James SMITH, of La Prairie township, is a
worthy representative of that hardy race whose love for their
own land – “bonnie
The first to locate in this section of
The second family to locate here was that
of William SMITH, the father of James. His wife was Romina SCOT,
a sister of George SCOTT. They came to this locality in 1840
Some five years after the death of the father the family removed to the school section in La Prairie township, and together improved the farm on which James SMITH now resides. One by one they each went to farms of their own in due time. Andrew remained at home with his widowed mother and tenderly cared for her until her death, August 13, 1886, when nearly eighty years of age. He never married. His own death occurred September 25, 1890.
Andrew SMITH was an active and
thorough-going business man, attending strictly to his own
private affairs and never thrusting himself upon the attention
of others, but was always ready to aid with his influence and
means all projects for the material interests of his adopted
county and nation. In the establishment of the woolen mill at
Lacon he was an active participant, and together with Archibald
RIDDELL became the heaviest stockholders and served as a
director, retaining his interest in the manufactory until his
death. He was also one of the original stockholders in the Lacon
bank, and for years was one of its board of directors. As a
farmer, he ranked among the best in
James SMITH first saw the light of day in
Shortly after his marriage, Mr. SMITH secured one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 9, La Prairie township, for which he paid nine hundred dollars. To this farm he removed with his young bride, and there lived until just before the war, when he purchased a partially improved farm adjoining, of one hundred and sixty acres, for which he paid nine thousand dollars. Here they resided until 1892, when he removed to the old home of his brother Andrew, who had died two years previously.
Mr. SMITH still retains his farm on section 9, consisting of one half section, and also owns a quarter section on section 5, Steuben township, which he has rented. The old farm he personally superintends. Like his brother, James SMITH has been a successful farmer and wise manager, giving personal attention to every department of farm work. He was also one of the first stockholders in the woolen mill, and also in the bank at Lacon, and has been a director in each. The former has not been a very successful institution financially, but the latter has always paid reasonably well.
Mr. SMITH has not confined his attention
Mrs. SMITH, who was of excellent character,
a loving wife and mother, passed to her reward February 20,
1878, leaving a family of five children, three dying in early
childhood. The living are Fanny G., now the wife of Lewis
CALDER, who resides near the old home farm; Mina, wife of
Charles MONIER, a son of William MONIER, well known throughout
Marshall and adjoining counties; Mary B., Sarah, and Lucy, all
at home. The latter is a music teacher in
In politics, Mr. SMITH is a thorough and
uncompromising republican, and while caring nothing for the
honors of local office, has served at different periods for
several years as supervisor from his township. He has also
served in other local offices and represented his county in
various county conventions. A continuous resident for over
fifty-six years in
Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.
James SMITH is one of the venerable citizens of Marshall county, having attained the age of eighty-one years. He is, moreover, one of the most extensive landowners of the county, his possessions aggregating sixteen hundred acres. His extensive holdings are the visible evidence of a life of thrift and enterprise, for all that he possesses has come to him as the reward of his energy and perseverance. He was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, May 9, 1825. His father, William SMITH, was likewise a native of Dumfriesshire, and was married in that country to Miss Wilmina SCOTT, who was also born there. He came to the United States in 1840 and established a home in Steuben township, Marshall county, but afterward removed to Peoria county, where Mr. SMITH carried on general farming. He voted with the republican party, and died in 1843. His widow survived, and died in 1882 at the home of her son Andrew when she was eighty years of age. In the family were three sons and one daughter: William, now a retired farmer living in Sparland; James, of this review; Andrew, who was born in 1827 and died at the home of his brother James in 1891; and Mary, who married Robert TURNBULL, whose sketch is found elsewhere in this work.
Mr. SMITH, whose name introduces this record, spent the days of his youth in the land of hills and heather. He attended school there and in 1840, when a youth of fifteen years, accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world, his first home in this country being in Steuben township. He began farming on his own account in 1848, and throughout his entire life has carried on agricultural pursuits. The record of his business is one of ceaseless toil, carefully directed labor and of unfaltering enterprise. He started out empty-handed, having no capital nor influential friends to aid him, but he carefully saved his earnings and in due course of time made investment in property. He has since added to his holdings, until he is now the owner of eight hundred acres in Marshall county and over eight hundred acres in Vermilion county, thus gaining a place among the wealthy residents of this part of the state. He is now the only living original stockholder of the Lacon First National Bank, and is also a stockholder in several banks in different parts of the state.
In 1856 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. SMITH and Miss Lucy CANTERBERRY, who was born in the town of Rathdrum, in the county of Wicklow, Ireland, and who departed this life in 1878, leaving five children: Fannie, who is now the wife of Louis KELTER, a farmer of La Prairie township; Wilhelmina, the wife of Charlie MONIER, who is- also farming in La Prairie township; Mary B., at home: Sarah, the wife of Charles COLLINS, a farmer of La Prairie; Lucy, at home; Hettie and Alda, both deceased; and Willie, who died in infancy. Mrs. SMITH is a member of the Episcopal church.
Mr. SMITH is a republican who has given inflexible support to the principles of the party since its organization. He acted as supervisor during the war and several other times was elected to that office until he finally refused to serve any longer. He has also been road commissioner and school director for a number of terms. His life record may well serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished by determined purpose and unfaltering energy. It proves that success is not a matter of genius as held by many, nor does it depend upon fortunate circumstances and environments. It may be achieved through close application and unfaltering diligence and it has been upon that foundation that Mr. SMITH has built his prosperity until he is now one of the wealthiest residents of the entire county, his possessions being equaled by few, if any, of the inhabitants of this district. Moreover, in all his relations he has been honorable and upright and thus bears an untarnished name.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from
Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties