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Andrew Jackson Smith Traditional Geocache

This cache has been archived.

LBL heritage: This geocache has been removed in preparation for the upcoming LBL Heritage Geocache.

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Hidden : 02/04/2020
Difficulty:
1.5 out of 5
Terrain:
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:


At 2:40 on Saturday, February 22, 2020, The last Challenge Coin (#100) for the 2020 African American History Month Heritage Geocache Challenge was given out. Congratulations to all the Geocachers. The geocaches will remain in place for a few months for public education. Thank you for participating.

This Geocache is part of an annual Geocache Challenge put on by the Heritage Program at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area as part of our outreach to the public, to get people to explore their forest and their history, and to share the unique heritage of the families from Between the Rivers.

 

This Geocache is part of the “2020 Land Between the Lakes Heritage Geocache Challenge:  African American History of Lyon County”. There are 7 geocaches placed in Lyon County in Land Between the Lakes related to the African American Heritage of the area. If you locate each geocache, and collect a numbered aluminum tree tag from each cache, you can turn them in at the Golden Pond Visitor Center for one of 100 Challenge Coins created for this event.

 

The Geocache is a 6.5” x 8” orange watertight plastic box marked “Heritage Geocache” on the top. The geocache is placed in the woods behind an open field near “The Trace”. Do not stop your vehicle on The Trace. The geocache is located on the land of the former Oakland School.

 

The Andrew Jackson Smith Geocache

This geocache commemorates the life of Andrew Jackson Smith, who was born into slavery, escaped, joined the Union Army, returned to Lyon County, and became a successful businessman.

Andrew Jackson Smith was born Between the Rivers in 1843 to Susan, an enslaved woman on the farm of Elias Smith; whom oral tradition states is his father.

From 1861 till 1865, Smith was active with the Union Army, seeing action at the battle of Shiloh in Tennessee and the Battle of Honey Hill in South Carolina.

After the war, Smith returned home to Lyon County, worked in farming and real-estate, and married Amanda Young, a daughter of John Young Jr.. The two never had children. Amanda passed in 1901. In 1903, Smith remarried to Gertrude Catlett. They had at least two children together.

 

Andrew Smith Leaves the Smith Farm

In 1861, Elias Smith died and left a will. Of the 29 slaves listed in his estate inventory, two slaves are named in his will. He states that “Harrison P. Smith shall take care of and provide for my negro woman Susan” and “Wm. J. Smith shall take care of and provide for my negro woman Ailecy” and that they are “to treat said negros differently from all other slaves and keep them each comfortable and with all the necessities of life as long as they live."

At the end of the Elias Smith estate inventory, Susan (Andrew Jackson Smith’s mother) is listed as 50 years old and worth $350. The last name on the list, “Andy” is listed as 18 years old and with no stated value because he is marked “Runaway”.

 

During the Civil War

After leaving the Smith farm, Andrew Jackson Smith went to Smithland, Kentucky. African Americans were not yet allowed to serve as soldiers, so he worked as a servant for Major John Warner of the 41st Illinois Infantry. With Warner, he saw action at the Battle of Fort Henry and later at the Battle of Shiloh, where he was hit in the head by a spent minie ball but left only with a scar.

After recovering in Illinois, Smith went to Massachusetts and joined the 55th Mass. Volunteer Infantry; the second African American Regiment after the 54th.  While serving at the Battle of Honey Hill in South Carolina the 55th's color bearer was killed, Smith took up the battle flags and carried them through the remainder of the fight. It was for this action that Smith was later awarded the Medal of Honor. Smith was promoted to Color Sergeant.

After the war, Smith returned to Lyon County where he farmed, invested in real-estate, and married Amanda Young. Smith married again in 1903 to Gertrude Catlett.

Medal of Honor

From the Medal of Honor citation:

“Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the 55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire. Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy. Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment, and the United States Army.”

 

Oakland School

On this property, once owned by Andrew Jackson Smith, Oakland School was built for the children of the African American Community in this area of Between the Rivers. In 1920, Smith’s next door neighbor, Mary Benberry, was the teacher here.

Oakland School was the last remaining African American school between the rivers until it was discontinued in 1963 when Lyon County Schools were integrated.

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