Thomas Alvin Smith Family

Thomas Alvin Smith married Nora Olive Jones on August 24, 1910 in Weatherford, Oklahoma

Tom Smith family

Tom Smith with wife Nora and children Ollie (baby) and Ola Mae

Thomas Alvin Smith was born August 24, 1889 in Paris, Texas to William Franklin Smith and Sarah Frances Buchanan Smith. His father was a Texan and his mother was from Arkansas.

Nora Olive Jones was born May 26, 1893 in Macon County, Missouri to James Archibald Jones and Eliza Jane Holcroft Jones. Her father was from Kentucky and her mother from Missouri. James was married twice and fathered twenty-one children. His first wife died and left him with eight children. He married Eliza and had thirteen more. Nora was one of the thirteen.

Nora was just seventeen years old when she married Tom in Weatherford, Oklahoma. They had grown up together and their families had known one another for years. They named the little girl who was born a year later Ola Mae Smith after Tom's sister who died so young. Here is a list of Tom and Nora's children:

Ola Mae Smith

August 20, 1911

James Franklin Smith

May 11, 1913

Oliver Thomas Smith

June 3, 1916

Jennie Frances Smith

September 12, 1918

Nora's sister Grace died giving birth and so did the baby she was carrying. Nora and Tom took in two of Grace's boys, George and John Holcroft and raised them as their own until they moved to Colorado. Tom was a sharecropper in Weatherford. In 1916 Tom's father and brother, Jim, filed homestead claims in Bare Valley, Moffat County, Colorado. A family friend, Robert E. Morris was in Moffat County working for a land locator or promoter and probably told the Smith family about the land available in Colorado.

In 1917 Tom and Nora decided to move their three children to Moffat County, Colorado for Frank's health. He was a sickly child and a doctor recommended a drier climate. Also, Tom was probably hoping to have some land of his own. It was rough country, treeless, covered in sagebrush, dry, and much higher in altitude than Oklahoma. About the only crop that would grow was potatoes. Doris Karren Burton in her book "Blue Mountain Folks" describes it this way. "Bare Valley is a huge, bare, picturesque, sagebrush-covered valley surrounded by high rims and hills covered with cedar, pinon, serviceberry bushes, and other brush".

Tom and Nora built themselves a dugout to live in. "A dugout was dug back into a hill like a cave. The hill had to be at least seven feet high. The front was either boarded up, or grass sod was used when available. At that time a person could set up a dugout for about $2.78, which included: a stove pipe to go through the roof, for thirty cents, one window, $1.25; eighteen feet of lumber for a door, fifty-four cents; latch and hanging, fifty cents; and three pounds of nails to make the door, nineteen cents. It was impossible to keep out worms, spiders, or flies, and dugouts were always dark and cold. Economy was the only advantage to a dugout. Some said they were warmer than a cabin. Whether a homesteader built a dugout or a cabin, it had to be at least ten by twelve feet."

About a year later Jennie Frances Smith was born to Nora and Tom on September 12, 1918. She was born in Craig, Colordo where her mother went to stay shortly before her baby was due. When Frances was not quite six weeks old her mother, Nora Olive Smith, succumbed to the flu pandemic of 1918 leaving Tom with three children at home and a new baby. He gave the baby to his mother and father to keep indefinitely. They had a nice frame house out on their homestead in Bare Valley and I'm sure Tom's mother wanted to care for little Frances.

Tom and Nora Smith's home

Jennie Frances Smith

Ernest Smith w/dog. Nora in doorway. Ola and Ollie are the children.

Tom and Nora's home in Moffat County

Jennie Frances Smith

In due time Tom went back over the divide and found himself a new wife, Chloe Belle Calendar Jones. Tom had know Chloe for years; in fact, Chloe's husband, Ray Jones, was a half-brother of Nora's. Chloe brought with her a son, Frankie. Ray had died of tuberculosis, the same disease that would claim his son, Frankie, by the age of 24.

Chloe and Tom

Tom and sons

Tom Smith's second wife, Chloe (Calendar) Jones

Tom Smith and his sons, back row Frank and Ollie,

front row Willie and Tom

When Chloe joined Tom in Bare Valley little Frances continued to live with Tom's parents. That all changed on October 5, 1921 when Tom's father and brother Jim were shot to death by a neigbor over a dispute in a potato field. See "Murder in Moffat County". After that terrible time Frances moved back in with Tom and Chloe, and Tom's mother and sisters left Bare Valley for good.

Tom and Chloe Belle left Moffat County, abandoning their claim to the land, with their four children and moved to the eastern slope of Northern Colorado, to Purcell where Tom did some farming. Their union produced two more children, William Emery Smith and Marion Lillie Smith.

William Emery Smith

September 1, 1923

Marion Lillie Smith

July 16, 1926


Email family here –


Back to main page