Tombstone Tuesday – November 21, 2017 – Oella Denney Smith


Oella Denney was the daughter of Walter Denney and Mary Nancy Young born in Brooke, Virginia on May 12, 1845. Walter and Mary (Young) Denney had seven children; Jane Elizabeth (1843), Oella (1845), Rolandis (1848), Francis(1850), Mary Agnes(1852), Clara Virginia(1855), Walter(1859). All of the Children except Walter were born in Brooke, Virginia, he was born in Allen County, Indiana.

Oella Denney married James W Smith on Mar 18, 1869. They had six children; William Frampton (1869), Alvin Oliver (1873), Della (1874), Dora Belle (1876), Etta Clare (1882), Francis Willard (1887).

In the 1870 Federal Census, a newly married James and Oella are living near James’s mother, Susan(Susannah Overly) Smith, in Lafayette Township, Allen County, Indiana. She is a widow with several young children. James and Oella have James’ brother Charles living with them and their own five-month-old son William. In the 1880 Census, Oella and James live in Union Township, Wells County, Indiana and by now they have four children; William, Alvin, Della, and Dora. Oella and James are living in Zanesville during the 1900 Federal Census. They have three children remaining at home. James W lists farming as his occupations and so does a twenty-eight-year-old William Frampton and a twelve-year-old,  Francis. Etta Clare who is eighteen-years-old lives with them also. In the 1910 Federal Census, Oella and James are in Union Township, Wells County, Indiana alone but near their son’s Alvin and William and their families.

James W Smith Family

This photo is of the James W. and Oella Denney Smith family taken likely between 1908 and 1909 based on the people in this photo and the children not yet born.

Row one children seated: James Frank Wert, Lulu Etta Wert, Alvin Sparks, Everett Smith, Virgil Sparks, Talmage Sparks, Nora Sparks, a sister of Arena May Straley Smith.

Row Two Adults and Children Seated: Ruth Jackson, Dora Belle Smith Jackson, Cora Crites Smith holding Frederick James Smith, James W Smith, Oella Smith, Dessie Heckman Smith holding Virgil Smith.

Row three Standing: William H. Jackson, Alvin Smith, William Sparks, Della Smith Sparks, Oscar Jackson standing in from of Della, Homer Wert, William Frampton Smith, Francis Smith and Arena May Straley Smith.

I have wondered if this was the baptism of Federick James Smith but I can not be certain. His family is the owner of the original photo.

Ninety-two years ago, Oella died at the age of 80 years old. Oella is my 2 times Great Grandmother. She is buried in the Uniontown Cemetery next to her husband James W. Smith according to her Death Certificate. There is no tombstone to be found.


Rest in peace, Oella!


Love, Jan

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