“Shook forged nails
in his own blacksmith shop and cut boards from virgin timber a foot wide to
build the house at a time most homes were simple log cabins,” according to a
history of the house from Ruth Morgan Jones, a descendant of the Smathers
family who purchased it in 1850.
Tradition states that
Shook experienced Christian conversion after settling in Haywood
County. Of a certainty, Shook dedicated the third floor of his
house to religious worship. That floor was one big room, 30 feet long, 18
feet wide and 9 feet high.
shook house became a stop for traveling Methodist preachers, including
Francis Asbury. Asbury was the first bishop of the Methodist Church of
America. That first bishop, who traveled 250,000 miles in his journeys for
the gospel, referred to a stop at eh home of “Vater Shuck” (Father Shook) in
his journals. Shook also set aside ground for holding camp meetings, and
tradition states that he also provided room on the threshing floor of his
large barn for holding services.
1798, then-Bishop Samuel Edney organized a society of Methodists that met in
the Shook House. The Group became known as the Campground
Before he died in 1834, Jacob Shook donated land for the church. A log
building was constructed and named Louisa Chapel, after his granddaughter.
Louisa Chapel still holds worship services and is the oldest
Methodist Church in Haywood
check of the house by the N.C. Division of Archives and history found names
and dates of preachers carved in wood paneling in the chapel room, going
back to 1800. Those dates support the idea that this house is the oldest
remaining structure in North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge.
Smathers family moved I about 1850, Levi Smathers bought the Shook House.
The Smathers family continued to dedicate the third-floor chapel to the
worship of God.
warm Sunday afternoons, Lev and his wife, Sally Cook Smathers, sat on the
front porch, one on one end of the long porch and one on the other end, and
read the Bible,” states Ruth Jones’ history of the house “Their food for
Sunday dinner was always prepared on Saturday.”
the late 1800s, Levi Smathers had the house enlarged, doubling its size.
Clapboard siding was placed around the original sawn-board siding, and two
gallery porches were added, one for the first floor, another for the
second. The stairway was moved from the original front room to a hallway in
the center of the house.
Levi’s son, D.I.L. “Dock” Smathers, inherited the house in 1896. Dock and
his wife, “Mattie” Killian Smathers, opened their home to anyone wanting to
visit the third-floor chapel. Mattie Smathers served as superintendent of
the Sunday School at Louisa Chapel for 12 years. She walked to church,
carrying a lantern when it was dark. Her husband called it the “gospel
his wife died in 1924, Dock Smathers asked his daughter Mary, and her
family, to live with him. Mary inherited the house in 1937.
Smathers Morgan would live in the Shook-Smathers house for 94 of the
150-plus years her family owned it.
Mary’s daughter, Ruth Jones, was 12 when her family returned to the Shook
Smathers House. She lived there until 1942, four years after her marriage
to N.C. Highway Patrolman Edward White Jones. Ruth Jones is one of here
owners who sold the house in a double transaction, first to the N.C.
Preservation Trust, then immediately to Hall.
Growing up in the house
mother … invited women from the Louisa
Church to come to the Shook-Smathers house for quilting parties,” Ruth Jones
remembered. She set up her quilting frames in the room on the second floor,
where the stairs go up to the third-floor chapel. The women brought
patterns they had sewn together. …They sewed the patterns together, then
attached the lining and filled it with cotton.”
could hear them talking and laughing while they quilted. They caught up on
the news of the community, told funny stories and shared their favorite
recipes. And the quilts they made were beautiful. … Back then, women took
a little time from cooking, keeping house and raising children to share a
common interest, and they had a goodtime doing it.”
Home of fine cooking
mother loved to entertain at dinners and any occasion that was a cause for
celebration,” Jones added. “…She loved to cook good food and invite people
in for a meal. She cooked vegetabl3s from her garden, made cornbread,
biscuits and rolls, and always had a homemade cake or pie on hand for
dessert. … Every summer she put up 500 cans to last through the winter
months. “Preachers and their wives came from out of town and stayed for two
weeks at a time while they were holding revivals in Clyde.”
meals she cooked for farm hands and thrashers were just as good as the ones
she fixed for preachers and their wives, highway patrol officers, friends
Jones remembers a summer afternoon when a Texas socialite sat on her
mother’s porch talking with farm hands who had come in from plowing.
and Edward Jones lived at the Shook-Smathers house until after their first
child, a daughter, was born. They lived in Canton for three years, then
returned to the homestead to live while building their own house. Their
second child was also born at the Shook Smathers House. In 1958, Edwards
Jones was transferred to Raleigh, and retired there in 1977 as commander of
the State Highway Patrol. Ruth Jones has continued living in Raleigh since
her husband’s death in 1988, and lives with daughter, Nancy.
owned the home with her niece and nephew until it recent sale to Hall. It
had been on the market since 1993. As a widow, Jones did not want to return
to Clyde to live alone in the rambling structure, and the other two owners lived
in Houston and
Hickory. The decision to sell the house wasn’t easy, Jones said, but the
most difficult challenge was to sell it in a way that would preserve its
history and heritage.
took 10 years to find an owner who would commit to that same dream.