Shook-Smathers house changes hands

PRESERVATION — Joseph Hall, a Shook-Smathers descendant, purchased the house in 2003, restored it and donated it to ensure it would be preserved.

1749 — Jacob Shook born.

1776 — Shook and brother, Andrew, joined Gen. Griffith Rutheford’s troops to march against the Cherokee in a campaign known as The Rutherford Trace. Shook caught his first glimpse of the mountains of Western North Carolina.

1794-1800 — Jacob Shook married Isabella Weitzel when both were 37. They settled along the Pigeon River near a town that would later be called Clyde and built a home.

1810 — The first historic documented notation about the home was found in a Nov. 30 entry of the diary of Francis Asbury, a Methodist Chursh bishop who stayed at the Shook house on a visit west.

1840 — William Welch bought the Shook House, but there’s no record he ever lived there.

1850 — Levi Smathers acquired the house and added on, doubling the size by building rooms that surrounded the original home. The third floor room of the original house continued to be used for worship services.

1896 — D.I.L. “Dock” Smathers inherited the house. Visitation to third-floor chapel continued. Dock’s wife, Mattie Smathers, became superintendent of the Sunday school at Louisa Chapel, the oldest church in Haywood County.

1924 — After Mattie Smathers died, Dock invited his daughter, Mary Smathers Morgan, along with her family, to move in.

1937— Morgan inherited the house. Ruth Morgan married Edward Jones and they lived intermittently at the house before moving to Raleigh in 1958. Morgan lived in the home until her death in 1981.

1993 — Jones, along with a niece and nephew, put the house they inherited on the market in search of a buyer who would maintain its historic characteristics.

2003 — Joseph S. Hall purchased the property. An agreement with the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Inc. was filed to ensure the property at 178 Morgan St. in Clyde would be preserved in a manner that honored its architectural, archealogical and historical significance.

2006 — A completely renovated Shook-Smathers House, along with a newly built museum adjacent to the home, opened for tours to the public.

2011 — Hall gifts the Shook-Smathers House to the Haywood County Historical/Genealogical Society.

How old is the house?

The first official documentation of the Shook House in Clyde can be found in the journal of Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop in America who traveled extensively to hold worship services and perform marriages, funerals, and baptisms. A Nov. 30, 1810, journal entry indicated an overnight stay at the home of Jacob Shook.

Local historians say the home is much older than that, dating back to the late 1780s or ‘90s, but for historic preservation purposes the date which can be documented must be used.

That date could change, however, said long-time Clyde resident Sara Queen Brown, who has worked diligently to see that the property is preserved in perpetuity. The Methodist Conference met in Baltimore in 1776 and created the Carolina circuit. Rev. Samuel Edney was the first Methodist minister given the circuit west of the Blue Ridge and “as far as it was safe to go.”

In 1798, Edney organized a Society of Methodists meeting in the Shook Home. Learning this bit of information, Brown said, could be the key to getting an even earlier date attached to the house. This will require researching the Methodist Conference minutes.

Finding an earlier reference concerning activities at the Shook-Smathers house could result in an earlier official date of the home’s use for historical purposes.

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