Reading At Heritage Center Will Feature Smithfield Native Barbara Baker Elliott

Smithfield native Barbara Baker Elliott, author of The Accidental Mountaineer, will read selections from the book this Saturday, May 4th, at 11 a.m. at the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield.

Elliott is a member of the Smithfield High School class of 1969, the last class to graduate before the schools were consolidated. She is the daughter of Eva and the late Kenneth Baker, who owned Underwood Funeral Home and served as Smithfield’s mayor in the 1980s. The reading is being held in conjunction with the class’s 50th reunion and as part of Ham and Ham Festival activities.

The humorous essays in the book first appeared in Elliott’s column in the Greenbrier Valley Quarterly, a magazine published in Lewisburg, W.Va. Each essay is illustrated by a whimsical drawing by Sally Cooper. Elliott has been writing the column and feature articles for the magazine for more than a decade.

Elliott moved to the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia in 1992. The book includes tales of her perversely happy childhood as a UK (Undertaker’s Kid) and some of the more peculiar aspects of her life after it took its unexpected detour to West Virginia.

Elliott describes the essays as “generally about nothing in particular.” For the Smithfield reading, she will focus on tales of growing up in Smithfield, some glimpses into her long and strange career in public relations, and life in a fixer-upper farmhouse with her űber camper husband, David.

The book will be available for purchase following the reading, with profits benefiting the class reunion. It also can be purchased online at, or on