July 26, 2006
Hall named honorary citizen of Clyde
By Peggy Manning
Senior staff writer
Clyde – The man who restored the Shook-Smathers
house was honored Monday with a key to the town as an honorary citizen
Joseh S. Hall of Washington, DC, a retired professor of European
history, purchased the Shook-Smathers house three years ago.
“Don’t you think I’m not going to speak up, now that I’m a citizen,”
Hall told Clyde Mayor Jerry Walker.
A crowd gathered in the new welcome center built adjacent to the Shook
Museum on Morgan Street in Clyde to honor Hall for restoring the
“historic pride of Clyde.”
“This was God’s intended use for this house,” the Rev. Randy Tingle,
pastor of Clyde Central United Methodist Church, said of the Shook-Smathers
Hall’s great-great-great-grandfather, Jacob Shook, built the earliest
portion of the house about 1795 on land he was granted for service in
the American Revolution, said Sharon Shook,
great-great-great-granddaughter of Jacob Shook.
|Shook was one of the first
settlers in Western North Carolina, she said.
The Shook house became a stop for traveling Methodist preachers,
including Francis Asbury. Asbury was the first bishop of the Methodist
Church of America.
Before he died in 1839, 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 County.
William Welch bought Shook’s house in 1839 for $1,200, but never lived
in it, Sharon Shook said.
In 1850, Levi and Sally Smathers bought the house. In the late 1800s,
Levi Smathers had the house enlarged, doubling its size.
Levi’s son, I.I.L. “Dock” Smathers, inherited the house in 1896. Mary
Smathers Morgan, the daughter of Dock and Mattie Killian Smathers,
inherited the house in 1937 and lived in the Shook-Smathers house until
Mary’s daughter, Ruth Jones, is one of the three owners who sold the
house in a double transaction, first to the N.C. Preservation Trust,
then immediately to Hall.
“There is no question in our minds that God’s providence was at work,”
Sharon Shook said. “Who better to buy and restore the house that a
Hall acknowledged that history has come full circle.
“Most people would laugh and wonder why in the world would this guy buy
this house.” Hall said. The answer, he said, is the immense public
interest in the house.
shows you value this house,” Hall told the crowd.
As part of the purchase agreement, Hall said he signed a protective
covenant, vowing to protect the property.
He has done that by sinking about $500,000 into the restoration of the
house and construction of the new welcome center.
Tours to the Shook Museum will begin at the welcome center, since
handicap accessible restrooms could not be constructed in the museum,
The Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey said Jacob Shook’s hospitality is as
much a part of history as the house he built.“The connections to
Methodism and the Shook family is significant,” McCleskey said. “It was
that kind of hospitality that opened up opportunities for preachers.
It’s because of Asbury that there are so many Methodist churches in this
Haywood Community College students provided most of the landscaping of
the Shook museum property.Another gift was presented Monday. Sarah
Martin donated an organ to the museum, which was placed in the third
floor room where religious services were held during Jacob Shook’s
Although the Shook Museum normally accepts only original artifacts of
the house, Hall said the organ donated by Martin is very similar to one
that was owned by Jacob Shook.The Shook Museum is a regular stop on a
tour bus trail, Hall said.
The shook Museum board of directors includes Hall as chairman, Frank
Hall as vice-chairman, Bob Smith, secretary, David Conrad, treasurer,
Kathleen Hall, Dr and Mrs. William Campbell, Joel Martin, Ray Rhinehart,
Sharon Shook, George Thomas and Patrick Willis. Honorary members are
Mrs. Earl Hunt and Peggy Green.
|The Clyde Historic
preservation Committee includes Sara Queen Brown, chairwoman; Jewell
Beall, Judy Ferguson, Sharon Shook and Wanda Winecoff.
Frances Hart is the volunteer director for the museum. Museum docents
include Sara Queen Brown, Sammi Burress, Pat Caldwell, Louise Harrison,
Suzanne Langford, Sharon Shook, Edie Thurman and Jim Thurman.
Tours of the museum are available at 10a.m. on Saturdays. Groups can
arrange a tour at other times by appointment, by calling 877-620-2300 or
by e-mailing email@example.com.
Peggy Manning can be reached at 452-0661, ext. 127, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.