I had the great pleasure to speak to a group of General Smith’s descendants and interested residents at the Cairnwood Village in the historic town of Bryn Athyn, PA. The October 27, 2015 event began with dinner from 6:30 to 8:00 followed by a hour-long PowerPoint presentation on General Smith’s life. The event was attended by 45-50 very interested attendees.
The presentation covered Smith’s life from his time as a West Point cadet through his untimely death at Savannah, TN. Mr. Kurt Wille, General Smith’s distant cousin, presented a brief family history of the Smith family which traces its roots to John Blair Smith, second president of Hampden-Sydney College and first president of Union College. The family counts many doctors as part of its family tree.
My wife and I were the guests of Ms. Christa Bedford and Mr. Wille. Kurt has been assisting my research on General Smith for over five years and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the general’s biography. Ms. Bedford is the daughter of the famous painter George Kenner. Kenner made 110 paintings and drawings during the First World War while interned as a German civilian prisoner of war in Great Britain and the Isle of Man.
Bryn Athyn is home of the New Church and famous National Historic Landmark District. The highlight of the district is the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. We spent the afternoon before the presentation touring this beautiful church.