JOHN J. SMITH, proprietor and editor of the Calhoun Pilot, was ushered into this world at Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio, on the 10th of October, 1845. His father, Joseph Smith, was born in Virginia. He learned the carpenter’s trade but did not follow it, turning his attention to, farming instead. In 1849 he moved to Illinois, settling at Mt. Auburn, Christian County, and bought a tract of wild land. He devoted his time to the clearing and cultivating of his estate and died on his farm in 1856 at the early age of thirty-one. He married Miss Fancy Warwick, who was also born in Virginia. Her father, Beverly Warwick, was born in England and was a lineal descendant of the noted Warwick family. In that country he passed the years intervening between infancy and manhood's estate. After his marriage he came to America with his family, settling first in Virginia, next in Ross County, Ohio, where he bought a tract of land, and where he died.
Our subject's mother died in 1853 at the age of twenty-eight, leaving three children, viz: Lewis N., who lives at Mt. Auburn, Ill.; John J., our subject and Nancy E., who married Jesse Emmet and resides in Colorado. His grandfather, Thomas Smith was, it is believed, born in England. He moved from Virginia to Ohio about the year 1833, locating near Chillicothe. He farmed there and at that place his death occurred.
Mr. Smith being left an orphan at an early age, was compelled to take care of himself and fight his own way through life. As soon as he reached his tenth year he was employed in the office of the Magnet in Decatur, Ill. He was afterward employed in various offices up to the time of the Civil War. He enlisted at the first call for troops, but because of his youth was not mustered into service until the fall of 1861. He enlisted in Company B, Forty-first Illinois Infantry, and served with the same company and regiment in all their battles and campaigns up to the close of the war. His regiment was discharged in 1865, and in March of the following year, Mr. Smith commenced the publication of the Bement Courier at Bement, Piatt County, but after one year sold out his interest and went to Mann County where he started the Mann Tribune. He next moved to Breckenridge, Mo. and commenced the Breckenridge Journal. He afterward moved to Illinois having charge of various papers through different parts of the State as the years passed on, and in 1880 started the Calhoun Pilot at Batchtown, and has made it one of the brightest and most acceptable sheets in Calhoun county.
The subject of our sketch was married in 1866 to Miss Agnes Perkins, a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Soward) Perkins, and a native of Georgetown, Kentucky. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Smith has been blessed with two children, viz: Edward M. and Nelson R.
Mr. Smith is a stanch Republican having under all circumstances been devoted to the interests of that party. He commenced his editorial career as a writer at the age of fifteen, and is besides a journalist, a writer of fiction and also of poetry. His genius is widely recognized and his paper is certainly a pilot for those wishing to avoid the goals of ignorance in the sea of life.
Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 678-679
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