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Aerial photo of Smock
In 1869, Samuel Smock, a wealthy farmer, blacksmith, and land speculator, purchased a two-story brick house and 190 acres of land from Jonathan Sharpless. During the 1880's and 1890's, Smock sold most of this property to coal companies who developed the village's coal and coke history.
Several years later, when the Monongahela Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad moved through his property, Smock granted the railroad right-of-road, with the stipulation that the railroad station be named after him. The train station, no longer in existence, was named Smock Station. This name was applied to the village.
Smock's development as a mining town was unusual. Typically, mining towns in Southwestern Pennsylvania after 1880 were developed and built by one coal company. The housing was architecturally uniform. Smock differs because it was developed into five architecturally distinct settlements by three coal companies and one individual.
This unique combination of housing has led to Smock's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district maintains the integrity of the feeling, location, setting, association, workmanship, and materials of this type of industrial community, despite some additions and alterations to the district's building inventory.
Old photo of bridge in Smock
Hotel Smock in its heyday
In 1754, Jonathan Hill lived in the Fayette County area and was one of its earliest settlers. He first owned property in what is now known as Smock in 1785. He owned 105 acres, 2 horses, and 1 cow. He also owned one of the first grist mills in 1790 with his location on Redstone Creek. Jonathan Hill sold the property in Smock to Jonathan Sharpless in 1810 and moved to Virginia. He died there, sadly, in a lunatic asylum.
Jonathan Sharpless was born in October 1767. He was from Chester County, PA, and he often visited his brother-in-law who lived in Washington County in SW PA. After visiting the area in 1791, he met Samuel Jackson. The duo decided that a paper mill was needed west of the Allegheny Mountains. Sharpless returned to Chester County to learn the paper-making business. In 1793, he moved his family west of the Mountains and bought the Jonathan Hill farm. He named the area he bought Salem Mill. He and his family were noted house builders in the East, and they proceeded to build the brick mansion on the hill which exists there today. On the ends of the home near the top, the initials J S were placed on either end, as this was their trademark. These initals still remain on the home. On this property, he also built a saw mill, sickle factory, fulling mill, and a blacksmith shop. At the time, this was an extensive business.
Jonathan Sharpless was a Quaker. He was also a well-known inventor. In 1792, he married Edith Nicols and they had two children. Edith died in 1823. He married his second wife, Margaret Miller, in 1823. Margaret was born in 1788 and died in 1863. They had eleven kids together, but in 1870, only four were still living. Jonathan died on January 20, 1860 at the age of 93 and was buried in the Quaker cemetery near Redstone.
His son William was the executor of his estate and sold the property to Samuel and Mary A.Van Kook for the sum of $8417.45 on July 11, 1865. They were from Bridgeport County of Fayette. He sold the property to John Montgomery for $9250 on September 19, 1865. All that is known of these two men is that they were both attorneys.
John Montgomery sold the property to Samuel Smock in 1867 for $11,200. Sam Smock was born on June 19, 1820 in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County. His parents were Henry Smock and Elizabeth (Shepler) Smock, and he had eleven siblings. Sam was a blacksmith by trade and learned from James Beazel of Belle Vernon, PA. Sam built a house and shop, and he pursued his trade for 21 years. After saving $12000, he bought the farm at Salem Mill which consisted of 190 acres. With the mills already built on his property, Sam prospered.
Sam Smock married Mary Ann Fields of Perry Township in 1847. They had seven children. She died in 1867. He married his second wife, Susan Hess, in 1867. Susan was born in 1832. Sam and Susan had no children.
In 1882, a railroad was being built between Uniontown and Brownsville. Some property was needed for this purpose in Salem Mill. Sam Smock donated the property to the railroad with the stipulation that the train station be named after him. When the mine settlement was established in later years, it also took the name Smock. This is how the town of Smock got its name. Susan Hess Smock died on April 29, 1914 at the age of 81. Sam Smock was 96 when he died later that year on November 8. The property was willed to his daughter Odessa and her husband Henry Schaffer. It is unknown what they did with the inheritance, but everything they owned was sold at a sheriff?s sale in 1930.
Thomas R. Aubrey, the sheriff, sold the property and house to J. W. Sparrow for $1000. His wife, Anna Sparrow, had her name put on the deed in 1933. After J. W. Died in 1935 of pneumonia, Anna kept the ground so that people could grow small gardens and raise a cow. She rented the house as individual rooms to coal mining bachelors. Anna died in 1952. Her son Ernest inherited the property and house. He continued to rent the rooms but not the land. Ernest and his wife Priscilla live in Connelsville with their three kids.
In 1974, Ernest sold the Smock homestead and property to his nephew, Charles Sparrow and his wife Phyllis, who continue to live there today. They raised three children in their home.
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