Wednesday, July 13, 2011


December, 1996

Condie Smith
My Great Grandmother Smith had a strong obsession about their youngest son and child, Constantinoble.  She would always speak about what a wonderful boy he was.  And much about his talents and respect and appreciation he had for her.  She called him Constance.  Most of the rest of the family called him Condie.  He was only about four years older than my father, Eugene Smith and was born the same year as my father's older brother, William C. Smith.  My father had much admiration for him and spoke often and well about him.  My father spoke much about their experiences as boys growing up together at Notom:  Condie and my Dad and my Dad's older brother, William C. and my Dad's brother, Walter, just younger than my father were given the job to herd the milk cows out in the hills around Notom in the summer when the rains came and the grass would start growing out on the hills.  They most always went bare-footed in the summer and did most of the herding of the cows on foot.  Sometimes they would have a horse to ride but not often.  There were plenty of rocks to throw on the hills and so they practiced throwing rocks.  They even threw rocks at the cows to keep them in the area they were allowed to graze.  Quite often a stray bull would try to intrude among the cows with no good intention.  They always tried to teach the bull a lesson to stay away by pelting him with a barrage of rocks. 

Now a little more about the herding of the cows in the hills around Notom in the summer when the grass started to grow green and plentiful as told to me by my father.  (my father would demonstrate every once-in-awhile how good he was at throwing a rock.  he even made for me out of a piece of cloth from a grain-sack a shoulder bag in which he carried rocks when herding cows on the Notom Hills.  Also showed me how to select good rocks to throw.  The difference in throwing a flat rock and a round rock and an oblong rock.  A flat rock he called a sailor and could be made to have a sailing effect.)

Also they used slings (sling-shots) to throw rocks.  It consisted of two tanned buck-skin strings tied to a leather pouch in which the rock was placed then the sling was swung around and around in the air, then one of the strings was turned loose from the hand and the rock would go sailing in the air, out hopefully, in the direction intended.  (remember how the shepherd boy, David killed the Philistine giant with a sling)  My dad seemed to always give Condie credit for throwing a rock farther and more accurately than any of them with the sling.   My dad made me more than one sling and taught me how to use it.  He was very good at using one and claimed to have learned the skill herding cows on the Notom hills. 

William   Mary  Smith
Now also, as many as three or four or five families would mix their cows together and send out as many as twenty or twenty-five kids to herd maybe two or three times that many cows.  But mostly that was not always practiced, sometimes it was just individual families.  As my father explained it to me both multi-family and single family groups were used, which ever was decided best.  During the day an adult member of one of the families would ride to check to see whether all was well and to see that no disputes or family feuds had arisen among the young cow-herders, to squelch and resolve any troubles that may have showed up.  I can well imagine how miserable twenty good rock-throwing boys each with a bag of rocks could make it for an unwanted animal to stray into the herd or even how miserable they could make it for a cow that wanted to trespass beyond the limit of the grazing area.  My dad said, that his father was very good and regular at inspecting the cows that evening when they were brought home to see that they were not injured and make sure that they had not been used for target practice. 

Also my dad told me how abundantly and rank the grass would grow in a good wet rainy summer in places out on the Notom Bench, which was located mostly south and some east of the Notom residential area.  Sometime they would exempt sections of the bench from grazing and scythe down the grass and store it for hay to be fed in the winter.   

Condie, according to my Dad and Uncles could throw a rock farther and straighter than any of them and even at a faster salvo.  He could throw rocks faster and straighter than any of them when they would throw rocks at a target.  And he could run faster on foot than any of them.  Going barefooted on the rocky hills around Notom, their feet would get so tough that according to my Dad, they could almost run through a bed of prickly-pear cactus without getting thorns in their feet.  I noticed my father would say always-almost when talking about running through a prickly-pear cactus bed. 

Mette   Jorgen Smith
My father always spoke of Condie as his big brother.  He always spoke more affectionately of him than any of his brothers.  Never once did I hear my father call him "Uncle Condie".  And my father had a great concern of what may have happened to him. 

Well Condie grew up, got married, went in partners with another fellow, and leased a herd of angora goats on a leased contract basis for a couple of years or so.  They supposedly received their money from the owners of the goats when they turned them back to the owners but Condie turned up missing and never was heard of again.  Some of the Smith family believed that he was killed for his money.  There were many suspects.  But without evidence, Dad decided to just be quite about it and not cause anymore trouble about it.  

Some thought maybe he (Condie) just took his own money and went somewhere on his own.  It was said by some, (but I don't know any facts at all).  That he wasn't happy with his wife.  Anyway, I know his mother did not know what to believe.  But, I also know that his mother told me, maybe two times in that last year of her life that she had a dream, that Constance would return to see her and that she was looking for him to return.  But he never did return.

Well, my Great Grandmother's obsession came in her dream, that she would see her beloved baby boy, but Constance never came in this life;  They are undoubtedly reunited in the Spirit World with the beloved husband and father, Jorgen Smith. 

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