Author Agnes Clifford Smith (October 18, 1906-January 11, 1994) was born in Clarksburg. She spent her childhood in Clarksburg and Charleston and finished high school at the Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood, New York. She graduated from Fairmont State College (now University) with a degree in English. In 1936, Smith married Fairmont native Richard Bruce Parrish, who for many years was editor of the city’s afternoon newspaper, The West Virginian. The couple made their home at the Parrish homestead near Worthington for more than 50 years, cultivating hay, oats, and other grains. Smith ran the farm herself while her husband served in the army during World War II.
By the age of 18, Smith had decided to devote herself to the arts, especially writing. Following graduation from college, she became active in Fairmont’s Little Theatre, while pursuing her interest in writing and ceramics. Her major work, An Edge of the Forest, was published by Viking Press in 1959. An allegory, the book is the story of a black lamb separated from its flock and thrust into grave danger but ultimately saved by a black leopardess. An Edge of the Forest won the Aurianne Award of the American Library Association, a children’s book award.
Smith went on to publish two additional works, The Bluegreen Tree, also a children’s book, and a collection of essays titled Speaking as a Writer. She was also an accomplished sculptor, potter, and wood carver. Agnes Smith died in Fairmont.
This Article was written by Eleanor Mahoney
Last Revised on October 29, 2010