Smith, also known as Terrapin Neck, is just north of the intersection of Farm roads 2659 and 2911 and three miles northeast of Hawkins at the Upshur county line in southeastern Wood County. Settlers from Alabama, including Dr. O. S. Fitts, J. R. Mooney, and a Mr. Smith, arrived in the area as early as 1845 or 1856, and a cemetery called Smith was established sometime before 1864. In the 1870s another wave of settlers from Alabama moved to the community, among them Alfred Snider, Richard Webb Faulk, and Philip Marion Faulk. P. M. Faulk, who arrived with his wife Mary Jane Routen Faulk and their nine children in late 1875, gave Smith its alternate name of Terrapin Neck because of the large number of terrapins that were attracted to a low-lying stretch of his land near Big Sandy Creek. Faulk served as a county commissioner between 1884 and 1890 and was also among the charter members of the Paron Primitive Baptist Church, which was organized in November 1888 in the Cox schoolhouse near Smith. The Smith farming community was widely dispersed along a stretch of the Snider Bridge road south of its intersection with Big Sandy Creek. Many farmsteads in the area had sharecroppers. Before 1910 John C. Faulk ran a gin and livestock dipping vat in the community. Sawmills, including an early mill called the Smith sawmill, were also important to the local economy until the 1920s. Smith reportedly only ever had one store, which opened sometime after 1870. The Smith school district was established and a school was built near the Smith cemetery after a 1903 petition requesting a school closer to the main community. Around 1905 the Paron Church was moved closer to the Smith school and cemetery. In the 1930s Smith had two churches and a school; in 1932 the school served fifty-four white and twenty-three black students in nine and seven grades, respectively. At this time the community, still extensively populated with descendents of the Faulks who had originally settled there, remained predominantly Primitive Baptist. By 1960 only a few widely scattered dwellings, the Paron Church, and a cemetery across the Upshur county line remained in the immediate vicinity. The 1988 county highway map shows a church and cemetery at the site of Smith; in addition, about three miles north is the Peron church and cemetery, which may mark the site of the Paron Baptist Church before it was moved closer to the Smith school and cemetery.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Rachel Jenkins | © Texas State Historical Association
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