Samuel A. Smith
Confederate Soldier, Civil War

Submitted by Joseph Karrasch, gr-gr-grandson.

Samual A. & Mary Arlena Smith

Intelligencer, Thursday, October 12, 1916


Samual A. Smith of Benwood, Confederate Veteran, Joins Army of the Majority

Was Appointed Cadet to Annapolis Naval Academy by President Taylor
Funeral Friday.

Another of the last few Confederate veterans of the Wheeling district joined the Army of the Majority when Samual A. Smith, of 500 Water street, Benwood, answered "taps" yesterday morning at 5 o'clock, following only a few days of illness. He was one of the oldest citizens of Marshall county, was graduated from Annapolis Naval Academy and was a Democrat. For a half century Mr. Smith had lived in Benwood and was among the most widely known and highly esteemed men of that community. His sudden passing came as a shock to his many friends. Despite his advanced years he had always enjoyed good health. Death was given as simply a wearing away of the vital organs.

Mr. Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pa, eighty years ago. He had the distinction of perhaps being the last surviving cadet appointed to Annapolis by President Zachary Taylor. At the outbreak of the war between the states, Mr. Smith was living in Texas and he joined a Lone Star State company. He served with distinction during the entire conflict of four years under Lee and Jackson and participated in many of the principal battles. At the surrendering of the Southern army he came to this section locating at Benwood and for more than fifty years had been a resident of that town. He worked in various industries in this community and for the past 15 years had been employed as weighmaster at the Wheeling Steel and Iron company. He worked up until a few days before his death. He was a member of St Andrew's Protestant Episcopal church, South Wheeling.

Forty eight years ago he married Miss Aralana Crebbs, of Benwood, who survives, as do six children, namely; Mrs. John Ulrich of Rome, NY; Mrs. Norman Yoho of Bellaire, O; Allison and William Smith of Bellaire; Frank Smith of Wheeling and Charles Smith of Benwood.

Funeral services will be held in the family home Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock, with Rev. James L. Fish of St. Andrew's church, officiating. Interment will be in McMechen cemetery.


By Joseph Karrasch, gr-gr-grandson.

The 10/12/16 Intelligencer article on Samual A. Smith was very complimentary of my gr-gr grandfather and well deserved. To lead the life that he did and then work to the incredible tireless age of 80 years is absolutely remarkable.

Over the last few years, I’ve pulled together documentation from past research efforts and have coordinated some of my own. Sam was born in Philadelphia in 1836 and was the first of three sons (Sam, Francis, Waters) of Waters and Hanna Cora Smith. Waters himself has quite a fascinating history having served as a U.S. Naval Surgeon up until his death at age 51 in 1850. Sam’s youngest brother Waters died at age 7 in 1848.

On October 1, 1851, Sam was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy by President Zachary Taylor. Sam was 15 years and 4 months when he entered the Academy in 1851. Sam did not do too well at the Academy and is listed as being on probation frequently. Sam was dismissed from the Academy on June 16, 1854 and did not graduate. I’ve obtained a copy of Sam’s demerits from the Naval Academy and these range from “noise from room”, “visiting in study hours”, “absent from roll call”, “breaking window”, .........

After being discharged from the Academy, Sam went to Texas. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted for a one year period with the 3rd Texas Infantry (Co. A). After his year was up, Sam reenlisted for the “remainder of the war”. Sam was a private and on his Muster Rolls, it indicates that he was a hospital steward.

Research material obtained from the Harold B. Simpson Confederate Research Center at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas indicates that the 3rd Texas Infantry never left the state of Texas during the entire war. It was ordered out of the state on at least three occasions: once in late 1862 to go to western Louisiana, in mid-1863 to report for duty in northwestern Louisiana, and in the spring of 1864 to assist in the operations against Banks’ Red River Campaign. Each of these times, however, the unit’s orders were changed before it actually left the state. The 3rd never saw any action.

After Sam’s initial commitment of one year was up, he reenlisted. This seems remarkable due to the unit’s inactivity, frequent reports of low morale, desertions, and insubordination just short of mutiny. Despite all this, Sam did reenlist and fulfilled his commitment to the Confederacy until the end of the war.

At the conclusion of the war, Sam did eventually make his way back North. A family story indicates that Sam was traveling back North with a friend to Wilkes Barre (home of his mother). During the trip, Sam’s friend got sick and they got off the train in Benwood, WV. While in Benwood, Sam attended a social event at a local church where he met Mary Arlena Crebbs (ancestor was Thomas Babb who fought in the Revolutionary War). Sam never left Benwood! Sam married Ms. Crebbs and they had eight children:

Waters (1870-1901, died in Benwood at age 31)
Helen Cora (1872-1873, died in Benwood at age 16 months)
George (1875, died as an infant)
Frank (1880-1927)
Laura Mae (1883-?)
Alleson Samual (1885-1949)
William Isaac (1888-1969)
Charles (1889-1954)

Sam’s service in the Confederacy and his loyalty to the United States after the war are examples of his strength and character. Despite Sam’s shortcomings at the Naval Academy as a youngster, Sam succeeded in life as a family man, a Christian, and a friend. I honestly believe that Sam never raised arms against the Union, however, I’m sure he did see the blood and the pain of the war as he tended to the wounded. I’m told that Sam never talked about the war. He was most probably a very humble individual who was more interested in providing for his family and friends. Yes, Sam was a Confederate, but more importantly he was loved by his family and community. The 1916 Intelligencer article is more than proof of this.

While Sam was serving as a hospital steward in Texas, his brother Francis (Frank), was serving as 2nd Lieutenant for the 49th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Frank served with the 49th until some time in 1863 when he was discharged due to medical reasons. Frank reenlisted in 1864 and finished out the war with the 187th Pennsylvania Volunteers under General Joshua Chamberlin. The 187th was given the honor of guarding the remains of President Lincoln while being shown in Philadelphia. After the war, Frank went to California as a land surveyor and died there in 1901 at age 61.