Monday, November 30, 2009

Witter-Smith Chapel School, Madison County

Another from my brother.

This is a school - or was a school - and not a church, but letters spell out 'Witter-Smith Chapel.' There's also a sizable cemetery out back.

Jim figures the building is a hundred to a hundred and twenty years old. A sign says the school, the cemetery and the roadside park are on five acres donated to the Witter School District in 1871 by George W.R. Smith and Simeon Peter Smith. I found reference to the men on a genealogical site. George was Simeon's son. I read that the senior Smith died in 1863 and his son went on to build the schoolhouse some time after 1888, as well as a store and a post office.

I found no reference to a church at the site previous to the construction of the school, but my guess is there was one. If not, I'm at a loss to explain the graves and the chapel designation.

I'll bet that old oak could explain a thing or two.


Anonymous said...

I have a copy of obituary of my great grandfather Elijah Green McAdoo, written by A.J. Graham, Oklahoma Evangelist. It says " he was converted in the writer's meeting at Smith Chapel, Ark. in July, 1896.He was united in the Christian Union at that place....a lay member until Feb 27, 1909 when he was set at part to the office of gospel preacher, by Rev. A. Arnote, Rev. J.W. Kaster,& RevS.Y. Collins...His papers were recorded in Madison Co., Ark." As I have ancestors who lived and died in Witter, Madison, Arkansas, I wonder if this might be that church? Darlene McAdoo Moore
Didn't know how to sign in correctly, sorry.

Jay said...

I suppose the building could have had a dual purpose as both church and school, in which case this could be the church in question. Or, there could have been a church alongside the school in 1898, but it, like the store, no longer stands.

An interesting side note: I found this list - - of people buried in the Captain Smith Cemetery and learned G.W.R. Smith's father is buried there, as was his wife and daughter. Curiously, though, G.W.R. Smith himself is not listed.

Thank you for your informative comment.