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January 11, 1994: Author Agnes Smith Dies in Fairmont

Illustration for An Edge of the Forest
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia
Jan Sharkey Thomas

Author Agnes Clifford Smith died in Fairmont on January 11, 1994, at age 87. She spent her childhood in Clarksburg and Charleston before going to a private academy in New York State. She returned to West Virginia and graduated from Fairmont State College (now University) with an English degree. She married Richard Bruce Parrish, who, for many years, was editor of Fairmont’s afternoon newspaper, The West Virginian. For more than 50 years, the couple lived near Worthington, cultivating hay, oats, and other grains. During World War II, Smith ran the farm herself while her husband served in the army.

Agnes Smith became active in Fairmont’s Little Theatre and published the book An Edge of the Forest in 1959. This allegory tells the story of a black lamb separated from its flock and thrust into danger but ultimately saved by a black leopardess. An Edge of the Forest won a children’s book award from the American Library Association.

She went on to publish another children’s book, The Bluegreen Tree, and a collection of essays titled Speaking as a Writer. Agnes Smith was also an accomplished sculptor, potter, and woodcarver.

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