CALHOUN'S ARISTOTLE - "Anything You Wanted Him To Be, The King Of West Fork Eloquence"

(12/16/2017)

Aristotle Smith (1862-1911)

Aristotle believed that for "our depravities we get most of our hell on earth."

"What is religion but God in the heart of man. This world is one stupendous whole. Nature the body. God the soul. Consequently, the soul is the supreme principle that animates. The soul, the animate, the immaculate and the finite of the existence hereafter - and will forever exist." - Aristotle Smith

By Bob Weaver 2006

Aristotle Smith of the long-gone Village of Eden in Calhoun WV was a man for all seasons, a teacher, poet, lawyer, self-taught doctor and politician, but best known for transcribing the memoirs of Col. C. S. Dewees in 1902-03, Calhoun's most significant historical document covering the 19th century.

Well-known West Virginia historian, author and former Calhoun resident Boyd Stutler said "Aristotle Smith was the king of West Fork eloquence."

Family members said the exuberant Aristotle was his own worst enemy, drinking himself to death in 1911 at the age of 48.

Born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of Dr. Isiah Dorsey and Elizabeth Lockhart Smith, he came to Newton, Roane County at the age of four with his family.

Historically, Aristotle came from a rather impressive line, reported in Withers' "Chronicles of Border Warfare."

Young Aristotle served as his physician father's office boy and studied his medical books. Attending school in Newton, "I made a dismal failure, upon the hearing of which, my father pronounced that when he started me to school that I was a natural fool and now after schooling me twelve months - I was a damn fool, which ended my fathers attempt at trying to make a great man out of me."

Giving up on attending 'free schools,' Aristotle wrote "The time ensuing until the winter of 1881, I put in wagoning, fiddling and frolicking around."

He later attended Summer Normal Schools to obtain a teaching certificate, then teaching in a dozen or more regional schools.

At a Clay County teaching institute in 1883, Aristotle met his future wife Miss Losie Jane Chenoweth, "With whom I was impressed and strongly infatuated with on first sight, whose acquaintance I slashed on, there being no formality in etiquette, every thing wide open."

He briefly left the area and moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska in 1886, where he taught school for three years.

Returning to West Virginia in 1888, he married Miss Chenoweth, daughter of D. W. and Caroline Mollohan Chenoweth, and moved to her parent's farm at the head of Upper Big Run.

It was the tiny village of Eden, named for the Garden of Eden, which for a time had a post office. It was here that Aristotle met Col. Dewees, who was unable to read or write, and agreed to transcribe his recollections.

It is unlikely that Aristotle knew what a contribution he was making to recording 19th century Calhoun history, spending endless hours dictating the words of Col. D. S. Dewees (1821-1905), Confederate solider who spent most of his lifetime visiting house-to-house

The Calhoun post office of Losie was named for Aristotle's wife, located on Walnut near the Calhoun-Braxton line. It was near here that Daniel Boone, a contemporary of Peter McCune and Adam O'Brien, was said to have slept in a cave.

Aristotle and Losie had eight children, with only three living to maturity.

Samuel Curtis Miller (1892-1990) of Tanner Creek, near Shock, Gilmer County and the Calhoun line, vividly recalled Aristotle as his teacher at Tanner's one-room school.

"He was a really good teacher. Smart man," said Miller.

During a four-hour taped interview (1989) with his nephew Dr. Tim Miller of Kingwood, West Virginia (formerly of Calhoun), the elderly man recalled Aristotle "could be about anything you wanted him to be," saying he learned to be a doctor from his father and from reading medical books.

Miller, who was 97 at the time, recalled Aristotle's services were often called for as a physician, having come to his house to attend to his mother. After the examination, he fetched his saddle bags from his horse, and sat down with the saddle bags across his lap.

From various remedies and powders in the bag, he prepared medications - a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and concocted several doses of medicine. Each dose was then wrapped in a little piece of newspaper, with instructions to take the contents of each packet daily.

"Aristotle was a good-hearted man, his own worst enemy," said Miller, saying he charged very little, if not at all, for his services.

Calhoun historian Norma Knotts Shaffer re-printed 1000 copies of Col. D. S. Dewees' autobiography "Recollections of a Lifetime" in 1974. Aristotle Smith's daughter, Elizabeth Smith Mollohan, wrote a biographical sketch for the book.

"He was a lifelong student of history and had a talent for writing interesting and amusing stories," wrote Mollohan, many of which were published in regional newspapers.

Mollohan said Aristotle was a life-long Democrat, having served as a Calhoun delegate in the West Virginia Legislature in 1893. In 1900, he made a dramatic shift, becoming a Republican.

An article in the Calhoun Chronicle poked fun at Aristotle, saying "Honorable Aristotle Smith, one of the leading Republicans in the county, came down from his home in Eden and spent a few hours with Grantsville friends last week."

"We wonder if his party bosses will reward him for his services to the GOP," saying, "If they don't, he'd better come back to his first love (Democrat Party) and beg forgiveness ... repenting in sack cloth and ashes."

After spending several years teaching in one-room schools in Roane, Braxton, Gilmer and Calhoun counties, he started studying law books, and in 1898 quit teaching and began practicing law in Calhoun and adjoining counties.

He was described as "one of the wittiest lawyers in West Virginia," during his 16 years of practice.

Mollohan said "He liked people and had many friends, and some bitter enemies. He was generous and hospitable in his home entertaining all comers graciously."

She offered two of Aristotle's poems, written about two neighbors of different dispositions.

The first about a selfish man who "Thus mingling his ashes with the dust of the country whose hills and dales he trod for three quarters of a century, knowing himself none for the better for living, and the world none the beneficiary for having lived in it, not withstanding he was a man of more than average intellect."

"Sleep, slumberer sleep,
the sleep that knows no waking,BR> For through out the eons of eternity,
thy soul will be baking."

"Thou with a mind possessed of
jewels fair,
Hath wasted wasted all its brilliancy
on desert air."

His second poem was about another neighbor, although poverty stricken and attended by sorrows, disappointments and misfortunes, was ever generous of heart and kind to his fellowman.

"Peace be to thy ashes forever
and aye,
May thy soul see a brighter day,
And they life has not been in vain,
But some good fruit follow in thy train."

Aristotle Smith is buried with his wife Losie, her parents, and five deceased children in the Chenoweth-Smith Cemetery near the mouth of Lower Nicut

Grieved over the death of five children, Aristotle penned an ode to his deceased son:

ODE TO A DEAD CHILD

His body has passed from sight
And lays under the sod
His soul returned
To its maker “God”
There in quiet and peace
It will calmly repose
And on the morn of the resurrection
It will unfold like the rose
And through the ages of eternity
That child like voice will sing
In choruses sweeter
Than any bird of the spring
And its tokens of recognition
Of its loved one behind
Will be sweet remembrances
As reclaiming is sublime.

Sources:

- Notebook of Aristotle Smith, Eden, West Virginia, by his daughter Mrs. Dorsey Smith Pierce, St. Albans, WV, 1972 (Retyped by M. Blaire Wilson May, 1998)

- Interview with Curtis Miller, 1989, by Dr. Tim Miller, Kingwood WV

- Biographical Sketch of Aristotle Smith by daughter, Mrs. Byrne (Elizabeth) Smith Mollohan 1974, written for Norma Knotts Shaffer and the re-publication of Col. D. S. Dewees' "Recollections of a Lifetime"

- Note collection, Bob Weaver, Hur Herald

THE NOTEBOOK OF ARISTOTLE SMITH, EDEN, WEST VIRGINIA

Brought by his daughter, Mrs. Dorsey Smith Pierce, St. Albans WV

August, 1972

Re-typed by M. Blaire Wilson May, 1998

This biography is written, unedited, from the longhand used by Aristotle Smith, free-flowing, uncorrected, but stands alone as a historical repository of names and locations in the region:

I was born March 25th, 1863 on Timber Ridge on the farm sold by my father to Jerry Hicks about 1867, and one-half mile from the old brick tavern on the north western grade on Back Creek, Frederick County, Virginia about eleven miles north west of Winchester.

My father was Dr. Isaiah Dorsey Smith the youngest of five children of Capt. George Smith by his third wife who was a widow Albens whose first husband was the victim of hydrophobia being bled to death by old Dr. Brown of Pew town to avoid the terrible agonies attending the consequences of rabies.

She prior to her first marriage being an Ellis and her mother being a Lee of the old Virginia family of Lees by my grandmother Smiths first marriage to Albens she was the mother of three children one of whom was Wess Albens whose descendants live near Pleasant Dale in Hampshire county West Va. and by her second marriage to grandfather Capt. George Smith there was four children.

Jermiah Smith the oldest who lived and died in south western Missouria and whose off spring are scattered over Missouria and Kanses the second was Dr. Joseph F. Smith who emigrated to Iowa in 1850 and lived and died at and near Taintor Mahaska County whos obituary follows as taken from the New Sharon Star.

Dr. Joseph F. Smith was born in Virginia December 13, 1823; died at his home in Taintor Iowa at 1:35 a.m. March 26, 1895, after a brief illness, from heart failure. The deceased had long been a leading citizen and practicing physician; having settled in Mahaska county in 1850, remaining a continuous resident except seven months spent in Nebraska until removed by death.

His early life was spent on the farm during which time he received a common school education. He began life’s career in teaching school. In 1852 he began the study of medicine under Dr. Rinehart of Oskaloosa, and after attending the St. Louis Medical College two years began the practice of his chosen profession.

He graduated from that college in 1856. In 1854 he was united in marriage to Miss. Ellen Cunningham. To them were born three sons, one dying in infancy. George F. of Taintor, and John C. of Denver, Colorado survive their father to share their mother’s grief in the death of a faithful husband and indulgent father.

In May 1864 he enlisted in the Service of his country and was commissioned assistant Surgeon of the eighth Ioway Cavalry and served in that capacity until the close of the war. Col. J. B. Door adjutant general of Iowa, says. From June 11, 1864 the detachment at Kingston, Georgia and the entire regiment from September 25, 1864 was under the medicle care of Dr. J. F. Smith assistant surgeon.

He has been with it during the entire campaign and shared in all its hardships and proved himself a most efficient and skillful officer as well as in all respects a gentleman. The health of the command is the best evidence of his efficiency.

The deceased has long been well and favorably known to a large circle of acquaintances and friends. A warm hearted generous man, he never lacked for friends and never lost an opportunity to make himself useful to others when in his power to do so. While making no profession he was friendly to churches and liberal in their support.

He lived honorably, dealt honestly and gained the reward of an honerable life, meeting death bravely, expressing no regrets for his life’s work. The funeral services were conducted by Dr. Hugg and other members of Hiram Chapter, No. 6, Royal Arch Masons of Oskaloosa of which the deceased was an honored member.

On Thursday March 28, at the late residence of the deceased and interment was made in the Baldwin cemetry. The funeral cortege was one of the largest ever witnessed in the country, showing with what universal esteem the Doctor was held by those with whom he lived and labored so long.

Third was Aunt Caroline born in 1827 who married Wm. Cather a son of Hon. James Cather a man of more than ordinary distinguishment of his day being twice elected to the legislature of Virginia as a Whig from Fredrick county. Her family consisting of three sons one of which died young and George Perry and Charles F. who live in Webster county Nebraska.

And five daughters two dying in infancy and three living to grow to woman hood and dying with consumption whose names were Alverna and Alfretta being twins and Virginia. Wm Cather was a man of sterling character being quite a financier and during the stormy days from 1861 to 1865 he was a conspicuous figure in interceding in behalf of the citizens and those who participated in the rebelion he being a unionest and the only man at this voting precinct who dared to vote against sesation which distinction afterwards served his country a good purpose his interposition saving many their lives and possessions and on the conclusion of hostilities and the reconstruction of Virginia he served as a Justice of the peace and also Sheriff of Fredrick County, emigrating to Nebraska in 1877 he acquired a considerable of an estate he died in 1887.

My father was the fourth and youngest child of Capt. George Smith who was an unassuming plain farmer whose life was only characterized by his simple piety he was as was my father born and reared up on the old homestead entered and taken as a tomahaw right by his father Capt. Jermirah Smith our of Lord Farifaxes grant about the years of from 1736 to 1756 the patent was made in 1762 and surveyed 1748 by George Washington over which he and my great grand father had an altrication and came to blows.

Capt. George Smith was married three times having children by his first and last marriage the issue of latter marriage being already given and those of first marriage being three sons as follows George distinguished as deaf George William and Samuel and three daughters one marrying a Clutter who emigrated to Missouria one married an Anderson and moved to Indianna and one Patience who never married but lived with Wm or old Bill as he was designated.

My grand father George Smith was the youngest child of his father Capt. Jermiah Smith who was married twice having two sets of children two sons of his first marriage serving as soldiers in the revolutionary war securing our indipendence of Great Britton and one of them went to Ohio just after the revolutionary war was over to lay his land grant as a soldier and the other one settled near Prunty town in Taylor County West Virginia by his second marriage there were several children sons and daughters Samuel Smith who lived and died an old bachelor leaving a son by a woman named Frum who was chrisened Sam’s son Frum and always went by the name of Samson Frum who settled in Taylor County West Va.

My grand father Capt. George Smith the youngest of his fathers children was born in 1769 and was sixteen years old when his father died.(4) He was cutting wood in the wood yard and came to him to adjust his clothing which he did during which he leaned heavily over on my grandfather who on looking up for the cause of his so heavily leaning on him found that he was dead which was in the year of 1785.

My great grand father Capt. Jeremiah Smiths father emigrated from England to the Jerseys landing on the New Jersey shore just below Philadelphia Penn. In the wilderness in 1710 and in the night after landing my great grandfather was born under a white oak tree thus it will be seen that he came into this world and made his exit from it beneath the broad canopies of heaven beared of any of the domestic domiciles of man.

He came to the Valley of Virginia from Philadelphia when a young man and explored the country round a bout Winchester in a bout from 1735 to 1740 and blazed out two tomahawk rights one near Winchester and one on Back Creek after which he returned to Philadelphia Penn.

And shortily after returned to the Valley accompanied by a man by the name of Baker to whom he gave the tom hawk right that he had taken near Winchester retaining the one on Back Creek he and Baker arriving in the Valley where they desired to pitch the camp a long in the after noon with a horse loaded with a supply of the necessaries of back woods men turned their horse out put up a three sided camp stored a way their goods and just before sundown took their guns and went in quest of game returning a bout dusk found that their horse had made an onsloth on to their supplies and eaten up and destroyed all their flour consequently they were left to make out on wild meat until they were able to go after supplies.

The Duskey sons of the forests still being in possession of the country they all lived in peace and quiet hunting and sporting together until hostilities engendered by incroachments of the French and English and counter encroachments which gave rise to many fierce and bloody conflicts in many of which Capt. Jermiah Smith participated.

A fort being located and erected where Winchester now stands was called Fort Loudan of which he was Captain and on one occasion when the citizens were drove to shelter of the fort he started accompanied with his dog and gun to go up to his possessions on Back Creek when on the route his dog allarmed him on which he made a reconnoiter and a head and some distance to one side of the road he spied two Indians behind a tree one on each side with their guns pointed towards the road a waiting his arrival opposite them which he thwarted by firing on them and taking flight for the fort loading his gun as he ran arriving at the fort in safety his shot having wounded one of the Indians.

On another occasion when the country was infested with Indians, He had an encounter with the Indians which is chronicled in Kerchevals history of the Valley of Virginia and reads as follows:

A party of Indians commanded by a Frenchman were sent to attact Fort Fredrick situated on the Maryland side of the Potomac a bout twelve miles from Martains burg in Berkley county West Virginia which was built in 1755-6 under the superintendence of Gov. Sharp of Maryland.

Its walls of solid masonry were four and half feet thick at the base and three feet thick at the top. It was erected at a cost of Sixty five thousand pounds Sterling. Braddocks defeat left the western frontier more than ever exposed to the daring depredations of the Savage for who were aided and abetted by the French.

In the Spring of 1756 a party of a bout fifty Indians commanded by a French Captain who were sent a cross the Alleghenies to attack Fort Fredrick and destroy the frontier Settlements. Captains Jermiah Smith with twenty men and Josway Lewis with eighteen men being sent out from Fort Louden where Winchester now stands to rescue settlers from the murderous maruding Indians Capt.

Jermirah Smith with his squad accompanying a settler who had become alarmed and took his family in to Fort Louden leaving his cows corralled in a rail pen near his cabin near the source of Capen river where on arriving leaving the men outside as pickets Capt. Smith and the occupant of the cabin went inside to drink some Birch beer in the course of which the Indians came and the men thinking that they were Capt. Lewis’ squad who left the for with them the same morning coming to join them having gone in another direction gave no alarm where upon Capt. Smith happening to step to the door saw them who were forming in a V. endeavoring to surround them upon which Capt. Smith grabbed his gun and ordered a charge in which he and the French Captain came into close quarters each firing on the other at the same instant the Frenchman falling mortally wounded and the Indians being put to flight with a loss of their Captain and five Indians. Capt. Smith loosing two men. On examination of the French Captain he found a gold breast plate which he took off and sent to the king of England and also he found papers bearing instructions to meet an other party of Indians in the vacinity of Fort Fredrick and assist them in destroying the for and magazine.

This second body of Indians was encountered and dispersed on the lower waters of the North branch of Capon by Capt. Josway Lewis and party. The Indians abandoning the meditated attact on Fort Fredrick seperated into two small parties and carried their murderous work into the territory now embraced within the counties of Shenadoah, Fredrick and Berkley.

One party crossed the mountain at Mills Gap and within half a mile of the present site of Garrards town killed a man named Kellely and severel of his family. My father Dr. I. D. Smith was born July 16th 1831 and died November 3rd 1894 at the residence of Henry Wall browns on Beech fork in Calhoun County West Virginia arriving there on Friday evening a bout six oclock in the evening and next evening at six oclock in the presence of the family and Frank Houcher he expired and on Monday evening the fifth he was burried on Samuel Vinyards farm near Newton Roane County West Virginia at which point he located in the late fall of 1868 coming there from the Three forks of Reedy at which point he settled in the spring of 1868 on his arrival from Virginia forming a partnership with Dr. Frank Cooper and participated in the practice of medicine until his removal to Newton where he still pursued the practice of medicine and mercantill persuits until his death.

In March 1856 he was united in marriage to Elizabeth Ann Lockhart fifth child of General Josiah E. Lockhart by his second marriage. She being born May 29th 1837 and died November the 28th 1896 at 1 oclock A. M. and was burried on the old Unkle Adam Riep farm on Monday November the 30th by her fathers first marriage there was a considerable number of children one daughter who married a Lovett and settled in Parkersburg one of her sons D. C. Lovett living in Charleston and there were half brothers John Lockhart who located in Wirt county West Virginia whose protage is represented by a grand son Frank Lockhart a lawyer in Elizabeth, Wirt County there being a large number decendents of this John Lockhart in Wirt County.

Another half brother who was a lawyier named Thomas Lockhart who lived in Parkersburg a while emigrating to Missouria and another half brother Samuel Lockhart who lives near Lexington in Missouria. Also there was one Robert Lockhart who was killed by the union soldiers at his home he being a verry enthusiastic confederate sympathiser seeing the cause of the southern confederacy begin to wain it was thought that he become despondent and grew unconserned as to his own safety and the union soldiers who were searching for him passing by where he was concealed in hiding in the loft of his ice house he recklessly fired on them who in tun riddled the ice house one shot mortally wounding him from the effect of which he died the following night about midnight together with his son a boy of from ten to twelve years old who in company with another boy Edward Frances Payne who afterwards married Aunt Caroline Cathers youngest daughter Virginia, were crossing a fence going through a field jumping off of the fence lit on a copperhead snake which bit him and he and his father expired a bout the same time.

My grand father Lockharts second wife was a daughter of Hesiciah Triplett whose wife was a Smith lady from Loudan County Virginia. The children by grand father Lockharts las marriage were James Lockhart whose first wife was an Otis (a sister to Mrs. McElwee of Gilmer county W. Va mother of Floyd McElwee and Mrs. Wessly Boggs who lives near Stumptown Gilmer Co.) his children were Taylor, James Ad. Elias and Josiah E. the boys and girls Wonder who married a Schotchman by the name of McCullen and two more daughters who live in Smith county Kansas the rest together with Unkle Jim are in Webster Co. Nebraska except Beverly who lives in Fredrick County Va.

Joseph second son married and last known of him he was living in Baltimore and was a conductor on a passenger train between Baltimore and Philadelphia he had one son living next was Beverly N. who lives in the cove adjacent to Back Creek in Fredrick Co. Va. who has quite a family of children most of whom live near him one son Aljournan who was taken to Nebraska when a boy 12 yrs. old by Jerry Orndoff who married mas. Sister Ellen who died in Nebraska Aljournan is married and lives in Western Kansas.

Unkle Bev. Was a soldier on the confederate side as was all his brothers enlisting under Capt. Holiday who was a young atty. In Winchester Va. and had just been elected STS. Atty. For Fredrick County when the war broke out and joinded (Stone Wall) Thomas Jonathan Jacksons brigade where they all served during the war after which Capt. Fred Holiday was elected Gov. of Va.

Unkle Bev. For meritorious services was promoted first Lieutenant during the third year of the war, next son was Unkle William Henry Harrison Lockhart known and called by every one “Tip” who after the war went to Nebraska and homesteaded a quarter section of land in Catherton township Webster County after prooving up on which he went to Montana and now lives a bout Deer lodge he never married, the youngest Aljournan lives near Pugh town Va his first wife dying left a son Clark who is with Unkle Jerry Orndoff in Webster Co. Nebr.

My mother’s oldest sister Aunt Isabella married an Anderson and lives in Fredrick County Va Another sister married an Anders and lived in Clay co. Iowa. My grand father Gen. Josiah E. Lockhart’s father was Robert Lockhart and Irishman who acquired considerable of an estate which he divided between his two sons John and Josiah E. my grandfather who was a man of considerable note in his day serving under Gen. Wm Henry Harison who was ninth Pres. Of the U. S. in the Indian wars in the North West territory participating in the battle of Tipicanoe and also later was with Gen. Hull and Detroit and was surrendered to the British by Hull, he was one of the Grand Marshalls of Va in his day being appointed by the Gov. also a Justice of the piece under the old Constitution of Va. and post master.

In politics he was a Whig and a great admirer and an enthusiastic supporter of Gen. Wm Henry Harison in both of his campaigns for the Presidency. His brother John settled in South western Virginia and was the ancestor of a large protage.

Our family consisted of four children the oldest Wonder born in February 1857 died when she was four years old of diptheria next is myself whose birth is chronicaled in the onset of this biography third was Pochahontas christened by a negress Mariah who was one of grandfather Lockharts slaves who after her freedom lived with our family until we left our old home in Fredrick County Virginia she being unable to speak. Pochahontas nick named her Katy which name she still bears She was born the 17th day of April 1864 and died June 20 1936 and on the 6th day of January 1881 was united in marriage by the ministerial officiery of Rev. Charley Shackleford a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; to Samuel Vinyard a Son of Wm Vinyard whose father was one of the pioneer Settlers of the Poca Waters in Roane County W.Va. emigrating there from Elk river just below Jarretts ford in Kanawha County to whence he had come from Greenbrier County; Samuel Vinyard’s grand father Lane Vinyard married a Hammix all the Hammixes of Roane, Jackson and Kanawha County’s being protages of the same ancestry his mother was Sally Looney a daugher of Robert Looney the paternal ancester of all the Looneys of the upper Poca and Henry’s fork waters he settling in an early day where Loony Ville now is the issue of Katy was Bettie born Nov. 1881, Maud born in 1883 and two boys twins Aristotle and Aljournan born in 1888 and fourth Ann Ellis who was named for my mother whose name was Elizabeth Ann.

And my grand mother Smith whose maiden name was Ellis, who was born the 7th of March 1867 and was married to William Marcellis Looney in Oct. 1885 by Rev. Addison Bailey a baptist minister and issue Isarah Daniel in honor of my father and Daniel Looney William M. Looneys father born in 1886 Porter, Asbury, Genettie and Katy to this date March 9th 1899. My father as I have before stated moved to the Three forks of Sandy as it was then known the postoffice Newton then being at the mouth of Dog Creek two miles below kept by Rev. D. W. Ross, in 1868 the place then was inhabited by old Unkle Hughy Griffith as he was familiary known Aron Nol who own a small grist mill James McCourehay who run a small store old Andy Odell and Bink Tompson who was a general hustler and teamster pretty soon the little village had new accessions in a bout the year of 1870.

D. W. Ross, James Keen and T. J. Ellis formed a partner ship and put up a store moving the Newton post office to it, In the latter Summer and early fall of 1869 in company with Bill Noe we attended school at the old Dog Creek School house taught by a Gink Young the next year in company with Lee Ellis we went to school to James Frugate at the old log house where the school house now stands on Holly wood.

Attended several schools at the old Holly Wood School house taught by Shelt Carper and Columbus Orsborne next teacher was Mrs. Maggie (Dillon) Brock who was raised near Sutton Braxton County who taught school at the old log house on the Rogers fork while attending this school I boarded with old Unkle Eliga Rogers one of the pioneer settlers also attended School at the Rogers School house under the tutorship of M. A. C. Hopkins and boarded with Unkle Eliga Rogers next teachers were Prof. Nash a specialist in penmanship and Prof. Clarence L. Broadus who was a nephew of the great Baptist divine of world wide fame of Virginia.

Also he was a Capt. In the confederate army distinguishing himself on may a battle field lossing an arm being pierced five times by bullets and pieces of shells, next in 1878 I attended school at Clay C.H. with a Prof. Charles Preston as teacher but I have omitted one of my teachers Prof. Peter C. Vinyard one of the best teachers I ever went to schools at Clay Court House boarding with E. B. Wheeler who had as my companions for boarders Noah Cook, Brad. White Patrick N. King and Richard Shelton.

In the fall or during the following winter of 1878 Prof. Preston taught school at what was known as the lower Porters creek school house during which time I boarded with John Sands who was at that time County Supt. of Clay County and had besides my self as boarders Prof. Preston, Noah Cook, Gen. Cobb a son of Arch Cobb Hans and Aobert Salisburry Miss. May Young, Martha Heart who afterwards became Pat Kings wife, During the fall of 1878 Johon Sands co. Supt. with Prof. Preswton as a member of the board of examiners held an examination in which I got a No. one certificate.

The following summer of 1879 Prof. Preston again taught a select school at Clay Court House to which I again went boarding with E. B. Wheeler again with Clark Summers my sister Katy Miss. Lizzie Weeks, Noah Cook and Phil. McMorrow as co boarders.

After the school closed again passed an examination under John Sands co. Supt. with Prof. Preston and Scott Nottingham as members of the board of examiners in which I made a dismal failure upon the hearing of which my father pronounced that when he started me to school that I was a natural fool and now after schooling me twelve months I was a d-m fool which ended my fathers attempt at trying to make a great man out of me the time ensueing until the winter of 1881 I put in wagoning fiddling and frolicking a round. During the winter of 1881 I went to school to Marshall A. C. Hopkins who taught in the little old school house on the hill where the school house now stands at Newton being my last attendence in free schools after which in the spring and early summer of 1882 I went to Lower Flat Fork of Poca and attended a school composed of Josiah Hughes, Lon. Hughes, Will Kyle, Bruce Irland, M.A.C. Hopkins and myself for six weeks boarding with John Hughes’ family; after which during the latter part of July and Aug. 1882.

I went to Tripletts run and attended six weeks of the latter part of a term of select school being taught by Rev. Harvey Cofer county Supt. of Roane Co. during which time I boarded with John Marford Rev. Cofer the teacher a young lady by the name of Rader boarding there and Mark E. Depew after which in the latter part of Aug.

I went to Spencer and attended the Institue with old Prof. A. L. Wade as instructor during which time and the examination that followed I boarded with Rev. Cofer half to three quarters of a mile a bove Spencer in company with Frank McCulty we taking our dinners and eating each day at noon in Berrys black smith shop on passing the examination I got a No. 3. Certificate on which in Sept. I went to Clay Court House and passed an exanination under Call Hall Co. Supt. with Sam Stephenson and Jasper Young board of examiners receiving a No. 2 Certificate which I filed with old Jacob Fitzwaters Sec. Of the B. & E.

In the absence of those who were appointed trustees at the old Blue Knob School Squire George Eagle Pres. Of the B. of E. and Squire Norval Shannon a member of the B. of E. both living in the territory comprising the Sub Dist. Of Blue Knob and being patrons of the school in complience with the provisions of the school law regulating and governing such matters they hired me to teach the term of free school of four months commencing Monday morning Nov. 6th 1882.

During which time I boarded with Newton Nichols on the conclusion of which having previously contracted for it there having been a new Sub. Dist. formed on Grannies Creek in Geary Dist. Roane Co. I began on Monday morning March 7th 1883 and taught 3 ½ months the first free school ever taught on Grannies Creek during which time I boarded with Sam King my school closing June 23rd 1883 after which I went to a select school which was being taught by Prof. S.H.Patrick for three weeks at the old lower Porters creek school house during which time I boarded with John Sands. At the conclusion of which I attended the Institute at Clay Court House with Prof. S.H. Patrick as instructor.

At this institute I met my future intended wife Miss. Losie J. Chenoweth with whom I was impressed and strongly infatuated with on first sight whose acquaintance I slashed on to there being no formality in etiquette every thing wide open.

After the institute I attended the examination conducted by Perry C. Wilson Co. Supt. and Sam. Stephenson member of the board of examiners receiving a No. one certificate and went to Middle Creek and contracted with Eathan A. Holcomb and Simp. Neal trustees for the Middle Creek school to begin the first Monday in Nov. 1883 for four months during which time boarded with Eathan A. Holcomb.

Also after this contracted with Shelt Williams and old Billy Arbogast trustees of the school at the mouth of Big Sycamore commencing on Monday morning Aug. 31st, 1883 and taught two months turning over the remainder of the school to Miss. Ellen Waugh during this part of a school I boarded with Shelt Williams at the conclusion of my Middle Creek school.

I contracted for a month of school the remainder of a term commenced by Alaxander Stephenson of Nichols County and commenced it March 19th 1884 during which time I boarded with old Uncle Jonathon Noal one of the pioneer settlers of Clay County.

The following summer I attended a select school taught by M. F. Lieuellen at Clay Court House boarding with Solomon Reed with R.E. Altizer as my roommate. Also my wife attended the same school boarding with R. B. Stephenson. The same summer I attended the latter part of a select school taught by Lewis Arnold at Newton my old home at the conclusion of which I attended the institute at Spencer with Rev. Hughes as instructor.

After this I passed an examination under E. Corder, Co. Supt, B.S. Hall and John H. Hunt membes of the Board of Examiners receiving a No. One certificate. I also attended the institute in Clay County with Prof. S.H. Patrick, instructor after which I passed the examination under Perry C. Wilson, Co. Supt. and Buck Ashley and Call Hall, members of the Board of Examiners receiving a No. one certificate on which I contracted with Charley Drake and Sam Noe for the Green Mountain school in Geary Dist. Roane County boarding with Sam. Noe during this term of 3 ½ months which closed Xmas Day 1884.

This being a campaign year I was a candidate for Justice of the peace my rivals being J. J. Smith B. J. Taylor, W.W. Ogden and Levi Stalnaker the two former being elected.

The spring and early summer of 1885 I attended school at Hocking port Ohio an indipendent institution taught by Prof. C. E. Keys boarding with Mr. Curtis.

I attended the institute at Parkersburg in Wood County with Prof. U. S. Fleming instructor from whence I went to Elizabeth, Wirt Co. and where I went a few weeks to school to Rev. Harvy Cofer also boarded with him from where I came to Spencer a long a bout Aug. and passed an examination under John E. Hunt Co. Supt. and Ed. Corder and Mack Chambers members of the board of examiners receiving a No. one certificate.

I contracted with Press Vinyard and Isreal Faggot for the Drake School in Smithfield Dist. For three months boarding with Press Vinyard also contracted with N. B. Smith, Henry Sergent trustees of the Rockey branch school for a term of three months in Walton Dist.

Teaching it during the fall before I began the Drake school boarding with Henry Seargent. The summer of 1886 I again attended Rev. Harvey Cofers school at Elizabeth Wirt County boarding with Rev. Cofer, with Roy Hutchinson, John McClung and George Chenoweth as room mates.

I attended the institute at Spencer which was conducted by Prof. Frank Cork instructor and I also attended the institute at Sutton Braxton County conducted by Prof. S. B. Brown instructor and principle of the Glenville Normal School passing an examination under Newton Hamric Co. Supt. and Dr. McCauley and Gray members of the board of examiners making No. one certificate. Sept. 23rd 1886

I started for Red Cloud, Nebraska arriving there Sunday morning Sept. 26 and on Friday Oct. 1st by the influence of Unkle William Cather. I began clerking for J. L. Miner & Bro. Old Hugh where I stayed two months on which I went before Rev. Charley W. Springer Co. Supt. Webster County Nebr. On Dec. 9, 1886 and passed the examination receiving a second grade certificate and on the next day Dec. 10 I contracted with R Gaiten Lewis director, F. E. Payne Treasurer and John C. Wilson moderator for five months school at the New Va school house Dist. No. 65 commencing January 8th 1887 closing May 21st upon which I recontracted for the same school of the same board of directors for six months to commence in Sept. or 1887.

During both terms I boarded with F. E. Payne. During the summer of 1887 I attended the institute at Red Cloud which was on the plan of a normal lasting two weeks with Prof. Fertie of Indiana as principle, Prof. Picering, and Prof. Thornton. On the 12th of Oct. I went before Co. Supt. C. W. Springer and he renewed my certificate without examination.

At the election the fall of 1887 Osker Ramey and myself were elected clerks of election for the voting place at No. 66, Catherton township Webster County Nebr. Both acting as clerks at the election 1887. After the close of my school at New Va. No. 65 I contracted with Rev. John Bean, Wm Crable and a bohemian by the name of Jasperson directors for two months school at the Shoal house by the poor farm No. 33 to commence Monday morning April, 30th 1888 while teaching which I boarded with Rev. John Bean on the conclusion of which I came back to West Virginia attended an institute at Sutton Braxton County and passed the examination following under D. S. Morton Co. Supt. with Amos Bright and members of the Board of examiners receiving a No. one certificate on which I contracted with Asa Stump, John Prunty and W.H. Spicer trustees for the Copens run school.

After which I passed an examination before M. F. Lieuellen Co. Supt. and M. W. Morrisson and L. P. Ross members of the Board of examiners receiving a number one cirtificate I contracted with Worrick McLaughlin Bud Rogers and Jerry Parker trustees of the Rogers fork School in Geary Dist. Roane Co. for four months during the progress of which on Saturday evening Dec. 1st 1888 by the ministerial officiery of Rev. Daniel Huffman a baptist minister.

I was married to Losie J. Chenoweth the only daughter of D.W. and Caroline Chenoweth D.W. Chenoweths fathers name was Robert Chenoweth and his fathers name was John Chenoweth. Mrs Caroline Chenoweth was a daughter of George Mollahan who was the paternal ancester of the majority of the Mollohans of Braxton County. Her mother was Elizabeth Boggs a daughter of old Charley Boggs who lived on Reedy in Roane County near the Wirt County line and of the same family of Bogges who are scattered over Braxton, Clay, Roane and adjoining counties whose ancesters originally came from Greenbrier and Monroe Counties.

When my school closed at the Rogers Fork I went to Copens run in Braxton County and commenced school a bout the first Monday in January 1889 and taught four months Boarding with Asa Stump and on the conclusion of this term of school I cam to my fathern laws D. W. Chenoweth’s and proceeded to take up the urban of husbandry and proceeded to the putting out of a crop which by the aid of my fathern law I succeeded in raising a sufficiency for my frow and Self in the summer of 1889.

I attended the institute at Grantsville presided over by Prof. Tapp principle of the Glenville normal as instuctor on the conclusion of which I was called home to the birth of our first child a little girl born dead which we christened Bessie.

I attended my first examination this year at Sutton Braxton County which was conducted by Frank Dufield Co. Supt. and Amos Bright and Newton Rusmisel members of the board of Examiners receiving a No. two certificate also passed in Calhoun Co. under Elliott Chenoweth my wifes oldest brother, Co. Supt. and Thornton Cain and Mac Barr members of the Board of examiners receiving a No. one certificate and contracted for the Stinson School of M. V. Douglas, A. Truman and Frank Shafer trustees of which I taught two months having contracted with D.W. Chenoweth, Wm. Knotts and Lem. L. Stalnaker for the Frozen run school for four months during the teaching of which we moved to our selves on the 14th day of Jan. 1890.

Ned Parsons who had fixed up our Tom Owens cabin for us stayed the first night with us. The summer of 1890 I attend the institute at Grantsville with Prof. Tappas instructor after which I passed the examination under Elliott Chenoweth Co. Supt. and Miss. Deed Johnson and Ezra Stemple members of the Board of examiners receiving a No. one certificate contracting with D. W. Chenoweth, Lem. Stalnaker trustees of the Frozen run school which I taught four months.

Also contracted with G.E. Cooper and Elder A.W. Lane trustees of the Walker school which I taught four months boarding with Squire G. E. Cooper. During the Winter of 1890 and while I was teaching the Walker School the organization of the Farmers Mutual Benefit Association was organized at the Walnut School house which organization I joined and at the April meeting of the County Assembly I was elected Sec. Of the Co. Assembly and twice recalled for a period of time covering two and a half years and at the Oct. meeting of the Co. Assembly I was elected with G.W. Griffin, H. C. Lockney S. H. Campbell, Frank McCulty and Charley Lockney delegates to the State Assembly which assembled at Glenville, Gilmer County at which I with H. C. Lockney was elected a delegate to the National assembly which met in Indanoplis Ind. In Jan. 1892.

The summer of 1891 I attended the institute at Grantsville being elected with J. H. Roberts a member of the board of examiners in which capacity we acted for three years 1891, 2 and 3 with Bruce B. Ferrell Co. Supt. and Bee Hopkins Co. Supt. the fall of 1891.

I contracted with D. W. Chenoweth, Wm Taylor and Sol. Jarvis trustees for the Upper Nighcut school being the first school ever taught at that point, term four months also the same year I contracted with Ned. Parsons, A. J. Parsons and Joe Brannan for the Rilla School which I taught four months bording with Capt. S. H. Campbell and Joe. Brannan.

In the campaign of 1892 I shied my caster in the race for the Democratic nomination for the House of Deligates with Rufus Knotts, SP. H. A. Altizer Alfred Kenney and Tom. Hodges as my competitors which nomination I got on the third ballot with H. A. Altizer my rival on Saturday May 28th 1892.

Having for my rival as the Republican nominee Rev. Wm Coberly who received 654 votes to my 993 giving me a majority of 349.

The fall of 1892 I contracted with Wm Taylor, D. W. Chenoweth and Sol. Jarvis for the Upper Nigh Cut School which I taught four months after which I went to Charleston the Capitol of W.Va. as the member of the House of Deligates for Calhoun County in which I served 57 days during which as a comment on my proficiencies and efficiencies as a representative. - Aristotle Smith

The following item was added to the Journal by Aristotle’s daughter Irene Dorsey Smith Pierce.

"Life is as an oak tree’s leaf
Interspersed with the various tints it portrays
Checkered with joys and grief
All along the path of our troubled days.
- Aristotle Smith February 13, 1899

ARISTOTLE'S INLAWS - DAVID WASHINGTON CHENOWETH 1831-1921

David Washington Chenoweth, the fourteenth child of Robert was born in Randolph County, raised in Braxton County, and lived and raised his family in Calhoun County, all in West Virginia.

He married Caroline Mollohan, daughter of William M. Mollohan and Elizabeth Lemasters Boggs. They had 10 children, all born in present day Calhoun County in or near the Village of Eden.

Eden, at the head of Upper Big Run, was once a post office at which Chenoweth was the postmaster. David was a farmer, timberman and stockman. At one point he owned 700 acres of land in Calhoun. Caroline died at age 74 on November 16, 1910. He lived to age 89, dying on July 23, 1921.

They and other members of their family are buried in the Chenoweth-Smith cemetery near the mouth of Lower Nicut.


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