Smith Family Reunion

May 28, 1989

Stories collected from Descendants

For Photos click on Underlined Names (in blue) throughout stories, then return here using your "BACK button"..

SMITH FAMILY HISTORY by Mary Louise (Smith) Parsons

This account has been written from information gathered from my Aunt Alice Teichert and my Dad, Stanley A. Smith --

Great grandfather, William Hunsinger, lived in Rock Glen, PA, a small village west of Hazleton, population about 300. It was said that he was a musician. He loved country or square dancing, sometimes until late into the night. Sometimes he was so "danced out" that he went to bed with his boots on. He owned a long bass drum which he used at dances. He would set it on end and then hammer out rhythms with two heavy bass drum sticks. The story was also circulated that on his way home one night from a square dance he ran into a wild cat. He hammered away on the drum and the cat left. William was noted as a huckster and trader. He planned all kinds of affairs to make money. Sometimes he planned clam bakes on a Sunday afternoon at his home. To let people know in the Big Creek Valley, it was said that he hammered the bass drum good and loud.

William married an Indian. They had two sons, Ezra and Ira. He left his wife and children and came to Effort, PA. He then changed his name to Smith. There he had a small store and met his wife, Cornelia, as a customer. Their children were Herbert (my grandfather), Lizzie, Annie, Cora, and Minnie (who passed on as a young married woman.)
My grandmother, Mary Estella Green's parents were Daniel and Sarah Alice Green. Daniel's mother was supposedly Indian. Mary Estella's cousin told the story that when she'd visit Daniel and Sarah's house, Daniel's mother was often sitting in the kitchen with a black, broad- brimmed bonnet, smoking a pipe. Daniel and Sarah Alice lived on a large farm in Trachsville, PA. Alice remembers a spring house where milk, butter, eggs, and watermelon were stored. Whenever she'd visit they'd cut a watermelon to eat - they grew them. The house and spring house are still there. Their children were: Mary Estella (the oldest), Sarah, Gertrude, Pearl, Carrie, Milton, and Herman.

Stanley remembers calling on his grandparents. Daniel and Sarah, one afternoon and finding them both in the hay field. He had promised to take them to a concert in the evening in which he was featured as a trombone soloist. After loading the hay on the wagon they forked it into the hay mow in the barn, washed up, ate supper, dressed, and then took off for the concert which they enjoyed very much.

Mary Estella was working at Hotel 57 (they were stagecoach stops)near her home, as a maid. Herbert met her at a dance there and they were married. They moved to Wild Creek, PA (near Lehighton), housekeeping there in a small house. Sphener was born there. William passed on at 6 mos., Stanley, Alvin, Verdie, and Alice the children. Sometime when Stanley was an infant they lived in Hotel 56 back in Trachsville. Herbert had horses and often supplied fresh horses for stagecoaches, and Mary Estella would cook the meals. A maid helped with the meals. Tailors lodged there several weeks at a time to make suits for the locals.

Herbert left the family in 1924, 4 months before Alice was born. Moved to Pottsdam, NY, where he raised quarterhorses and cows (a dairy farm). He lived 20 years there with a Mary ?. He is buried in Effort, PA. Mary Estella is buried in her sister Carrie's lot in Towamensing. Carrie married my grandfather Ziegenfus' brother, Jesse. They lived in Aquashicola and had a grocery store there. Herman, Carrie and Mary Estella's brother, was the butcher and delivery boy.

My Dad, Stanley, taught at Cope's School, a country school, grades 1 to 8, all subjects right out of high school, age 17. He took the train from Weissport to Palmerton and then walked to the school, a walk of about 1 hr. 20 minutes. His second job was at Franklin Independent School at Bunker Hill, East Weissport.
He worked himself through college -first East Stroudsburg Normal School (as it was then called) then Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. He waited on tables in the dining room three times a day, and worked on a farm during spare hours when he was free from classes and study.

This Photo was taken at the 2nd Smith reunion on August 1, 1992 hosted by Mary Louise (Smith) Parsons in Loveland, Colorado

In the photo (from left to right) BACK ROW: Barb Parfitt, Kathie Parsons, Tom Parsons, David Parsons with Chris on shoulder, Marie Parsons, George Micklatcher, Leah Micklatcher, "Tish" Smith, Janet Smith. In front of Janet are Bryan Smith, Charles Smith, Randy Smith. MIDDLE ROW (from left): Matt Parfitt holding Dylan, Todd Neel (only hair showing), Linda Neel, Ted Parsons, Joyce Parsons, Brian Conant, Rose Conant, Angelica held by Norma Sanabria, Mario Sanabria, Lisa Smith holding Tevor, Brad Smith. FRONT ROW: Bruce Neel holding Sean, Ray Parsons, Mary Louise Parsons, Stanley Smith, Luella Smith, Jennifer Smith, Justin Smith, Timothy Smith and Roger Smith.


Gail Ann (Adams) Ketchledge
I remember picking potatoes on Uncle George & Aunt Verdie Milander's farm as a little girl. Our family would spend the day helping. I also remember visiting my cousin Elaine and spending some vacation days with Aunt Helen, Uncle Al Smith when I was young. I also loved going to Uncle Al's store. He really liked to kid around.

My Cousin, Anna (Milander) Groller and I used to double date. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding. She had been telling me about her boyfriend (John Groller) and the first time I met him I was really surprised because I knew him and we had been friends for a long time. I also knew several of his closest friends. Anna couldn't believe it.

One of my fondest memories of high school was playing flute in band and orchestra with Uncle Stanley Smith as the band director. He was strict and I often think of the time I was dismissed from band practice for talking which I'm still very good at! - Actually, better than playing the flute! Uncle Stanley taught me how to play the flute. Leah (Smith) Micklatcher and I spent many evenings together. We joined the Palmerton Band ( which was mostly men) for something to do.` We took adult sewing classes at the high school, and we went out together alot on Saturday nights. We used to go square dancing.

Our family lived with Granny Smith (Mary Smith) until I was about eight years old and we moved to Palmerton. I remember her working very hard in the garden. She had a patch of the white Easter lilies and I always think of her when I see those flowers. She was very special to me. I used to ride my bike from Palmerton to Weissport to visit her.

I remember attending a school play at Palmerton High School in which my cousin Charles Smith acted. I haven't seen Charles in about 30 years. I see Leah, Mary, Aunt Luella and Uncle Stanley occasionally. I've visited Aunt Luella and Uncle Stanley several times in St Petersburg.

My husband, Ronald Ketchledge, died suddenly 7 1/2 years ago. We dearly loved him and really miss him. The girls and I have been working together to keep the house in shape and continue on.

Bryan Keith Smith
Anecdote: Bryan is the only non-musician in this particular line of the Smiths'. Stanley, Charles, Randy, Bradley and Roger have all at one time or another been employed in the musical field. Although Bryan can play the piano and trumpet, he has never been employed as a musician. Grandma Luella once told me a story about Charles. One time when Charles was little he was practising the flute, but he wanted to go out and play instead. In a fit of anger he said, "Just because dad plays doesn't mean I have to also!" (We all know how that story ends!) Justin, Bryan's son, Charles'grandson is now taking piano lessons. One day while reluctantly practising, Justin said to his mother, " Just because grandpa plays music doesn't mean I have to also!" -- History repeats itself!

Linda (Parsons) Neel
I remember spending a week in the summers with Grandpa and Grandma Smith in Palmerton. My brothers and sister and I loved to explore the old school house and the attic where "treasures" such as an old wooden wagon, a book with magic pages, and old wash tubs were found. There we were fed plenty of scrapple and shoo-fly pie. If Aunt Leah was home from college, she and great aunt Hilda would play Flinch ( a card game) with us for hours. Grandpa would take us fishing and to the candy store where we'd buy penny candy. Evenings were always completed with Grandpa's famous root beer floats!

Barbara (Parsons) Parfitt
Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house at RD2, Palmerton, walking on the railroad tracks, swimming in the creek with the cousins -- these are a few of my memories of growing up.

David Parsons
Most of my memories of visits with Grandma and Grandpa Smith seem to be related to food.``The first time I ever tasted pizza was at a band concert being directed by Grandpa. The backyard barbeques were always a favorite of Grandpa with plenty of hot dogs (doggies he called them), birch beer, corn on the cob and watermelon. ` `The backyard compost heap was always brimming with watermelon rinds. At every gathering one could find plenty of bottled milk complete with cream on top, sausages, ham, and dandelion salad ( never did try it, though I helped pick the dandelions!) and for dessert there was always shoo-fly pie.

Louise (Teichert) Zatoris
Some of the memories of my grandmother, Mary Smith that I wish to share with you are as follows:
First, I want to tell you that I was 9 years old when Grammy passed away so I do not have as many memories as some of the relatives, but the ones I have, have stayed with me for many years.
I remember not really wanting to stay there over night because I think I was most afraid of the "outhouse". For some reason that was unpleasant to me. I can recall certain things in the house - first, the dish of saltine crackers she always kept on the kitchen table, the coal stove, and the dry sink. In the living room I remember a buffet type dresser directly on the right hand corner in which she always kept those awful tasting "Y&S Black Licorice Sticks" which she enjoyed sucking on. I also recall a pot-belly stove and her china closet with pictures of older cousins who were already married and thinking they looked beautiful.
One of the most vivid pictures in my mind is the old-time radio she had in the front room that I would sit by to listen to the radio broadcast of "The Lone Ranger" `- there were few televisions in the early 50's and of course Grammy could never afford one.
Outside I can remember a big apple tree that had yellow delicious apples that I woud eat myself sick on when they were in season and in the yard was a fireplace in which a big black pot stood. It seems to me that Grammy must have favored portulacas as I remember a lot of different colored ones she planted along the back bank and porch. Another thing that comes to mind about outside is on the back porch she had a table covered with old towels where she kept her "homemade soap".
On the occasions that I did stay with Grammy, we would walk to town and get some goodies. I remember a bake shop where we would buy "windmill cookies" or gingersnaps. Also she would get those marshmallow orange peanuts or assorted garden vegetables (peas, corn, carrots) of the same type sticky-sweet candies which I loved and still crave to this day.
Those are some of the memories I hold very dear and of course very short that I share with Grammy and wish there would have been alot more.

Ann (Teichert) German
I have fond memories of visits to Aunt Verdie and Uncle George Milander's farm. We would watch Aunt Verdi, Uncle George or Anna milk the cows. And how we picked potatoes. --and the fantastic dinners we shared. The huge dishes of potatoes mashed to perfection and the delicious pastries for dessert. --and how terrified I was of the geese.
I'll always remember the beautiful gown I was given from Elaine Smith. It was my first prom gown.
I remember sitting under the grape arbor at Grammy Smith's and eating grapes and playing in the shade. And how Gail and I would shell lima beans and watch Grammy make soap. When I think of Grammy Smith (Mary), I'll always remember a Mickey Mouse wallet she gave to me and her beautiful garden of lilies and, yes, her portulacas. She had much beauty spread among her veggies and I can close my eyes and see here kneeling, weeding in the rain. I can also remember the smell of fresh baked cookies for breakfast.

Elaine (Smith) Dominic
We used to visit at Grammy Smith's farm every Sunday after Church. Also we would visit Uncle Stanley's family in Palmerton quite often on Sundays or visit Aunt Verdie's family on their farm.

Vincent G. and Alice (Smith) Teichert
Some memories are - going to picnics with Stanley and Luella Smith and taking trips with brother Alvin. Alvin and Stanley coming to Mothers' for a meal on Sunday and going to Medovach's and getting a gallon of ice cream for dessert -- Luella's favorite was chocolate.

Stanley A.Smith
I was born in Hotel 56, so named because a stage stopped there. The next stop above that was another hotel called Hotel 57. From Hotel 56 my parents moved to the lower end of White Street, Weissport, PA. It was the last house on the street and is still there. In moving, my father used a big farm wagon drawn by two horses. He and I sat on a high spring seat on the front of the wagon. The first event that I can recall in my human existence was when my father stopped at a hotel or store at Little Gap. When he came back to the wagon he handed me some caramel candy cigars, bands and all. The first Christmas I remember was on White Street. My parents had a tall Christmas tree, gayly trimmed, that reached almost to the ceiling. Under the tree was a toy drum, my first musical instrument. At this address I also remember buying ice cream cones from the ice cream man for a penny. He made his rounds every week with an ice cream wagon drawn by a horse. One of the deepest impressions I received here was a beautiful fenced-in garden owned and cared for by an elderly man. It was beautiful and well-kept. He raised vegetables, fruit, and flowers which he peddled by using a wheel barrow. One reason things grew so well in his garden was his practice of keeping White Street clean by sweeping up the horse manure and using it in his garden for fertilizer.
I began school here in first grade. The building still stands and is located next to the Weissport-Lehighton bridge on the left side going towards Lehighton, about halfway across the bridge. I had an excellent first grade teacher here who gave me a very good start in education. I prided myself by reading fast and thought it a lot of fun to read things backward. From Weissport we moved to what was called Rickertsville which was really north Weissport. Here I continued my education in a big brick building called the Bunker Hill School. In this school I received my first spanking. I was in Fifth Grade. The teacher was a man, tall and lanky, with long arms like Ichabod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. He drew a chalk-line on the wooden floor, told me to bend down and touch the line with my fingers. Then he took off his leather belt from his trousers, doubled it up, and laid it on freely, but I survived. No, his trousers didn't fall down, because besides wearing a belt, he also wore suspenders. He believed in double security.

Mary Louise (Smith) Parsons
I remember watching Grandma (Mary) Smith milk her cow. I was a bit afraid of the cow because it had once kicked Grandma - I didn't get very close! My favorite pastime at Grandma's house was to swing on her front porch, and to play her player piano! What fun!
I remember a fun vacation with cousin, Margie Smith. Breakfasts were very harmonious occasions - Margie would eat only the white of the eggs, and I only the yolks. I discovered what cactus plants were on that vacation. There was a small cactus off the stairs which I had to pass, and it was very tempting. Finally, I HAD to touch it and ouch! I felt it for days. (I don't think anybody ever knew - I was too embarassed to tell).
Remember Christmas time at Uncle Alvin's - he had the neatest train set. It was always a big time for our family. Also remember his furniture store. One evening our family was visiting the store. (My guess is that I was about Junior High age). While the adults were talking I walked to the big display windows at the front of the store. It was dark outside but there were lights in the store windows where Alvin was displaying his G.E. appliances. People walked by on the sidewalk. I wondered if I could fool people by pretending to be a mannequin. I stepped in the window and stood very still. A couple came to the window and looked - I didn't breathe. I'm sure they weren't fooled for a minute but I stood without moving until they left. Whew!
Aunt Verdie and Uncle George's farm was fascinating. After I was married, Ray and I visited the farm and saw a new litter of kittens in the barn. We took one home with us and named him "Kitty". Whenever we saw Verdie, she always asked if we still had "Kitty"- she was surprised he survived so long. (Guess they were short-lived on the farm).
I'm enjoying now getting to know Aunt Alice and Uncle Vince better. They visited us in Colorado last summer (1988) and we had a wonderful time together.

Leah Jane (Smith) Micklatcher
MEMORIES OF GRANDMA SMITH - I never really got to know her that well, but I do remember her being a hard worker. She always had a beautiful vegetable garden - I remember a peach orchard.
I was fascinated by the woodburning stove in the kitchen. In the dining room stood a china closet with beautiful colored dishes that sparkled. In that same room was a pot-bellied stove - the warmth from the stove always felt so-o-o good in the wintertime. I can remember Grandma's brother,Milt, sitting beside the stove chewing tobacco, and spitting into the spittoon. His aim seemed to be pretty good!
Picnics at Grandma's house always were so much fun. They used to roast corn over the outside fireplace - used burlap sacks to cover the corn. The food was always delicious. After eating, we always went for long walks - learned alot about family history on those walks.

MEMORIES OF THE TEICHERT FAMILY - When our family moved to RD#2, Palmerton, I became better acquainted with the Teichert family, Aunt Alice, Uncle Vince, Vincent,Gail, Ann, Sandy, Louise, and Debbie. We lived about five houses down from them.
I have fond memories of waiting at the bus stop before school every morning, swimming in the old swimminghole at the Acquashicola Creek, long walks on the railroad tracks, hiking in the woods, and playing cards (mostly king-on-the-corner).

MEMORIES OF UNCLE ALVIN'S FAMILY - Uncle Alvin and Aunt Helen always seemed to be so happy - were fun to be with. When I was in junior high my folks bought me a new bike, and one of my longer bike trips was to go to Lehighton the back way to visit Uncle Al's family on Seventh Street - this was via Markley's cherry orchard.
When I started teaching, my first job was in Lehighton. I have fond memories of eating lunch at Uncle Al's house. I mostly remember Aunt Helen and Bobby being there.

MEMORIES OF AUNT VERDIE'S FAMILY - It was always a treat to visit Aunt Verdie, Uncle George, and their family on the farm. I remember that they were always so kind and gentle. Aunt Verdie always put quite a spread on the table for us - her garlic sausage was delicious!

MEMORIES OF UNCLE SPHENER'S FAMILY - I didn't get to know Uncle Sphener and his family very well. When we lived at 449 Lafayette Ave.,I recall that Sphener helped my dad install a new furnace in our house.

Charles Warren Smith
Last summer Dad asked me a question: "Do you have fond memories of growing up in Palmerton? I've often wondered whether my children have fond memories of growing up,too." I decided to list those things which came to mind. It is interesting how my mind could recall some details I had forgotten. It is also interesting that my mind could move forward or backward depending on the last thought. Anyway, I thought you might be interested in the many good things I remember. I believe the following list takes me into the second grade.
Going to the country picnics and listening to Dad's bands, eating barbecue, walking in the cakewalks, and "fishing" for the prize over the blanket.
Driving to Grandma's house in Weissport.
Picking grapes in the back yard and making grape juice concentrate in a big metal tub on the back porch, filling and capping the bottles, carrying them to the shelves in the basement, and drinking it all winter long.
Making root beer in the big metal tub.
Dipping steamed clams in butter and eating them at a long picnic table at some kind of picnic, but I don't remember more than that.
Raising some rabbits in the room under the garage.
Pushing the lawn mower for the first time.
Watching the men unload coal from the truck and listening to it slide down the chute.
Driving to the Hoppes' dairy farm in winter and going for a horsedrawn sleigh ride.
Sledding on the Fifth Street hill and warming my hands over the oil lamps at the barricades.
Sitting on the glider on the front porch and wasting a hot summer afternoon.
Playing snare drum in the band at a country picnic.
Sitting on Dad's lap and "driving" the Buick. (Little kids can't do that these days!)
Washing the car at the creek across the road from the Grange Hall.
Going fishing early in the morning of the first day of fishing season.
Somehow building a small fire,eating roasted smoked sausage, warmed baked beans, and onions in the rain in the woods on the way home from fishing.
Catching minnows in the little stream below the slate quarry.
Shooting at frogs in the ponds above Little Gap but never even wounding one.
Going squirrel and groundhog hunting.
Riding the blue, girl's bicycle while Dad rode the boy's bike to see why I complained that it was difficult to pedal.
Walking to my first piano lesson with Earl Seip at the high school on a cold Saturday morning.
Going to a family outing with Alvin's and Sphener's families at Promised Land and eating lebanon bologna sandwiches.
Visiting with Aunt Verdie and George and eating homemade, canned Polish sausage.
Going to the Acme store with my wagon, bringing home orange crates, carefully removing the nails, and building things with the saw, hammer, and nails in the basement.
Sitting on Mother's dressing table bench in the bedroom and blowing a trumpet Dad brought home from school.
Taking pictures with my new Brownie camera and developing the film and printing pictures with my new darkroom kit in my bedroom closet.
Sitting in the attic and going through boxes of Dad's college books, wondering what his classes were like.
Sitting at the piano and just doodling, despite Mother's complaints.
Riding on the pillow on the gas tank of the Indian motorcycle to go fishing.
Wading in the creek in the park.
Helping Mother make jelly.
Eating soft-boiled eggs and buttered bread for breakfast.
Oiling my first baseball glove. (I didn't know any better and used olive oil!)
Standing outside a window at the Coca Cola building, standing on toetips, and watching soda being bottled by machines.
Going by myself with 75 cents and the big sled to buy a Christmas tree at the Coal Bowl.
Crossing the footbridge over the railroad on the way to Delaware School and waiting for the locomotive to pass under so I could get warm from the steam on a cold winter morning.
Standing outside a window at the paint testing plant on the way to Delaware School and watching men pour molten zinc into molds.
Going to sleep with the sounds of WJZ radio from New York City. (I understand that station eventually became the ABC radio network.)
Going with Dad into the small booth in the music store in Allentown to listen to classical records before buying them.
Going to Philadelphia with Dad and climbing the dark staircase to Hans Moennig's repair shop.
Going for an airplane ride at the Lehighton Fair.
Riding the train from Palmerton to Allentown.
Riding the trolley in Allentown.
Being in the Buick when the trolley turned right and caught the front bumper of the Buick.
Going shopping during sales at Hess Brothers.
Eating frozen custard at Hess Brothers.
Having the feet x-rayed in the shoe department at Hess Brothers.
Going to Allentown band concerts at the Lyrictheatre.
Going to Mother's relative in Bowmanstown to buy an old chicken (or maybe a rooster) and watching the man cut off its head, then letting the beheaded chicken flop around in the snow, "painting" it red.
Being allowed for the first time to swing the garage doors shut and placing the board after Dad backed the Buick out.
Walking to the sand quarry to watch men blast the rock.
Shooting at bottles in the slate quarry.
Shoveling snow for 10 cents.
Buying an ice cream cone for 5 cents at the Hazel Maid.
Mother giving me 15 cents to buy a plate of French fries at the restaurant next to the bridge on Delaware Avenue.
Picking up dry-cleaned clothes at Constantine's.
Watching Dad as he taught the girls to twirl baton.
Watching Dad as he practiced baton twirling in the living room.
Running on the sidewalk to keep up with Dad's high school band as they marched down Delaware Avenue.
Watching Mother iron clothes in the dining room.
Looking at the sump pump in the basement and wondering how it worked.
Throwing a piece of scrap metal into the big bin to get into the movie at the Palm theatre on a Saturday afternoon.
Walking to the barber shop for a haircut.
Thinking that the Citizen's Bank looked more like a prison than a place to get money.
Going to the old Acme store - I think it eventually became a Ben Franklin Store - with a dime and a ration coupon to buy a box of Oxydol for Mother.
Going to some garage on Hazard Road, I believe, to buy tires for the Buick and watching Dad use money and ration coupons to pay for them.
Watching the man pump Sinclair gasoline into the Buick from the pump on the curb at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Fourth Street.
Going to the A&P store to buy lebanon bologna from the huge piles of sliced lunch meat in the glass cooler.
Going to the PP&L building (I think that is what it was) to pay the bill for Mother.
Opening the wooden tub of salted mackerel in the basement on Sunday morning before going to church.
Eating smoked herring.
Eating onion, bread and butter sandwiches before boing to bed.
Wondering how Izzy Siegel could fit into that small convertible.
Bringing in the milk in glass bottles from the front porch.
Shaking the milk bottle to mix the cream.
Mixing the color powder with the white oleo margarine.
Listening to the banging sounds of air trapped in the radiators in winter.
Always having to pull my socks up and tuck them under the knickers.

Photo of group at 3rd (1995) Smith Family Reunion at Camp Kum-Ba-Ya, Kentucky, hosted by Charles & Janet Smith

For Ray Parsons' home page and related stories use your "BACK button".

Send mail to Ray Parsons by clicking here.