Anna Clift Smith (Feb. 22, 1878 - Aug. 17, 1946) was an artist, landscaper, and adventurer who lived in northern Chautauqua County in the early twentieth century. A single woman living alone, she is described as both “a striking, remarkable, and admirable presence” and “odd, reclusive, unattractive, and eccentric.” A popular story depicts her in a successful shootout against bootleggers, but she was really a private person “devoted to her friends, to animals, and to her simple life.” Living in Van Buren Point during the year 1905, she left a journal notable for its observations on local life and the natural world.
“Anna Smith had traveled through much of the United States with her family, who possessed a constant desire to explore various sections of the country. Her answer to her search for a restful and secure place to live was right here on Lake Erie. She had sought such a Paradise on the west coast, riding hundreds of miles on horseback, but felt the ocean was too expensive, too absorbing to give her real comfort.”
— Elizabeth Crocker, quoted in preface to Anna Clift Smith's Van Buren Life, p. 24.
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