(Transcribed from THE GUNTERSVILLE DEMOCRAT, January 15, 1903, Guntersville, Alabama)
The handsome residence of Mrs. E. P. Alford lies in ashes.
It was after eleven o’clock Tuesday night when the omnipresent and indispensable Mr. Arendell discovered smoke issuing from the southwest corner of the house, as he was returning home from Wyeth City. Judge Ayres and family were quickly aroused; by that time Mr. Earnest Woolley, passing the residence of Mr. O. D. Street, saw flames bursting from the house and the alarm was immediately given by the church bells and whistles.
In a few moments Guntersville poured out en masse, and many willing hands removed the furniture from the slowly burning house.
The fire must have originated in the flue of the room over the kitchen, but the first evidences of it were discovered in the corner of the room, above the ceiling. The night being very still, and the house magnificently built, plastured, and roofed with tin, caused the flames to be long in consummating their terrible work.
Mrs. Alford, who is staying at present with her daughter, Mrs. E. D. Moss, was not apprised of her loss until the following morning.
Nearly everything in the house was saved, though much of it in a badly damaged condition. The residence was insured for $1500, a small return for so valuable a house.
Mark Smith (1778-1861) was born in South Carolina and died in Perry County, Alabama. Mark was one of some early pioneers from Newberry, South Carolina who settled in Brush Creek area of Perry County, Alabama early in the history of the state. Many of the families intermingled through marriages. For more information about the family, connections see A Collection of Perry County, Alabama Pioneers, Volume II.Some of Mark’s descendants moved further west. Many settled in Oktibbeha, Mississippi and Webster County, Mississipi while others traveled on to Texas. But a few descendants remained in Alabama and were listed in the Hale County as well as Perry County census records.Some of the descendant surnames included: ALLEN, ATWELL, BINGHAM, BOYD, BOYETT, CANNON, CLEGG, COLE, COOK, ELLIOTT, FERGUSON, GRIFFIN, HARDY, HENRY, HODGES, HOLLAND, HORNE, JAMISON, MCBRIDE, MCFARLAND, MILLER, PAYNE, PERKINS, RICHARDSON, SHAFFER, SHAFER, SIMMS, SNIDER, STARNES, SUGGS, TERRY, TIDMORE, WEAVER, WOOTEN, WHARRY, WHORRY