This gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian house was built in 1906 by Judge Lemuel Augustus Smith Sr. (1878-1950). Judge Smith was the grandson of General Absolom M. West (1818-1894), who owned the nearby Clapp-West House (now known as Athenia). General West’s daughter, Caroline West Smith (1858-1921), married Lemuel Augustus Smith (1854-1878), who tragically died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 at the age of 24, leaving behind his widow and infant son.
As a young man, Judge Smith Sr. married Emma Robertson Smith (1879-1965) and built this house right next door to his grandfather’s family home. The house is a kit, or catalog house, and was ordered from one of the many kit house manufacturers and then shipped to Holly Springs by train. The most famous manufacturer of such kit houses was the Sears Roebuck Company, though there is no evidence that the Smith-Ward House is a Sears house.
Judge Smith would go on to become an accomplished attorney, eventually rising to the level of Associate Judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Judge Smith Sr. died in 1950. The Judge’s judicial accomplishments were outdone by his son, Judge Lemuel Augustus Smith Jr. (1904-2001), who would follow his father into the practice of law and onto the bench of the Mississippi Supreme Court, serving there from 1965 until 1982, and as Chief Justice from 1977 until 1982. Judge Smith Jr. married Chesley Thorne Smith (1910-2012), who was instrumental in recording much of the history of early 20th century Holly Springs through her writings and her photography. Both Judge Smith Jr. and his wife Chesley lived long, productive lives.
The Smith family owned this house for nearly 60 years, before selling it to Frank Hopkins Jr. (1927-2012) and his wife Helen B. Hopkins in 1965. The Hopkins owned the house until 1982, when they sold it to John R. Ward (1929-2016) and his wife Edrie C. Ward (1928-2019), who lived in the house for nearly 40 years. The Wards were known for their elaborate Halloween and Christmas decorations that delighted the town for many years. Today, the Ward family continues to live in the home.
The Smith-Ward House is a two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne Victorian, with a multi-gable hip-roof with elaborate stickwork on the facade and a two-bay porch with a conical-roof gazebo and semi-circular stickwork. The Smith-Ward House was designed by noted Victorian architect George Barber, and remains the best example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture in Holly Springs.