m. 11 May 1882
Facts and Events
Cordelia's mother, also named Cordelia, died from complications following her birth, and her father, Joe Myers, died relatively young in 1904. Because Joe moved around the state a lot in connection with his railroad job, Cordelia had lived mostly with her maternal grandmother, Margaret (Mattox) Leathers. After her son-in-law's death, Margaret took over full responsibility for her granddaughter's upbringing -- and, by all accounts, spoiled her unmercifully. In addition to her husband's business interests, Margaret was an investor, buying up town properties in Oskaloosa, improving them, and renting them out. She was regarded as a hard-nosed businesswoman and, while not exactly wealthy, she eventually became quite well off. Cordelia therefore was indulged, and she became a bit of a snob. She attended Oskaloosa College for a time, though she was not a particularly good student. Her grandmother made her a gift of one of the first automobiles (not counting tractors and farm trucks) in Oskaloosa, . . . and, according to family stories, she also was involved in one of the town's first fender-benders.
When she married Arthur Smith, usually known as "A.D.," they went off with his job to Lander, Wyoming, for a couple of years. Cordelia attempted to bring culture to the little town by starting a Ladies' Circle, including such activities as china-painting. Later, when A.D. moved his small family to San Diego and opened a downtown newspaper and orange juice stand, she generally described his occupation as "Retail Beverage Merchant."
In the 1930s, Cordelia seems to have developed an interest in her own lineage and undertook a wide correspondence with any relatives she could locate. Information gleaned from one return letter often led to outgoing letters to new contacts, until she estimated she was spending $50 a year on postage (at a time when the First Class letter rate was three cents). Unfortunately, she didn't keep all the letters she received (at least, not permanently), preferring to compile the information she acquired on stacks of handwritten notepaper. I was a history major in college when she died and my father passed her compiled notes on to me, her grandson, to see what I could make of them. That was the beginning of my own serious interest in my family's history. And I have to say, I have found almost no errors in her work, as untutored as it was. She was careful to record variant data when two of her correspondents disagreed on the facts, and she carefully laid out her reasoning in reaching her own conclusions.
Cordelia suffered from arteriosclerosis in her later years. She apparently was watching the unfolding events of the Kennedy assassination on television the evening of 22 November 1963, dozed off, and died in her sleep. She was found the next morning on the sofa by a neighbor who had come over for coffee. There are much worse ways to go. --Mike (mksmith) 09:39, 5 June 2009 (EDT)