| The chain is made of wrought iron (i.e. crafted by hand rather than having been cast) and consists of only ten ring links and a hook on the end. The rings are each, more or less, 3-1/2" in length and 2-1/2" in width. They are roughly 3/4" in thickness. The hook measures approximately 5" in length and 3" in 'width'. The entire chain is only 26" in length. Whether this chain was longer to begin with, or if it was made this exact size for use in a particular application is not known.
When I was young (pre-teens), my paternal grandfather, Eldon Smith (Pap), gave me a number of antiques. I remember seeing this chain hanging in Pap's shed. He told me that it was "the Smiths' chain". I didn't think anything about it at the time, but many years later, when I was researching my genealogy, Pap's words came back to me. I was working at writing a history of the property homesteaded on by the progenitors of our Smith line - Jacob Sr., and Rosana Schmitt. They moved into the Bedford County region in the year 1774 and appeared on the tax assessment return for 1775. It would be nearly ten years before any other families took of residence in the vicinity of the Schmitt homestead (which would eventually become known as the Smith Corner). The Schmitts had to be somewhat self-sufficient to survive in the frontier of Bedford County. The family constructed a cider press on the property, and the youngest son took up the profession of cooper. And one of the out-buildings that the Schmitts came to build on their farmstead was a small blacksmith shop with a furnace, where they could create the iron objects they needed to keep their farm going. After having done my research and finding that the Schmitt family had a small blacksmith shop, the words of my grandfather came back to me that this chain was "the Smith's chain". I now feel that he was not telling me that it was a chain that the Smith family owned, but rather that it was one that the Schmitt family made. It seems odd to me that this two-foot long piece of chain would have been handed down through the Smith family if it did not have some significance to the family.