizabeth Buckley was always so kind and helpful. His parents, David and Bina, wanted him to be a priest so they sent him to school at Cincinnati. He went for a while then one day they saw him walking home through the field. He came on the train to New Point and told his folks that he didn’t want to be a priest because he liked girls too well.

“Della Tichenor and her brother Frank Stevenson used to go to the little burying lot every Memorial Day and clean their lot where some of their loved ones were laid to rest. Uncle James Tichenor bought the land where Irvin Swango once lived and built a little home there. They would give their boys some raisins in their wooden shoes for Christmas and the little girls got little rag dolls that Aunt Mary made for them.”

Alma mentioned Ed Buckley many times and next week’s column will be mostly about the home he built.

Decatur County resident Pat Smith may be contacted via this publication at

Recommended for you