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MEDAL

Presented by the State of West Virginia
to
JOHN WESLEY SMITH
Grandfather of Samuel A. J. Cockayne

     The Civil War medal of John Wesley Smith, a soldier in the First West Virginia Infantry, was found among the contents of the Cockayne House. His daughter, Beulah Smith, the wife of Samuel Alexander Cockayne, was the mother of Samuel A. J. Cockayne, who bequeathed his home and its contents to the city of Glen Dale in 2001.

     These medals were awarded to all soldiers in West Virginia's Union regiments. The name of the soldier, his company and the regiment are inscribed on the rim. However, this particular medal is not made of bronze as the other West Virginia medals are. Since members of family were metal workers, it is reasonable to speculate that perhaps they made the medal found in the Cockayne farmhouse. The experts at the West Virginia State Archives have not seen a medal made of this type of metal. For more information about the medals, including the complete history, see The Civil War Medals of West Virginia... Where Are They?

     At the outset of the Civil War, John W. Smith enrolled in Company "E" of the First (W) Virginia Infantry. Since the conflict was expected to be resolved quickly, these troops were enlisted to serve for only three months, May-August, 1861. Company "E" was commanded by Captain George C. Trimble of Wheeling, later Major of the 11th West Virginia Infantry. Captain Trimble's diary, owned by this writer, provides a glimpse of the activities of Company "E" during this 90-day enlistment. The diary is included in a book about Major Trimble.

     When hostilities escalated, the First (West) Virginia Infantry was reorganized. John W. Smith, 19, mustered in as a private on 25 Sep 1861 at Wheeling, (W.) Va., to serve for three years in Company "A."

     According to his application for a government pension, John W. Smith was wounded on 15 May 1864 at the Battle of New Market, Virginia. His statements and other affidavits state he sustained a gunshot wound to his left foot.

     John W. Smith mustered out 26 Nov 1864 at the expiration of his term of service. The muster out information from the W. Va. Adjutant General's records states that he was an Ironworker, born in Belmont County, Ohio. His death certificate provides the name of Bridgeport as the Belmont County town in which he was born.

     For more information about the First West Virginia Infantry, including the complete regimental history book, see First West Virginia Infantry.


     John W. Smith, born 20 Mar 1843 in Bridgeport, Belmont County, Ohio, was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Smith.

1850 Census, Pease Twp., Belmont County, Ohio
SMITH (#1470/#1459)- [Living next door to a Wallace family]
Joseph, 43-wm, miner, PA
Elisabeth, 43-wf, PA
James, 14-wm, OH
William, 13-wm, VA
Samuel B., 11-wm, OH
John W., 8-wm, OH
Joseph, 1-wm, OH

1860 Census, Marshall County, W. Va.
SMITH (2074)
Joseph, 53-wm, miner, OH
Elisabeth, 53-wf, PA
James, 24-wm, boiler, OH
William, 22-wm, boiler, VA
Samuel B., 20-wm, nailer, OH
John W., 18-wm, laborer, OH
Mary A., 15-wf, OH
Joseph, 11-wm, OH
Lucy, 3-wf, OH

     On 26 Mar 1868, in Marshall County, West Virginia, John W. Smith, 26, born in Ohio, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth, married Elizabeth Wallace, 22, born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of James and Jane. [Marshall County Marriage Bk A1, Pg. 131]. They were married by Rev. T. H. Trainer.

1870 Census, Union Dist., Marshall County, W. Va.
[probably John & Elizabeth]
SMITH (363)
John, 28-M, Iron boiler, 100, WV
Elizabeth, 24-F, Keeping house, OH

1880 Census, Union Dist., Marshall County, W. Va.
SMITH (90)
John W., 37-wm, puddler, OH, PA, OH
Elizabeth, 32-wf, keeping house, OH, SCOT, IRE
Wallace, 3-wm, WV, OH, OH

1890 Census of Widows and Veterans, Ohio County, W. Va.
SMITH, John W., Private, Company "A", 1 WV Inf. Enlisted 18 Sep 1861; discharged 26 Nov 1864; length, 3-2-8. Private, Company "E", 1 WV Inf. Enlisted 17 May 1861; discharged 27 Aug 1861; length, 0- 3-10. Address: Wheeling, WV. Disability Incurred: Wounded left foot. Remarks: In Bat of New Market. [From the 1890 Census of Ohio County, WV, transcribed by Linda Fluharty.]

1900 Census, McMechen, Marshall County, W. Va.
SMITH (#12-#14)
John W., 58, b Mar 1842, Married 32 Yrs, OH, OH, PA
Elizabeth, 52, b Sep 1847, wife, 4 children/3 living, OH, SCOT, IRE
Beulah, dau, b. Oct 1881, 18, single, Schoolteacher, WV, OH, WV
Vernon L., son, b May 1885, 15, WV, OH, WV

     John W. Smith, a 59 year old millworker, died of Lung Disease on 2 Jul 1902 at McMechen, Marshall County, as reported by his wife Elizabeth. [Marshall County Deaths Bk 1, Pg 113]. The McMechen City Health Office gives the specific cause of death as "Pneumonia." Elizabeth died 14 Aug 1927.

     Provided by William Joseph Pearl, gr-grandson:

  • John W. Smith was also wounded in the Civil War. My grandfather, Vernon L. Smith, joked about it, as he was shot in the heel.
  • Wallace Smith, son of John W., founded the Metal Works in Glen Dale. He & Grandpap Smith developed "Lead Clad." It will not rust and still forms the fence around the Triangle Conduit, which is no longer operating. It is also the metal base under the golden dome of our State Capitol Bldg. in Charleston. Several persons have contacted the family through the years, looking for the lead clad formula.

  •      Wallace H. Smith, the older son of John W. & Elizabeth (Wallace) Smith, was born 4 Oct 1876. In the 1900 census, Wallace, 33, was residing in Ohio County, W. Va. with his wife, Patience Elliott (Hamilton), 23, born Feb 1877. She was the daughter of Charles P. Hamilton, a prominent Wheeling architect and builder, and Maria Baer. See Biography of Charles P. Hamilton.

         Wallace and Patience moved to Texas and are found there in the 1910 census of Wharton County. No children are listed, although it says she had 5 children with 4 living; probably an error. Charles P. Hamilton, father of Patience, was living with them. By 1920 they had returned to Glen Dale, Marshall County, W. Va.; there were no children. In 1930, Wallace, manager of Metal Works, and Patience, both 52, were residing in Glen Dale. With them was an adopted son, Wallace E., age 4.


         Beulah Smith (14 Oct 1881-1945), the daughter of John W. & Elizabeth (Wallace) Smith, was a school teacher at the Center McMechen Elementary School. She married Samuel Alexander Cockayne (1876-1953) in 1919. Samuel was the grandson of Bennett & Sarah (Price) Cockayne, who had built the historic Cockayne House in 1850 on Wheeling Avenue, Glen Dale, Marshall County.

         Following their deaths, Samuel & Beulah (Smith) Cockayne's son, Samuel A. J. Cockayne, unmarried, inherited the Cockayne House. When he died in 2001, he donated the historic house and its contents to the city of Glen Dale. The Marshall County Historical Society is presently working to transform the home into a museum.

         The Civil War medal, shown above, as well as other contents of the house, will be displayed at the museum.


         Vernon L. Smith, the younger son of John W. & Elizabeth (Wallace) Smith, was born in 5 May 1885. On 17 May 1910, Vernon L., 25, born in Ohio County, W. Va. and residing in McMechen, married Mary M. Blake, 21, born in Marshall County and residing in Benwood. [Marshall County Marriage Bk L, Pg 425]

         Children of Vernon and Mary M. ("Mae"), listed in the 1930 census of McMechen, Marshall County: William V., 19; Wallace H., 15; Dorothy M., 17; Mildred T., 11; Blanche M., 9; Elizabeth, 7; and Donald T., 1 year, 11 months. Another child, Paul, born after 1930, completed the family.

         Daughter, Blanche M. Smith, married William Herman Pearl, the son of William Andrew Pearl and Mary Alice Higgins. They had two children, William Joseph and Mary Elizabeth "Marybeth." Blanche died in 1999 and her husband in 1963.

         Provided by William Joseph Pearl:

  • William Vernon Smith married Elizabeth Chison of Wheeling
  • Dorothy M. married Edward Patrick of Elm Grove
  • Wallace H. married Mary Catherine Niddle of Wheeling Island
  • Mildred T. married "Buzz" Buzzard of Bellaire, OH
  • Elizabeth married Gus Varlas of Moundsville
  • Donald T. married Mildred Goldbaugh of Wheeling
  • Paul J. married Amelia Salvadori of Beach Bottom
  • William Vernon Smith compiled a genealogy that goes all the way back to Noah Smith, a Revolutionary War Patriot.


    Research & Web page by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.

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