The following is a “good news” story from Margaret Anne Emory of the Lincoln Parish Museum. Ms. Emory states, “I hope you will bring your children and grandchildren to see this display. I hope you will talk to your children about our past and make them proud to be an American and proud to live in Lincoln Parish.”
This is an interesting Lincoln Parish/Texas story. This family is related to the person who designed and formed Lincoln Parish in 1873.
Mr. Allen Greene took the corners of Claiborne,Bienville, Jackson, and Union parishes and made Lincoln Parish. Yes, Mrs. Vernon Nolan
Smith is a great great niece of Mr. Allen Greene.
Mrs. Vernon Smith, Hazel Nolan Smith, to those who know her well, was born in Hodge to Jim and Julia Nolan in 1921. When Hazel Nolan
was eleven years old her mother died, and she was raised by her aunt, Annie Mae Deloney. Annie Mae came to Hodge and lived and took
care of the children. After a few years the entire family moved to the farm in the Greenwood Community. The year was 1934 and the farm
belonged to Mr. Tom Nolan. Mr. Nolan was the grandfather, and he wanted all the family to come and stay with him. He was willing to help
them in any way he could.
At this time Hazel was ready for high school. She graduated from Ruston High School in 1938, and then went to Louisiana Tech and
graduated in Home Economics. She went on to teach in the Evergreen School and she taught elementary through high school. Hazel shared
a room with another teacher in this community and this lady kept talking about the WACS. When school was out, Hazel joined the WACS
and went to Massachusetts for special training. She was cooking for hundreds of women during this time in her life, and then she was sent to
Daytona Beach in Florida. This turned out to be a wonderful assignment because she could swim and enjoy the beach. New Orleans was
next and she was sent to Camp Plache. Here she set up the kitchen to serve 200-250 people. Her degree in Home Economics came in quite
handy because she could use many of the skills she learned in her classes at Louisiana Tech.
After working long hours in this assignment, she asked if she could pursue another career. She was sent to Denver, Colorado, to study physical therapy at Fitzsimmons General Hospital. The course was nine months, and she had teachers coming in from all over the United
States to teach these classes. She learned many great techniques that would prove to be very valuable as she changed directions in her
career. The war was over, but the need to help these wounded soldiers was greater than ever.
Hazel was commissioned as a second lieutenant and sent to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and then to Atlanta, Georgia. There were wards of spinal
cord injuries and amputees who needed special attention and physical therapy. Hazel was there to give hope to all the soldiers she treated, and she loved her job. She enjoyed this profession so much that after the service she applied for a job with several hospitals in the area. She was offered a job at the VA Hospital in New Orleans, but she chose the VA Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. She stayed there four years and then she moved to the VA Hospital in Shreveport. She met Vernon Smith while working in Shreveport.
Vernon went to a junior college in Marshall, Texas, and then stayed in the army for 5 years. He was stationed in the South Pacific, and then he went back to Hugh Springs, Texas. He had a farming accident, and he injured his hand. He went to the doctor in Texarkana, Texas, and they sent him to the VA Hospital in Shreveport for therapy. Vernon Smith was her patient and they fell in love. He always teased her and told her she got paid for holding his hand.
She and Vernon Smith lived in Shreveport until 2006. It was during this time that he started his woodworking hobby. He built chairs
and furniture and toys and anything else he could think of out of wood. He also built and carved old cars, and this is the collection that
Hazel Smith has donated to the Lincoln Parish Museum for you to see and enjoy. This is a collection of 21 cars and one wagon that you
will just love looking at.
As I visited with Hazel Smith, I looked through some of her many scrapbooks. There was one picture that really caught my eye. This picture showed her aunt, Annie Mae Deloney, donating a spinning wheel that was over 100 years old to the Lincoln Parish Museum. This spinning wheel was a wedding gift to Mrs. Delony’s mother. The article mentioned the fact that Mrs. Deloney’s mother was a niece of Lincoln Parish founder, Allen Greene.
I hope you can tell as I write this article how much I appreciate our citizens. We have a history that needs to be preserved. We are very
fortunate to live in such a wonderful parish.
Thank you, Hazel Nolan Smith, for sharing your story with us. Thank you for serving in World War II. I know this was not an easy
task. I know this took courage and strength for a young woman during that time in history. Thank you for giving the Lincoln Parish Museum this collection of old cars and wagons called “Transportation of Yesteryear”.
We are just keeping the memories for you.