Calhoun County

1891 Biography - William Smith

WILLIAM H. SMITH. It was a maxim of Ignatius Loyola that "He who does well one work at a time, does more than all." The success which has met the efforts of our subject is due to his unceasing industry in the direction of his chosen life work, that of agriculture. Early left an orphan and compelled to make his own way in the world against adverse circumstances, he battled and conquered the obstacles confronting him, and now merits and receives due praise as a pioneer of Calhoun County and a valued citizen thereof. He has a pleasant home, a view of which with its rural surroundings may be found elsewhere in this volume.

A native of Lincoln County. Mo., Mr. Smith was born December 20, 1828, and was only six years old when death robbed him of his father's care and protection. After that sad event the family continued to reside in Lincoln County until 1843, when they removed to Calhoun County and became pioneers of this section of country. Our subject passed his boyhood and youth in the usual manner of boys on the frontier, receiving only limited educational advantages and becoming thoroughly acquainted with agricultural pursuits. In connection with his brothers he worked on the home farm. In 1846 he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Criswell, a native of Illinois. This estimable lady passed from the busy scenes of earth in 1870.

The first marriage of our subject resulted in the birth of seven children, namely: David A., James A., Mary, Sarah, William S., Eliza, and Richard L. Mr. Smith was again married in 1871, when Mrs. Martha (Russell) Branham became his wife. By her former marriage Mrs. Smith had four children, two of whom are deceased; the others are — Delilah, who married John Baird and lives in Missouri, and Elizabeth, who became the wife of William S. Smith and resides in Batchtown. Politically, our subject is a stanch Democrat. The family attend the Metliodist Episcopal Church of which they are consistent members, and move in the highest circles of society, and wherever they go their refinement and many noble personal virtues win them warm and firm friends.

The subject of this sketch is one of those who have achieved success for themselves without, assistance from others. When he purchased his present estate it was covered with heavy timber and brush, but at the present time it is highly cultivated and improved, he follows the most modern methods of farming and keeps posted on whatever will assist him in his work. He first built a number of log cabins and proceeded immediately to clear up the land, an undertaking that required both courage and energy and in which he was remarkably successful. He now owns and operates one of the best farms in Richwoods Precinct and is known throughout the entire extent of Calhoun County as an honest and industrious man.

The father of our subject, Andrew Smith, was born in Kentucky whence he removed to Missouri and became one of the pioneers of Lincoln County. He bought a tract of Government land containing six hundred and forty acres and laid out a town which he called Alexandria and which was the county seat for a number of years. After residing there several years he removed to Warsaw, Ill., where he died about 1834. His wife was Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. Riggs; the latter was born in North Carolina, was numbered among the early settlers of Kentucky, and later removed to Lincoln County, Mo., where he died. The mother of our subject survived her husband many years, dying in Calhoun County in 1851.

Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 491-492

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