Obit: Smith, Anna (1847 - 1932)

Contact: Shirley Taylor



Last rites were held Sunday afternoon from the Satsop Methodist Church for Mrs. Anna Smith, 84, who had spent the last 60 years of her life in this section. She passed away Friday morning, following a brief illness, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. A.L. Sutterfield in Elma. Rev. Milton Bower, pastor of the Christian Church of Elma officiated at the services, which were in charge of the Whiteside company. Mrs. Smith, with her husband, Edward L. Smith, whom she married in 1871, came to Washington territory in 1872. She helped her husband make a farm in the new country, and also was useful as a doctor and nurse among her neighbors. Mrs. Smith was born October 12, 1847 in Lake County Illinois, moving to Wisconsin with her parents in 1854. Her seven brothers enlisted in the Civil War and she helped her father on the farm. Mrs. Smith was a member of the Adventist Church of Montesano and is survived by four daughters, Mrs. A. L. Sutterfield of Elma, Mrs. P. Hazel of Centralia, Mrs. Harry Coombs of Seattle, and Mrs. Iva Fuller of Chehalis; eight sons, Warren E. of Elma, Clark D. of Potmills, Ore., Ed R. of Montesano, Orval R. and George of Satsop, Sidney J. of Ridgewood, Frank L. and Will J. both of Santa Barbara, Cal.

On last Friday, the 22nd day of the month, there passed from her monthly labors, surrounded by children and friends, Mrs. Anna E. Smith. Like a ship that silently slips its moorings and sails out to an unknown sea, the kindly soul of this great pioneer fearlessly faced approaching eternity. During the latter months of her life, Mrs. Smith had requested me to write the story of her life and have it published in the Elma Chronicle. A friend of mine for thirty years, I willingly consented to do this, but not realizing the day of her departure from it was so near, it was never done. And now her children have asked me to fulfill a request that their great mother if alive would ask. I will try, in my inadequate way to say these few simple words. It was the wish of Mrs. Smith that an accurate story of her days be told and she wished with her eyes to read that story in the paper.


Anna E. King, her name before her marriage to Edward Smith, had she lived until the 12th day of next October, would have reached the age of 85 years. She was born on the prairies of the then new state of Illinois, when the great city of Chicago was but a hamlet. When but seven years of age her father, filled with the restless disposition of the early pioneer, moved to the state of Wisconsin, then just beginning to feel the impulse of the new settlers that were locating in the wilderness.

And there in the rugged surroundings of those primitive days her girlish hands, that were to be so useful throughout a long and busy life, found their first work to do. There, by the side of her father, with Indians and wild beasts on every hand, she aided him in his farm work. The glamour of wealth, the show of pomp and power fade into insignificance and will be lost in the annals of time, contrasting with a picture of this girlish figure toiling to make a home in the wilderness by the side of her father, one of those sturdy men that helped to clear the way for advancing civilization.


Mrs. Smith was just budding into young womanhood, 14 years of age, when the dark days of the Civil War settled over the fair young land in which she lived. She lived in a patriotic home, her people loyal to the flag and the cause of the North. She felt the thrill of those exciting days and watched with pride, yet with those fore-bodings that the dangers of war bring to every heart, her four brothers who had reached young manhood's estate, don the uniform of their country and march away to the battlefields of the South. And she felt the toil and the privations of helping to sustain the home and aid the younger children of the family: She did not hesitate to do the work that should have fallen to stronger hands had they been there to do it; she learned to harrow and work in the fields, she helped to plant and gather the potatoes; she worked in the garden and helped bind the grain in the wheat fields. No talk was too arduous for her and in those trying times she did her share as only the pioneer and his children learned to work and labor amid crude surroundings.


A hospital was needed in the village of Sparta Wisconsin, nearby where she lived, in the days of the rebellion. Soldiers of the North, wounded and sick, must be cared for and new hospitals must be built. Funds for such purposes were low and many methods were adopted to raise the money. There was at this time but two schools in all Clark County and the one that the little daughter of the pioneer attended had but seven pupils; four of these pupils set about to raise some money in their meager way. But by every one helping, the money was raised and the hospital dedicated to the service of the soldier boys. It was found that Mrs. Smith had raised more money for the hospital than any of the other girls in school, and in recognition of what she had done, which had been called to President Lincoln's attention, he presented her with his picture, a prize she ever after was fond of relating how she won it. When 24 years of age, in 1871, Mrs. Smith was married to Edward L. Smith, who died at Satsop, September 10, 1911; and the following year he came west with his young bride to make a home for himself and family in the fertile Chehalis Valley. Here again Mrs. Smith met the trying ordeal of pioneer life, but she was young and strong; she was brave of heart and courageous; made of the spirit that gave the young west to the world.


She saw here again the Indians roaming the wild woods; she heard the scream of the wild beast in the forest in the stillness of the night, and yet, she was not afraid. God was planted in her soul and heart, and her Christian life beckoned her ever on. She lived again amid scenes familiar to her girlhood days in old Wisconsin and once more her hands found more work than they could do. The day was never long enough for her untiring efforts; efforts for herself, and her growing young children; not alone for them. No, there was other work for her to do, she must be neighbor, as well as wife and mother in her own home. In those early years there was no physician or nurse within reach of the settlement in which she lived, and in sickness and distress, common to the lot of every pioneer community, the work of caring for those that accident, sickness or misfortune visited, fell upon the willing shoulders of Mrs. Smith. She has left behind a record with but few parallels in the history of the state of Washington. Fifty two babies looked into her face when they first saw the light of day, many of them, like herself, have passed into the great beyond; many of them are today stalwart men and women, still residing in this county, regarding her with all the sacredness they bestow upon their own mother..


In those early days many a story was told around the hearth-stone at night in the cabin homes of the settlers, how Mrs. Smith made dangerous trips, taking her own life in her hands to go and visit and take care of the sick and injured; taking her own babies in a basket, sitting in one end of the boat with her good husband in the other, and with an Indian helping to paddle and steer the boat over dangerous waters and hidden rocks, she traveled by night and by day, whenever she was needed. The true stories of the bravery and self-denial of our early pioneers seem forgotten in these swift days of automobile and airplane. Mrs. Smith in her 85 long years saw days of privation when the land was new, and lived as true a life, exemplifying the real spirit of the pioneer as any person who braved the life of the frontier. Mrs. Smith has left, for her children to cherish, not wealth, for she never sought the bobbles of fortune on which to build real happiness for herself, rather a good name, a life well spent; a useful life, surrounded by privation often, yet she lived her days uncomplaining. It is hard for me to say all of the things in which she was great. I will write one word, the word, was she here by my side as I write these lines, she would want me to picture to the world as her one great meed in life, it would be "Mother". To be a great mother is worth more than all the gold and treasure in the world. No one could look into her kindly face; that rugged countenance we all knew and loved so well but what there would come welling into our hearts the thought, here is mother, dear old mother, that labored for her home, her husband and her children. Would that the world today had more such great spirits of motherhood as she exemplified throughout her life.

Just a short time before she said good-bye to all, she took pen in hand, a hand now grown weak and feeble with age, and writing of her life's labors said "I did not do it for gain, all that I have done was done for love"

Her troubles now are over. She has gone forever, and joined that last great caravan from which no traveler ever returns. In life she was true to herself, true to her friends,her home and family, not true for just an hour or a day, but true to them always.

"When hearts whose truth was proven, like your's are laid to earth, there should a story be woven to tell the world your worth".

Anna King Smith was the daughter of James G. King and Catherine VanDyke King.

Her siblings were; Sylvester King, Clark King, William King, Francis King, Samuel King, Priscilla King, John King, Cynthia King, James King, and Angeline King.

Her Grandparents were; Abraham VanDyke and Marie VanHuysen.

Anna King's sister, Priscilla was the first wife of Edward L. Smith. Priscilla died in 1869 and in 1871 Anna and Edward were married. There were children from Edward and Priscilla which Anna cared for, and she and Edward had seven more children. Priscilla is buried in the Loyal cemetery, re-buried there by Anna some 38 years after her death and on her headstone is the inscription, Priscilla King Smith and below it, Baby Elmer.

The farm that Edward and Anna raised their children is still known as the Smith farm-even after all these years. It was on the banks of the Satsop River in Satsop, Washington.



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