Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Preston and Phoebe (O'Neal) Smith of Arkansas

Preston Smith was born Aug 15, 1866 in Horsehead Creek near Coal Hill, Johnson Co., AR. He died Jan 8, 1933 in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR of Pnuemonia contracted from influenza. He married Phoebe Eunice O'Neal who was born June 7, 1878 in Johnson Co., AR. She was the daughter of John L. O'Neal and Nancy Malinda Johnson. Phoebe Smith died Sep 10, 1948 at Sparks Hospital in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR of congestive heart failure.

Preston Smith was the son of Richard Smith and Martha Dunlap. There are some discrepancies about Preston Smith's date of birth. In a survey submitted by Preston's father, Richard Smith, to the Board of Pensions in 1898, Richard Smith stated his son Preston Smith was born Aug 24, 1868. Richard listed the date of birth of Preston's older brother, Ray Smith, as Oct 9, 1866. These dates correspond more closely with the census reports of both Preston and Ray/Roy.

Preston Smith's death certificate also states his date of death as Aug 15, 1866. His son James R Smith was the informant who provided this information. Sometimes death certificates can contain incorrect information because they are recorded "after the fact." The informant may not have knowledge of the deceased's vital statistics and may have submitted their best guess.
A review of William Ray or Roy Smith's death certificate could probably help to clear up this discrepancy. If his death certificate states he was also born 1866, son of Richard Smith, then it is possible that Preston's date of birth has been erroneously recorded.

Feel free to browse the gallery below of Preston and Phoebe Smith's obituaries, gravemarker, and death certificates. I believe the obituaries came from The Southwest Times Record of Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR. They were sent to me by Doris Hamblin, daughter of Preston's son Clyde Smith. I obtained certified copies of the death certificates from the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, AR. The grave marker picture was taken at Morris Cemetery in Bloomer, Sebastian Co., AR by a volunteer, Deborah Musgrove. Preston Smith's daughter, Hester Smith was also buried here along with Preston's father, Richard Smith. Richard Smith's first wife, Martha Dunlap is believed to be buried here as well, however there is no marker.

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