Calhoun County

1891 Biography - SARAH J. SMITH

MRS. SARAH J. (HOWELL) SMITH. Among the native-born citizens of Calhoun County none are more deserving of representation in a work of this nature than Mrs. Smith, whose birthplace was in Belleview Precinct. Her father, it is thought was a native of Missouri. His father, John Howell, was a Virginian, residing in the earlier part of his life near Richmond. He was there married, and removed to Missouri at an early day in the settlement of that Territory, coming from there to what is now Calhoun County, in the '20s. He located in what is now Belleview Precinct, and on the line of Pike County, being one of the pioneers of that section of country. He bought a "squatter's" claim, and entered a tract of Government land which he cleared and improved into a farm. Although residing on several different places, he remained in the same precinct until his death at eighty-eight years of age.

William Howell, the father of Mrs. Smith, came to Calhoun County when a young man, but returned to Missouri for a wife, being married in Cape Girardeau County, to Elizabeth Bailey, a native of that State. Coming again to Illinois, he bought a tract of land in Belleview Precinct which was part prairie and part timber, and built the log house in which our subject was born. He engaged in the mercantile business keeping a general store for a few years, then resumed farming, and remained a resident of the same precinct until his death which occurred in 1852. His wife, the mother of our subject, died in 1845. Mrs. Smith was the eldest of their family of six children, the others, being — Julia Ann, Lovina Caroline, John, William H. H., and Mary Ann. Of these Mrs. Smith, Caroline, and Mary are all that survive.

In those early days the cooking was all done at the open fireplace, and the mother of the household spun and wove the material for the clothes of her family. There were no outside amusements, and but scant tidings of the doings of the busy world reached the cabins of the pioneers, but as a compensation they were not troubled about the changes in fashion, or the isms and ologies which now vex the spirits of their descendants.

Upon being weaned from her mother's breast, Mrs. Smith, who was a mere infant, was taken by her paternal grandparents with whom she remained until her marriage, at the age of sixteen years, to Wallace Joslyn. Mr. Josyln was the son of John P. and Sarah Joslyn, who were pioneers of Calhoun County, where he was reared on a farm. After his marriage he went to Missouri, and soon returned and settled upon land which had been given his wife by her grandfather. In 1852 Mr. Joslyn followed the tide of emigration which was flowing toward the gold fields of California, taking a drove of cattle across the plains. In that period of rough and dangerous travel, many a man was lost sight of forever, and such proved to be the case with Mr. Joslyn, who never returned from his perilous journey.

In 1859 the subject of this sketch was married to Augustus Smith. Mr. Smith was born in Hardin Precinct, Calhoun County, in 1828, and was the seventh son of Ebenezer and Pollie Smith, who were among the early settlers here. He inherited the home farm and spent his entire life here, passing away in February 1888. He was an industrious thrifty man, who was highly respected by all who knew him. The farm which Mrs. Smith still occupies and manages with much skill, comprises one hundred and forty acres of good land well-improved. Mrs. Smith is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as was her husband.

By her first marriage, Mrs. Smith became the mother of two children, one living: Sarah Elizabeth, the wife of C. W. Squier, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Smith was also twice married, one son, Andrew J., being the result of his first marriage. He married Mrs. Sophronia Naren, and died in Bachtown in 1882.

Extracted 08 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 232-235.

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