Barbara Schinster Smith, “Barbarry”

Mrs. Barbara Schinster Smith was a beloved member of the Rush community.  As a young woman, she worked and cared for the family of Morris Darrohn.  She was loved by the children in town and appreciated by mother’s and their families for all that she did to help so many.  Barbara was born in 1852 in Germany to Casper Schinster and Eve Elizabeth Shuart Schinster.  She immigrated with her family in 1860.

Mrs. Barbara Smith Dies at 83 in Girlhood Home Near Rush (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 13, 1934)

Rush, January 12, 1934 – (Special Dispatch) – Mrs. Barbara Smith, widow of a Civil War veteran and who for more than 40 years has been tending the graves of the score or more of her husband’s comrades buried in the little Rush Cemetery, was found dead in bed today at the home where she lived alone just outside this village.

Mrs. Smith, known and loved by everybody in Rush and vicinity, and called “Barbarry” by children and grown folks alike, would have been 83 years old next April 21st.

Always Had Flowers

The home where she died was the one to which she went to live as a girl.  Thrifty flowers were kept blossoming in the bay window on the side of the house and in the summer she had old-fashioned flowers in the yard.  On Sundays she went to the Methodist Church where she had been a member since she was 17 years old.

Years and years ago, Mrs. Smith had seen the boys of the village drop their work and drift off to Rochester, Honeoye Falls and other places to “join up with the army” at the call of President Lincoln.  Some of them had been her playmates since she arrived in Rush with her immigrant parents from Germany.

Husband Answered Call

Her husband, John A. Smith, of the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Col. Patrick H. O’Rorke was among those who came back.  And until his death in September 1922, he had helped his wife keep the graves of those who had died, properly marked with flags and decorated with flowers each Memorial Day.

“This place is filled with the people I once knew, for I once did know practically every one who lies in this graveyard,” Mrs. Smith once said as she looked around the cemetery here.  “There, over there, are buried my mother, father, brothers, sister and grandparents.”

When her father’s family first came from Germany, they lived for three years in what is known as “The Cedar Swamps” on the outskirts of Rush.  Then they moved to the place where Mrs. Smith died today.

Rush Historical Society
5977 East Henrietta Road
Rush, NY 14543
Phone: (585) 533-1312