And then came the feud….
It started in 1869 and no one has pinpointed the origin – the cause is still under investigation by local historians as well as the AVAST. By this time most of the good folks of the area used the abbreviated versions of their trade as their name: Smith or Wright. In fact, some even changed from their family name to identify more closely with who and what they were.
The townspeople lived separate lives: Smiths and Wrights didn’t socialize, speak, court or marry. In fact it was two towns: Smithville and Wright Station.
Of course where there are feuds there will also be love – and one spring a Smith fell in love with a Wright.
Penelope Smith had taken lunch to her father and brothers at their blacksmith shop. She walked home along the shore of Lake Lottawatta, enjoying the cool breezes of late spring as they danced across the water. It was then she heard the laughter and singing coming from the boatwright’s shop. Penelope tiptoed to the window and stepped up on an overturned bucket to peer into the shop. Inside, four Wright brothers and their father worked on a small fishing boat. And then, as in all forbidden love stories, Penelope slipped, fell off the bucket and tumbled into the dirt. As the Wright men rushed from the shop, throwing out accusations of spying, Penelope was terrified. Taken with the tenacity of the young Smith, young Thomas Wright stepped forward, saying such accusations were unfounded.
Penelope looked up and saw not only a rugged, attractive young man, but also a ray of hope. Thomas walked her home to ensure her safety. The Legend of the Love leads us to believe that it was on this walk that Penelope and Thomas fell in love. Upon arriving at her home, Thomas was greeted by a plethora of weapons aimed in his direction. Penelope’s mother and sisters were used to holding their own and were ready, willing, and able to defend and protect themselves and Penelope from a brutal Wright.
But just as Thomas had rescued Penelope from the hatred of his brothers and father, she also rescued him from her family. She assured them that Thomas only meant to see her home safely. He was allowed to leave unharmed.
Although forbidden by their families to see each other again, young Penelope and Thomas could not stay away from each other. With each walk, each touch, each caress their love grew stronger. As forbidden relationships often do, the love affair of Penelope Smith and Thomas Wright did not end well. This story, too, is somewhat of a mystery. One that local historians hope to someday uncover.
Yet even with tragedy befalling the families, the feud did not end….