Grandma Hart was born on August 2, 1894 in Purcell, a the small town of Purcell in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. She was the sixth of eight children born to Danford Blair Smith Mary Frances Miller .  Later her family moved to Davis, West Virginia, where she grew up. 
At the age of 16, she married Oliver D. Barr on Feb. 9, 1910 in Davis, West Virginia.  According to the 1910 US Census for Davis, WV Grandma lived with her husband, her parents, her brothers Ed and Ted and her sisters Nellie and Mayme. Mayme's husband, Bill Hamilton and their daughter, Maxine, also lived in the Smith family home on Kent Street, in Davis. Quite a full house! 
There is nothing that tells whether Grandma, Oliver and Dad ever moved out of the family house before their marriage ended. At that time, divorce was rare and only granted under serious conditions. Although I am not sure exactly what happened that Grandma filed for divorce, I can say that the divorce decree of June, 7, 1917 states that after witnesses were heard and counsels argued, the divorce was granted to Grandma and she was granted custody of Dad, who was 6 at the time. It was further determined that the defendant, O. D. Barr was prohibited from again marrying any one except the plaintiff within three years. In researching this decree, I discovered that there were usually three possible reasons for this type of decree: adultery, cruelty or desertion. 
Although my memory is foggy, I seem to remember Grandma telling me that Oliver was cruel and forbade her from leaving the house. His sister, Stella Helmick, who lived on the same street, helped her escape from the house, but Oliver came after her with a shotgun. I cannot verify any of this, and my memory could have been a dream, but I know that Dad had very bad feelings for his father, and so did Grandma. 
It is my understanding based on conversations with Mom, Dad and Grandma, that Grandma went to Braddock, PA to work and Dad stayed with his grandparents, the Danford Smiths. This is why he was called Smitty.
Grandma met and married Forrest V. Hart (Bill) on Dec. 4, 1920 in Kittanning, PA. By the 1930 Census, Dad was 19 and living with the Harts. Bill was 39 and working as a policeman at the Westinghouse. Grandma was 37 and working as a secretary at a printing plant. 
Grandma and Bill bought a small house in North Versailles at 245 James Street. It had a large yard with a big garden filled with flowers and vegetables. Grandma was a wonderful gardener and was a member of the Garden Club of East McKeesport. I have memories of going with her to the woods to pick wildflowers for her arrangements.
I enjoyed being at Grandma Hart's house, even though it was old-fashioned as she did not have a television nor a car. Instead she and Pappy Hart listened to evening radio. Their favorite was Party Line on KDKA starring Ed and Wendy King. It was a talk show that included stories and games. One year Grandma sent in a Christmas story that she wrote about Christmas in the Logging Camp in Davis. 
Other memories include Jenny and I learning how to sew. I made a braided rug and Jenny made a quilt. Other things we did were sorting Grandma's buttons, picking cherries from her tree, and typing on her typewriter. Grandma was very conscious of her appearance. I cannot ever remember her wearing 'casual' clothes. She always wore dresses even when working in her garden. Her hair was perfectly arranged and dyed dark. She usually wore beads around her neck. Because when she was little she had a case of polio and walked with a bit of a limp, she wore special orthopedic shoes that I believe had to be mail ordered. One memory I have was when Grandma took sick and we had to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. I was with her while we waited for it to arrive. As sick as she was, she wanted me to help her put her hose and beads on!
Sadly Grandma did not get to meet any of her great-grandchildren. She died on June 1, 1979, one day after Emily, her first great-grandchild was born. My dad told me later that she lived long enough to hear that she was a great grandmother and that she smiled at the news. Fanny is buried in Davis, West Virginia in the Davis Cemetery. 
|Marriage License for Oliver Dayton Barr & Fanne Irene Smith|
|Family Notes page 1|
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