County's Oldest Resident
Mrs. Annie Edwards
Smith Holds Honored Position Among Oldsters
Mrs. Annie Edwards
Smith is the oldest living resident of Vernon County, according to the
recent contest sponsored by The Herald. Mrs. Smith is 96 years, three
months and 25 days old.
She was born March
8, 1859 in McDonough County, Ill., the daughter of Daniel and Mary
Dorcas Edwards. Mrs. Smith has been a resident of Vernon County since
she was seven years old moving first to a farm on the Vernon and Barton
County line. Her father traded his farm in Illinois for 100 acres in
the new county. The farm consisted of 80 acres of prairie land and 20
acres of timber.
He got enough lumber
from the 20 acres to build a log house for the 11 children. It was a
one and one-half story dwelling, with the boys sleeping upstairs and the
rest of the family down.
Mr. Edwards operated
a stage stopping place in the early days of the county. His station was
located half-way between Nevada and Lamar, and the stages from those two
cities met there at noon each day with passengers and mail. Mrs.
Edwards would cook meals for the occupants of the stages, charging 50
cents apiece for them.
attended the log schoolhouse at Avola. Mrs. Smith recalls that the
seats in the school at that time were just split logs. There were three
churches in Avola at that time, each with their own building, separate
from the school. Mrs. Smith attended the Christian services.
Our oldest resident
was married to James M. Simpson in 1876. They were parents of one
daughter, Mrs. Mary Maxwell, who died in 1902, and two sons, C. F.
Simpson of Nevada and S. B. Simpson of Nebraska City, Neb.
separation in 1900 she was left with her two sons to raise on the farm.
Charles was then 13 and the younger son was nine.
Mrs. Smith has
always been a hard worker and her life has centered around her family.
Before her first marriage she could cut corn and "shuck it as good as
any man," and sheared sheep as quick as her father by the time she was
15 years old.
She worked very hard
after her separation from Mr. Simpson to take care of the farm, herself
and her two young sons. She milked cows, fed hogs, raised chickens,
canned foods, and just about every other similar task. She has kept a
good garden every year since she was old enough, and only quit that
practice about five years ago.
In 1906 she was
married to John W. Smith and moved from the farm to Nevada about 40
years ago. Following her marriage she joined Mr. Smith in membership in
the Methodist Church and has continued her membership in that
denomination to this day. Mr. Smith died in 1917.
Annie Smith, who is
the only living child of her eleven brothers and sisters, has been so
busy during her lifetime raising her children and taking care of home
duties, that she has not had much time for club memberships. She now
has 20 grandchildren, 10 great-grand children and one great-great
For 35 years years
she lived at 914 South Cedar in Nevada, but that home burned down about
five years ago. Her son, Charles, then build her a small home near
them, on Ewing street.
Mrs. Smith, who is
very alter mentally, even though she has been ill the past two weeks and
is now a patient at a local nursing home, is a friendly person with a
twinkle in her eye.
She is rather proud
of being the oldest person in the county, but said that she is old
enough to die, and that when the Lord calls her she will be willing to
go. She feels that God has allowed her to live such a long life for
some purpose. What it is, she has not determined, but has always done
her best to overcome the trying situations that have come her way, and
to help her family in any way that she was able. Truly she is a worthy
representative of the pioneer spirit in Vernon County.
were: (lengthy list of other persons nominates for the County's Oldest
Resident will be added as a link to this page at a later time.)
Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Missouri. 1955