Thomas Smith's grandparents, William and Louisa Keeling Smith, lived in east Tennessee in the Chattanooga area. He was born about 1812 and died about 1892; she was born about 1817 and died about 1897. Their son, John Smith (father of W. T. M. Smith) was born in 1825 there. Their other children are unknown.
John Smith's forebears had come from North Carolina, through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and Tennessee. The earlier pioneers had started this westward movement in 1775, when the Cumberland Gap had been discovered by Dr. Thomas Walker and later Daniel Boone into Kentucky -- a passageway through the barrier of the Cumberland Mountains and a portion of the Appalachian Mountains.
John Smith and Julia Ann Burns were married either before or after starting west. They were with the group of early settlers, a family to each covered wagon, that came Westward from East Tennessee to Marion County, Arkansas, by the way of mountain trails or pathways through Southern Missouri. The early settlers came by covered wagon trains pulled by oxen, horses, or mules. It took two to three months to make the trip. They started the trip in late summer or early fall, when the ground was firm and there were few or no mosquitoes through the swamps. They started their trip about 1856; traveled through Tennessee into Southeast Missouri, and followed the path or trail through Southern Missouri to Taney County, Missouri. Then they turned south to Marion County, Arkansas, where they settled at Water Creek. Some of these families settled in Searcy County. John and Julia Ann Burns Smith established their home in a pleasing area at the head of Tomahawk Creek, Searcy County, near the Marion County Line where their first child, William Tbomas Smith, was born in 1858. He married Mary Moody and William Thomas died in 1940. The other children of John and Julia Ann Burns Smith were: Harvey Smith (1860-1940); Jasper Smith (1866- ?) who married a Miss Gilley; Silvanus Smith (1862-?); Riley Smith (1870-1965) who married Mollie Welsher; Julia Ann Smith (1872-1948) who married James W. Faulkenberry; and Nancy Smith (1868-1944) who married a Mr. Wilson. Julia Ann Burns Smith was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Burns of East Tennessee (1840-1875). After her death, John Smith married Elizabeth Mears Smith and their children were: Alberta "Allie" Smith (1878-1938) who married Dave Brightwell. Elizabeth Mears Smith died about 1915; John Smith died in 1910. Both were buried in the Burns Cemetery on Water Creek, in Marion County. Many descendants are scattered all over the U.S.
A special thanks is given to Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Floyd, Mrs. Marcella Smith Pyle, Mrs. Marian Burnes, Mrs. Julia Davis, and Mr. George Horner for the valuable help they gave me in compiling this information on the Smith, Cox and Duggins families.
Grandfather William Thomas Marion Smith was born March 26, 1858, at the headwaters of Tomahawk Creek, Searcy County, Arkansas, near the Marion County Line. He was the great-grandson of John and Julia Ann Bums Smith. He grew up in this area. He was married in 1877 to 16-year old Miss Mary Missouri Carolina Moody, daughter of a Baptist minister, Washburn "Wash" Moody and Mrs. -- Martin Moody. She was born in Taney County, Missouri, on September 7, 1861 while her family was on the way from North Carolina to Water Creek, Marion County, Arkansas. Her given names are names of two states, a pioneer custom to keep record and honor status from whence she had come. Her haIf-sister was Allie Moody Cooper.
The children of Thomas and Mary Moody Smith were: Wyley Smith (1878-1887); John William Smith (1880-1883) who was killed while handling a pistol; Anna Smith (1882-1884) who died from Typhoid; Ora W Smith (1884-1884); James Franklin Smith (1885-1946) who married Florence Cox of Buffalo City in 1913; Benjamin Harrison Smith (1888-1949) who married Alice Dillard of Mull in 1914; Audie Calvin Smith (1891-1927) who married Nellie Stills in 1919; Ancil Jewel Smith (1893-1938) who married Alie Page; Arthur Seran Smith (1895-1970) who married Bertha Davenport; Monty Floyd Smith (1898-1970) who married Gertrude Kester; Columbus Smith (1900-1901); and Ionia Inez Smith (1903-1962) who married Justin Williams.
Grandfather Smith was a Methodist and Grandmother Mary Moody Smith was a Baptist. The children called their father Daddy and their mother Mamie. They made at least three trips to the Indian Territory but found it unsatisfactory and lived the rest of their lives in Marion and Searcy Counties, settling permanently at Water Creek in 1920.
Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.