Heritage, Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 1995 Page: 16
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THE (OHO AND NANCY JANE SMITH HOMESTEAD:
- A UNIQU RURAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
By Brenda B. Whorton and S. Alan Skinner
UNEXPECTED ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERY AT NORTH TEXAS SITE REVEALS IMPORTANT DATA
BUT LEAVES MANY OTHER QUESTIONS UNANSWERED.
he unexpected discovery of a stone
chimney and its associated house
foundation in a proposed City of
Azle golf course in eastern Parker County
led archaeologists to mobilize a team of
avocational archaeologists and local historians
to collect oral history and old photographs
of the house site and then to clear
the entire site. The need for the investigation
was brought to the attention of the
City thanks to an avocational archaeologist,
but no one expected that the archaeological
survey that was to be carried out
would locate the site of the second school
house in the Azle area or a house that had
been lived in for more than 60 years by
John Jeremiah (Coho) Smith, a frontierRenaissance
man who helped layout downtown
Dallas for John Neely Bryan.
Coho Smith, a native of Pennsylvania,
came to Texas in the early 1840s and by
1844 was at the Three Forks of the Trinity
helping John Neely Bryan build a small
cabin and survey his proposed town (Smith
1903; Azle Historical Museum Society
1986:258). Soon after, he began frequent
trips south as a freighter in the Texas
Borderlands, where his keen powers of
observation and talent led him to document
his adventures in both word and art.
He took part in the Mexican War and
made raids on Indian groups. Eventually,
he was captured by the Comanches and
lived with them for almost a year, learning
the language, again keeping notes and
drawings depicting his experiences. His
knowledge of the language ultimately
served him well as a sympathetic interpreter
for Cynthia Ann Parker after her
return to the Anglo world. It is said that
Cynthia Ann was so grateful for his understanding
that she promised him all kinds
of benefits, if he would only return her to
the Comanches (Logan 1986:71).
In 1861 Smith married Nancy Jane
Hoggard of Azle, Parker County, Texas,
and settled on her property west of town.
Local tradition holds that Smith built the
16 HERITAGE * WINTER 1995
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 1995, periodical, Winter 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45408/m1/16/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.