||December 8, 2006
| By Beth Pleming
History is still being made in what many believe is the oldest standing
house in Haywood County.
More than 200 years after Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Shook built
his home in what has since become Clyde – the first frame house west of
the Blue Ridge – the Shook-Smather’s House has entered into a new era,
and wedding bells are ringing.
Dec.3 marks the first known wedding to ever take place in the home’s
upper room chapel, according to Sarah queen Brown, a docent of the Shook
Museum, located within the Shook-Smather’s House.
Hopefully, she added, it will be the first of many.
Like any couple in the process of planning a wedding, newlyweds Rhonda
and John Yow said they were looking for a “special place” to tie the
Both, self-acclaimed “history buffs,” the two settled on the Shook-Smather’s
house because of what it represents.
“It is such a monument here in Haywood County, and we wanted something
that was historical and has some type of meaning to it,” said Rhonda
Yow. We chose to get married here because the house stood for something
then and it’s still standing now just like we want our marriage to
The ceremony was held in the home’s third-floor upper room chapel.
The chapel was built as part of the original house around 1800, when
Jacob Shook built the home on what was then frontierland,” Brown said.
“There were no churches in the area at that time.”
Shook donated the third floor room of his home for religious services,
Brown continued. In 1810, traveling Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury
spent the night in the home, as recorded in his journal, and presumably
He was the first Methodist Bishop consecrated in North America, Brown
said, and was sent here by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.
“The house is sacred,” she said, “because it was built by Jacob Shook
when there were no other religious facilities in the area.” The upper
room chapel was dedicated at that time,” she added.
”John Yow said the home’s historical heritage evoked a sense of
“We could feel the pioneer spirit of those who were here before us,” he
said. “The purity and simplicity of life as it was at that time … the
Bible says ‘we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses,’ and
that’s how I felt today, not only like we were enveloped by the love of
our friends and family and of each other, but of the Spirit of the Lord
and of the saints who have gone before. It’s a different feeling that
you don’t get elsewhere. It makes you wonder about those who have been
here before us.”
During childhood days, like many young girls day-dreaming of a wedding,
Rhonda Yow, a Haywood County native, said she’s been entertaining
similar thoughts for years.
“Growing up I always wanted to live here,” she said. “And I would often
imagine the olden ladies – wearing hats and gloves – who used to live
White wooden chairs accented the dark, wood-panels of the chapel’s walls
and ceiling. Christmas greenery and white poinsettias adorned the
antiquated pump organ and an old school desk (both permanent fixtures in
the chapel), where unity candles sat behind a garland of berry-studded
Standing at the front of the chapel, between two windows, was an old
Almost simultaneously, both Rhonda and John described the experience as
“Even though the house is vacant, there is still so much life here,”
Rhonda Yow said.
Following the wedding the couple entertained guests with a reception
held in the home’s dining room.
The kitchen has been remodeled, Brown said, to accommodate such
functions. It is the only fully-modernized room in the house.
“We are real thrilled to be getting married here,” John Yow said moments
before the wedding. “With all the history here, it’s like we’re a part
of it … it’s kinda like we’re stepping back in time. It’s a blessing
from God. That’s what it is.