|Birth: ||Jan. 4, 1853|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Jun. 4, 1883|
Gazing at William Smith's fallen obelisk in the snow on a cold January morning in 1988 was one of the most poignant moments I have ever experienced. A coal miner from Frankstown, Pa., 20 year-old William married my 30 year-old great great grandmother Emma Hershberger in 1872 and became an instant stepfather to Grant Hershberger and Annie Hershberger. Emma and William had 4 children of their own: John, who died at age 4, Orie May, George and Merrill. William died at age 30 and according to the brief funeral home record was 'buried from the Alms House'. His impressive (and likely expensive) memorial was erected many years later just after the death of his wife. Although toppled, in 1988 it was still readable: "William Smith, died June 4, 1883, aged 30 ys, 5 ms." The grave sits near the lower end of the cemetery, just before the drop-off that leads down to the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River. As I stood that morning I could hear the voices of children skating on the river, wafting up through the frosty air. Somehow it seemed fitting in that place and time...
Update: 14 September 2005. Returned to Geeseytown Cemetery and found no sign of William's obelisk in its original location. Found the obelisk in the Juniata River ravine, fifty feet down, laying face up and still readable. It was the only tombstone visible in the ravine, although it is likely more have been pushed in over the intervening years. I feel like it was waiting patiently for me. See full series of photos including ravine photo with red arrow showing present location of the stone.
Emma Salome Hershberger Smith (1844 - 1905)*
Orie May Smith Dunmire (1875 - 1927)*
John Smith (1878 - 1882)*
George Ira Smith (1879 - 1930)*
Merrill R. Smith (1881 - 1909)*
"We have lost our darling father
Oh how hard to give him up!
But an angel came down for him
And removed him from our flock"
Created by: Zella
Record added: Jul 28, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11439787