One of the problems with taking a look at the past is that some questions will never be answered. It is frustrating when you come to the conclusion that you will never know the ultimate outcome of an event or how individuals went on to either live their lives or drop off the face of history.
In the preceding poem, I was always struck by the hanging question of what happened to Wil Smith’s young sister. She disappears from New Mexico records and not knowing her name is nearly impossible to trace. Did Bob Faulkner feel any responsibility for her situation? Based on the content of the poem, this question remains unanswered. In 1910, the Faulkner family is living nearby in Hope, New Mexico, but without the young Smith girl. It did not look like I would never find out what happened to her or her brother.
However, since the posting of my website, I was approached by Larry Smith, a relative of the Smith family. He relates: “In the Carlsbad Current-Argus newspaper story…there is mention of a brother, age eighteen, who was also in Dayton, New Mexico at the time. This would have most likely been John Thomas Smith. The article also relates that Will Smith was insistent, as he lay dying, that the accidental shooter take care of Will’s sister. The only way this makes any sense would be if she were to also have been in Dayton during this unfortunate event. This sister must have been Lydia Mabel Smith, who was only seventeen at the time, thus warranting Will’s concern.
Lydia was born in 1890. She was the daughter of George Smith and Melinda Goatcher. She passed away in 1974. Lydia was living with her older brother Will Smith in Dayton, Eddy County, New Mexico territory in mid-March of 1907 when her brother was accidentally shot and killed. As he lay dying, Will Smith insisted that his slayer, Bob Faulkner, make sure his sister was taken care of. It seems he or John got her home safely, since we see in the records that she married Wylie Austin in Lawrence County, Arkansas on 26 Mar 1907.”
We will never know with any certainty whether or not Bob Faulkner saw that the two younger siblings got back to Arkansas safely, but in light of the event, I hope so.