You are here

Founder

Born to John Taylor Smith and Mrs. Elizabeth McCutchen Smith in the early hours of December 23, 1892 at North Little Rock, Arkansas was a daughter Hildegarde Web Smith. It gave her great pleasure that her father awakened the three older children (much to the consternation of the grown ones attending the birth) in order that they might view their little sister. From that time on she was known as "Sugar" or "Shug" for short.

Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Izard County, Arkansas where the Smith family and other relatives lived on the family farm. They found the land to be very poor, and after a few years, they realized they would have to find better land to farm. They moved from the hill country of Izard County to the delta of Greene County, Arkansas, where they remained until the children were practically grown. The family was poor for lack of money, but rich mentally and in spiritually blessing. When it became necessary for the children to find work, the family moved back to Little Rock.

Hildegarde worked for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and had many promotions. She was interested in music and took piano lessons. Her teacher encouraged her to pursue her studies further, but for lack of funds she had to wait a little longer to do this. In 1920 the opportunity came. She moved to New York, worked for the telephone company, and enrolled in Columbia University.

She was not a brilliant performer, but she loved mucis so much that she wanted it for a career and that is when she decided to teach. She transferred to the American Conservatory in Chicago and received her degree as a music teacher.

In 1926, she moved back to Little Rock and opened up her own studio, teaching preschool children in her musical kindergarten in the morning and older children in the afternoons. This was her life's work.

She was an ardent worker in the Little Rock Musical Coterie and served the organization as president at one time. This was affiliated with he National Federation of Music Clubs. She served on the Board of NFMC for many years and was acquainted with many of the young artists whom she helped to promote. They all hold fond memories of her. In April 1974 she received a citation from the Arkansas Federation of Music Clubs for 45 years of service to the Federation.

While music was her career, she did not let it usurp all of her time and energy. She was a devoted member of the First United Methodist Church and a loyal participant in all the Church's activities. She very seldom missed the Sunday morning worship hour, and taught in the children's department for many years.

Hildegarde was interested in civic affairs and served as the President of the Federation of Women's Club., She was a member of the Centennial Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving also as president and national board member of the organization, and was a member of the Samuel Cherry Chapter of the Daughter of American Colonists.

She enjoyed hearing her mother tell of the McCutchen History. She made many trips along with other members of the family to the old homesteads and visited the McCutchen Families. Everywhere she went, she would lookup the McCutchen name in telephone directories and then would contact them when she got home. This was really how she got started on McCutcheon genealogy. She received so much information that she saw the necessity of putting it in print. It took her approximately 20 years to gather this information which is now preserved in two volumes of The McCutchen Trace.

She thoroughly enjoyed the trips she made to Scotland, Ireland, England, Russia, and other countries. She loved life immensely.

Hildegarde was devoted to her family She loved her two brothers dearly, but the love she had for her sisters outshown all her other loves Those who had the opportunity to visit the Smith Family Home maintained in Little Rock over a long period left with the knowledge that it was indeed a home of much happiness and love.

Her interest in the McCutchen family continued to the last. She attended several gatherings of various branches of the family in different parts of the country. In 1973 she worked toward the national gathering of the Clan and this effort culminated in the McCutchen Family Reunion at Franklin, Tennessee. It was with great anticipation that she assisted with the preparations and looked forward to attending the 1975 reunion at Staunton, Virginia. However, this was not to be, and it remained for others to carry on with the thankfulness for the life of this person.

At the age of 81, Hildegarde Smith departed this life at Little Rock, Arkansas May 29, 1974 and was interred at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.

Submitted By: Harmon L. Ross

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer