Smiley-Polk Historians To Tell Story Of Old Lawnside Family

The Smiley-Polk Family - 200 Years of History
Credit: Smiley-PolkFamGraphic
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Charles C. Smiley published the only book ever devoted to the borough called “A True Story of Lawnside” in 1921. As a genealogist, he chronicled the emancipation story of his family’s originators and left a legacy of research.

During the virtual monthly meeting of the Lawnside Historical Society, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., a new generation of family historians will outline the story of Jimmy and Amey Smiley who left Virginia for freedom in New Jersey after being manumitted around 1840, one preserved by Charles Smiley. Reunions continued into the 21st century, often gathering at Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lawnside. The family has produced doctors, educators, clergy and at least two of the borough’s mayors.

Barbara Polk Riley, history buff, retired college librarian and avid book collector, will be joined by her daughter Karen Riley, web designer, documentary film producer and former obituary writer. Terron Simons, cousin, accountant and financial advisor, will urge younger generations to seek family stories like he did from his great-grandmother Rebecca Polk Scott and her siblings.

Register for the online program at:

Before the guest speakers, HistoryMoments @Lawnside Historical Society featuring churches will be presented at 7 p.m. by Visualizing the Past. People are asked to submit memories of worshiping in Lawnside via YouTube, Facebook, survey or email. The person with the best memory will receive a prize. Pre-register with the meeting link.

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