Marshall County

SMITH, William

William SMITH, who resides upon section 10, La Prairie township, has been a citizen of Marshall county since 1840, a period of fifty-six years. He is a native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, born May 4, 1823, and is a son of William and Wilhelmina (SCOTT) SMITH, both of whom are also natives of Scotland. (For matters of family record see sketch of James SMITH, elsewhere in this volume.)

Our subject came to this country with the family, and in partnership with his brothers, helped improve the farm upon section 16, now owned by James SMITH. He then improved a farm in Saratoga township, where he remained until February 15, 1870, when he removed to his present farm, which he secured from his wife’s people. Soon after he traded his Saratoga farm for one hundred and sixty acres adjoining and still later added the Bell farm of one hundred and sixty acres. Each of these farms were improved, but he has added much in the way of barns and outbuildings, making them equal to any farms in the township with respect to improvements.

Mr. SMITH has engaged in general or mixed farming, raising vast quantities of grain, much of which he has fed to his stock, and what was not required for that purpose disposing of in the general market. He usually feeds a large number of hogs and some cattle, and has engaged more or less in breeding a fine grade of horses, both draft and roadsters. With his brothers, he invested somewhat extensively in the woolen mills at Lacon and was one of the original stockholders in the bank at that place. He has, however, disposed of all his stock in both institutions, and of late years has given his attention almost exclusively to his farming interests.

In politics Mr. SMITH has been a republican since the organization of the party, and formerly was quite active in political affairs, attending conventions and assisting with his influence and means in perfecting party organization and discipline. While never in reality caring for the honors or emoluments of public office, for almost his entire life he has served his fellow-citizens in some official capacity. For about twenty years in Saratoga and La Prairie townships he served as justice of the peace to the satisfaction of all concerned. For some years he was supervisor and road commissioner in Saratoga township, and also school trustee. He was the first township clerk of La Prairie township, and was also township assessor in the early days of the township organization.

Religiously, Mr. SMITH is a Presbyterian, and was one of the first and is now the only surviving member of the organization perfected at the home of George SCOTT, early in the 50’s. He has ever been a communicant of that church, and one of the trustees of the church in La Prairie township. His interest in the organization has always been maintained and his faith in the Christian religion has never wavered.

On the 18th of February, 1859, Mr. SMITH was united in marriage with Miss Ottilia FOSTBINDER, of German ancestry, and birth, and a sister of Charles FOSTBINDER, of Wenona. Eight children came to bless their union: Mary, Christina, William, Charles, Lottie, Minnie, James and Robert. Of this number, Mary wedded William RIDDELL, of Sparland, who is engaged in the grain business at that place; Christina is the wife of Frank MARSHALL, a farmer of La Prairie township; William is a veterinary surgeon; Lottie is the wife of Estep DUNCAN, of Sparland, and Minnie is the wife of Wilbur ROOT, of La Prairie township. The sons all remain under the parental roof. No family in La Prairie township is held in higher esteem than that of William SMITH, the subject of this sketch.

Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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