Tag Archives: Madison

My Loveable but Unrestrainable Grandfather, Stanley D. Smith

Stanley Smith
Stanley D. Smith 1902-1961
                        My Loveable but Unrestrainable Grandfather                    Stanley D. Smith

by Dennis Smith

Della Belle Malcomson
Della Belle Malcomson, 1868-1902, mother of Stanley D. Smith who died from complications of his birth

My great-grandmother Della Belle Malcomson-Smith died from complications when she gave birth to my grandfather Stanley D. Smith. My great-grandfather Arthur Kingsley Smith blamed Stanley for his wife’s death. He would not have much to do with Stanley until seven years later when he remarried and had a new wife.

Stanley’s grandparents, Oliver M. Smith and Elizabeth Shaw, raised Stanley. Oliver was a veteran of the Civil War. In Oliver’s household, Stanley’s four aunts spoiled him. They had a lot of influence on his upbringing.

Oliver M. Smith
Oliver M. Smith 1837-1906, grandfather of Stanley D. Smith
Elizabeth Shaw-Smith
Elizabeth Shaw-Smith 1844-1938, spouse of Oliver M. Smith and grandmother of Stanley D. Smith

Stanley Smith grew to manhood in Braytown in Switzerland County, Indiana. His maternal grandparents, John Shaw Malcomson and Emily Jane Thiebaud, were very prosperous farmers who farmed the historic Thiebaud farmstead.  When they died, Stanley received a large inheritance.

Stanley married Grace Barnes Adams and spent his entire inheritance on her. He took Grace to Europe, but when the money was gone, Grace was gone, too. For the rest of his life, Stanley never proved himself a good money manager.

In his broke status, Stanley married a second time to my grandmother, Geneva Curry. The Curry farm was not too far from where Stanley grew up. When Stanley’s father took Dollie Turner as his second wife, Arthur reconciled with his seven-year-old son. When Stanley married for his second time to Geneva, Arthur built them a small house on his land to live in. Having watched his son squander an inheritance making bad financial decisions, Arthur never deeded the land to Stanley. It was in this house where my father, Arthur William Smith, was born.

Arthur Kingsley Smith
Arthur Kingsley Smith 1868-1945, father of Stanley D. Smith who held Stanley responsible for the death of his wife Della Belle Malcomson

Next to this small house, Stanley built and ran a small gas station and store. He also, farmed and did custom butchering in the fall of the year. Occupied as he was, Stanley began drinking and going to bars in Vevay and Madison, Indiana. Sometimes he would take Geneva and the children, only to leave them outside in the car. My aunt Elizabeth remembered going into a tavern to get her father and the bartender giving her fresh fried potato chips.

When Stanley’s money would run out, he was known to pass a bad check, only to be arrested. Geneva would sell a cow to get Stanley out of jail. This went on for several years until Geneva had enough of it. Even though she was pregnant at the time, my mother Geneva filed for divorce from StStanley in 1939.

John Shaw Malcomson & Emily J. Thiebaud
John Shaw Malcomson 1842-1914 & wife Emily J. Thiebaud 1842-1919, grandparents of Stanley D. Smith who left Stanley an inheritance which he squandered.

Geneva’s divorce from Stanley was final in 1940 when my uncle, Paul Edward Smith, was born. Stanley was to pay child support for Paul. According to my Aunt Elizabeth, he never did.

Stanley D. Smith & Geneva Josephine Curry
Wedding photo of Stanley D. Smith & Geneva Josephine Curry, November 23, 1937, Switzerland County, Indiana, grandparents of author Dennis Smith

Stanley moved to Indianapolis, Indiana with his son Arthur, my father. They lived with a cousin, Harold Mains, who was working for the Indianapolis Street Car Company. Harold and Stanley were raised together in Switzerland County. They were lifelong friends. Stanley’s store and gas station reverted to Arthur and Dollie and Stanley’s half-sister Reba Smith. They continued to run it for several more years.

In Indianapolis, Stanley married for the third time to Laura Woolford, bringing my father Arthur together with his new step-sister Myrtle Woolford. Stanley managed a parking garage, and my father Arthur worked for him parking cars. Stanley continued to drink but more responsibly. He had a hobby wood shop in the basement of his home, where he cut off part of his fingers on his left hand. I remember watching his hand when I was a small boy, with amazement as he ate his breakfast with missing parts of his fingers.

Stanley D. Smith & Laura B. Woolford
Stanley D. Smith and his third wife Laura B. Woolford 2007-1983

As his grandsons, my brother Randy and I always were treated well by Stanley. We stayed many a night at his house with Laura. Myrtle babysat us. Myrtle always likes to tell the story of me at age five when I told Stanley that teenage Myrtle had begun smoking. I suggested she should be spanked. Stanley did not spank her, but he did tell Myrtle’s mother Laura. Ironically, Laura and Stanley were heavy smokers. I remember Laura, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and play solitaire. She was always, Grandma Smith to me.

Sadly, Stanley D. Smith brought on his own death. He got diabetes. Stanley would not stay on his diet, which caused him to have a stroke. I saw him at his home then. We hugged. He was slender and frail. The damage was done. He had a second stroke and then a heart attack killed him at his home in 1961. I went to his funeral and burial. No matter what flaws my grandparents had, I still loved them.

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Kit Carson, a James Family Relation

Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson 1809-1869

Previously unrecognized is the relationship of the James family to Kit Carson.

Christopher Houston Carson was born on Tate’s Creek in Madison County, Kentucky. His father Lindsay Carson Sr. was a first generation, American born, of William Carson, immigrant from Ireland.

Kit’s father, Lindsay, brought his family to Madison County from South Carolina in 1793. The family followed the Wilderness Trail, forged by Daniel Boone, Johannes Vardeman, & others, to settle on Tate’s Creek. Later, Johannes Vardeman’s son Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman and his father-in-law John M. James joined the Flat Lick Baptist Church with the Tate’s Creek Association.

Also living in Madison County at the time of Kit’s youth was Adam Hill, the grandfather of Annie Ralston, who married Frank James. Hill was a blacksmith, but later became a wagoner and guide into the Far West after he migrated with his family to the far western border of Missouri in January of 1834. Lindsay Carson departed Madison County for Missouri in 1811, when Kit was two years old.

Maria Josepha Jaramillo-Carson with Kit Carson Jr.

Kit’s father did not stay long at Cooper’s Fort in Missouri, before returning to Madison County, where his father was killed by the falling limb of a tree when Kit was nine years old. Kit returned to the West, where at age fourteen he apprenticed as a saddle maker. In 1826, Kit Carson left Missouri for Santa Fe, New Mexico, after which he married, started a family, and wrote himself into the history of the American West.

Ransom Carson, a stonemason who rebuilt Flat Lick Baptist Church after the original log church was destroyed in a fire, and who also built the stone house of the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James, appears not to be a relation of the James, nor of Kit Carson.

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PEDIGREE

Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson 1809-1868 & Maria Josepha Jaramillo
. Lindsey Carson Sr. 1754-1818 & Rebecca Robinson 1778-Unk.
.. James Robinson Bef.1775-1818 & Agnes Boone
… Michael Robinson, the Younger 1751-1800 & Mary “Molly” James 1750-1808
…. Thomas James Sr. Bef.1729-1776 & Mary Bruce
… Joseph James, the Elder 1712-1782 & Mary Field
.. John M. James 1751-1823 & Clara Nall

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