Front Page Article, Frederick Press, Friday Oct. 18, 1935:
RELATIVES OF VAN MITH THINK HE WAS MURDERED. Law Officer and a Member of the State Crime Bureau Have been Studying the Case -- Theory that Fire Was Accidental Is Not Believed By Sister.
Mystery still surrounds death of William Van Smith, 27, popular Tillman county farmer, who burned to death at his home on the B. Robey far 1 mile west and 4 1/2 miles north of Frederick, early Friday morning. His sister, Mr. Houston Faubion, resideing four mile outh of Frederick, is of the opinion that he met with foul play, which theory is shared by other relatives. Mrs. Faubion says he had old twol bales of cotton that day and alo had other money, fully $140. in all, when he left Frederick that night. He had been here mot of the time the preceding two days with his wife who had been delivered of a son at 9 o'clock Thursday night, at the Frederick clinic hospital.
Smith was extremely desirous that the arrival should be a boy, so that it could perpetuate the name of his family. Since death of his father, a railroader of Heyryetta, OKla, Nov. 8 1918, Van was the only male member remaiing. His aunt, Mrs. George Farrell, says she never saw anyone more pleased that was Van when he came to the Ferrel plumbing shop a few minute after the baby's birth, and told her of it. He went to the Curtis cafe, a little later, with Mrs. Fred Courtney, a neighbor, who had been helping to care for Mrs. Smith, and the two ate supper together. Courtney was telephoned and came after his wife, Smith following them in his own car. A customer at the Curtis cafe said heard Van Smith telephone about 10:30 that night.
Last seen of Van was about midnight when he went to the Seymour Snelling farm about a mile distant. Smith came to their place and honked. They had already retired and from the outside he told them of the birth of his son. Smith is alo reported to have told them he had been at home about an hour, reading.
Robert and Jessie May, negroes, who have been residing in a shack on the Robey farm since last winter, were firt to see the fire as they were returning from a negro party on the Fred Waldrop farm. Waldrop was notified, who in turn telephoned B. Robey, owner of the farm. Waldrop was first white peron to arrive at cene of the fire. As soon as May got to the scene he went to a window in.....
OBITUARY (same edition of newspaper)
Funeral rites of William Van Smith, 27, who died in a fire on the B. Robey farm one mile west and 4 1/2 miles north of Frederick early Friday morning, were held in the Church of Christ Saturday afternoon. Services were in charge of C. M. Moser, minister.
A quartet, Mrs. Edmond umwalt, Jesse Rhodes, and Greg Rhodes sang several hymns.
Flower girls, Mrs. Dent Smith, Mrs. Hays Fondren, Mrs. Roy Courtney, Mrs. Seymour Snelling, Mrs. Louis McLeroy, Mrs. Dan Pinkrel, Mrs. Harry Storms, and Mrs. Odell Parks.
Casket bearers: Dent Smith, Hays Fondren, Seymour Snelling, J. P. Waldrop, Priestly Pace, Dan Pinkrel, Roy Courtney, and Louis McLeroy.
Internment was made in Highland Cemetery.
William Van Smith was born in Frederick, July 12, 1908. All his life was spent in this community, excepting a few years when his parents resided in Henryetta, OKlahoma. His father, the late William Smith, a railroad man, was killed in a wreck, Nov. 9, 1918. Next spring the widow and children returned to Frederick.
Van attended the local public schools. Because of his cheerful disposition, he was popular with classmates and instructors. Despite being small in stature, he had plenty of pluck and had little difficulty in making the Bearcat football team.
He was married to Miss Fay Tucker of near Tipton Nov. 12, 1927. Van appears to have had more than his share of hard luck. About four years ago while operating the Tucker farm
the house and contents were destroyed, taking all his posessions. Cause of the blaze is unknown, no member of the family being present at the time.
For a number of years preceding his death he had been farming an 80-acre tract near the Burt lake, formerly belonging to Jeff D Williams (deceased), his grandfather. As it had no house, Smith and his young wife had been residing on a farm belonging to B. Robey and operated by Dent Smith. Van Smith did so well that Mrs. Robey had decided to let him handle a place belonging to her, near Consolidated No. 2 schoolhouse, and said to be one of the best in the community.
Wednesday evening, October 9, Smith brot Mrs. Smith to the maternity ward of the Frederick clinic hospital. At 9 o'clock p.m. Friday, she gave birth to a son, William Burt, much to his delight, as Van was the only male member of the Smith family. From the time Mrs. Smith was in the hospital until the babe was born, Van was almost constantly with her.
In addition to his widow and son, he is survived by his sister, Mrs. Houston Faubion, from 4 miles south of Frederick, and other relatives as follows, all of whom were present at the funeral: Mrs. Anna Williams, grandmother, Frederick; Mrs. Geo. Farrell, an aunt, Frederick; Mrs. W. J. Stewart, an aunt, Indiahoma; Mrs. W. H. Youngblood, Kerville, TX, an aunt; Aulton Williams, Santa Rosa, Texas, an uncle; Chas. Handley, and uncle, and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Herring, cousin, all of Wichita Kansas; Mrs. Herman Stewart of Indiahoma, cousin. Most of the above were accompanied by other members of their families.
Ollie and Roy Tucker of Hydro, cousins of Mrs. Tucker also attended the rites.
Mrs. Van Smith and young son were dismissed from the Hospital Wednesday and are now residing with her parents near Tipton. Mrs. Faubion said that in a month or so they would probably make their home with her.
A poem is added, written by Ollie Vaughn-Campbell.
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