From History of Jefferson County, Illinois, FHL film 0825579, page
108. Printed 1883
Biographical sketch of Benjamin Smith:
Benjamin SMITH, farmer, PO spring Garden, is a
great-grandson of Abraham and Joanna Smith, who settled in North Carolina.
They had the following children born to them in Tyrrell County, that State,
viz.: Ann, born February 6, 177l; Joanna, January 23, 1774; Isaac, January
19, 1779; Ananias, December 17, 1780; Zilpha, April 10, 1782; Euphemia,
November 1, 1783; Loef, March 2, 1789; Azilla, October 4, 1792; and Jose,
February 12, 1797. The third child of this family, Isaac, was the grandfather
of our subject. This child grew to manhood in North Carolina, and there married
Millie Hassle. The twain came to Tennessee and settled in Hickman County,
where unto them were born nine children among them Anderson, the father
of our subject, who was born February 6, 1811 and Jesse H., whose sketch appears
elsewhere in this work. Isaac came to this county with his family about
1829,and settled in Spring Garden Township, near where the subject now resides,
where he died about 1850. The father of our subject grew to manhood in this country
and married a Miss Elizabeth Hopper, who was born in Middle Tennessee January 18, 1811.
She was a daughter of Thomas Hopper, who came to this county in a very early
day, probably about 1820. The parents of our subject also settled near
where the latter now resides, and there subject was born August 29, 1838. The
parents lived in this county until a ripe old age. The mother peacefully passed
away March 22, 1870, and the father, who for fifteen years before his death
had been Deacon of the Spring Garden Baptist Church, died May 3, 1872.
Our subject attended both the subscription and free schools of this county
until about twenty-one and then worked at home about one year and then
located on his present farm, a piece of land that had been entered by his father,
and of whom our subject afterward purchased it. He now owns about 400 acres
in Sections 1,2,3, and 12, of Township 4, Range 3 east; has about 240 under
cultivation and thirty in orchard.
Mr. Smith was married January 24, 1860, to Elizabeth Shirley, a daughter
of Russell and Jinca (Allan) Shirley. The father was a native of Hamilton
County, Ill., and the mother of Macon County, North Carolina. The result
of this union has been twelve children, of whom nine are living - Isaac
N., born February 6, 1862; George H., May 19, 1863; Seth T., June 7, 1865;
Charles E., March 13, 1869; Judson A., April 6, 1871; Ellis Lee, April 28, 1877;
Ollie J., February 17, 1873; Ornie, September 26, 1879; Rado, December 19, 1881.
Of the deceased children, William D. was born September 14, 1860 and
died September 14, 1867; Mary F., born May 2, 1867, died December 3, 1869;
and an infant born April 28, 1877, and died May 5 of the same year.
Our subject has been a member of the County Board of Supervisors, also
served as Road Commissioner, School Director, etc. Is a member of Ham's Grove
Lodge, No. 405, I.O.O.F., has served in the different offices of that organization,
and is now Past Grand; has also been representative two years at the Grand
Lodge. In politics, Mr. Smith is a Greenbacker.
Submitted By Suzanne Paxton
April 22, 1999
There are few things in life that inspire more general interest than does a sketch
of a successful business man, who by achieving fortune himself, gives an example
to those trying to climb the ladder of fame, and thus encourages them to hope for
similar successes. Mr. Smith is a man of decided ability, and is generally conceded
to rank among the first agriculturists of Jefferson County. He has spent his entire
life in Spring Garden Township, and in his five hundred broad acres is incldued the
estate of his father, and also the farm of his paternal grandfather.
Our subject was born in the above township, August 29, 1838, and is one in a family
of eleven children born to his parents, only four of whom beside himself are living,
namely: William H., Melinda, Johanna and Lois. Anderson Smith, the father, was born
in Hickman County, Tenn., February 6, 1814, and was a lad of sixteen years when his
parents came to Illinois and located in Spring Garden Township, on the western edge
of Moore's Prairie. There he was married April 10, 1832, to Miss Elizabeth C., daughter
of THomas and Philadelphis (Ferguson) Hopper. Mrs. Smith was born January 28, 1811,
in Tennessee, of which state her parents were also natives.
After his marriage the father of our subject started ou in life for himself, for many
years carrying on his trade of a blacksmith, and at the same time was engaged in farm
pursuits. He spent his entire life on section 1, and at the time of his decease,
May 3, 1872, his loss was felt by the entire community. When thirty-five years of age,
Anderson Smith joined the Ham's Grove Baptist Church. For the remainder of his life
he was one of the pillars in that church, and also served as Deacon. He was widely
and favorably known in the community where he spent so many years of his lfe, and being
a man of rare judgment, his advice was much sought after by his friends and neighbors.
He was one of those honored citizens of the county who accomplished much good in his life.
Mrs. Elizabeth C. Smith departed this life March 22, 1870, when fifty-nine years of age.
Grandfather Isaac Smith was born January 19, 1779, in North Carolina, and was one of
ten children born to his parents, Abraham and Johanna (Bateman) Smith. He spent his
early life in his native state, where he met and married Miss Millie Hassel. Soon
after their union the young couple emigrated to Tennessee, where they lived for about
ten years, and then came to Illinois and located on a farm in Spring Garden Township,
where their decease occurred. Grandfather Smith was a Regular Baptist in religion, and
one of the organizers of the first church of that denomination in this locaity, which
was known as Moore's Prairie Church. He was a noble-minded, conscientious Christian,
and died in 1854, at the age of seventy-five years. He was a solier in the War of 1812,
and participated in the battle of New Orleans.
The great-grandfather of our subject, Abraham Smith, was born in the early part of
the last century, and served as a solider in the Revolutionary War, in which conflict
the father of Grandmother Millie Smith also participated. Abraham Smith and his wife
reared a family of ten children, the eldest of whom was born January 6, 1770, and the
youngest February 19, 1797. Our subject traces his ancestry back to one John Smith,
who was born in Manchester, England, and came to this country in the Colonial days.
Benjamin Smith, of this sketch, has always resided in his native county, and when reaching
his majority was married, january 24, 1861, to Miss Elizabeth E., daughter of Russell and
Jincey (Allen) Shirley, natives of Hamilton County, this state. Mrs. Smith departed this
life November 18, 1891, leaving a family of the following-named ten children: Isaac N.,
George H., Charles E., Judson A., Ollie J., Ellis Lee, Oma (Orna?), Rado, Herman and Iva.
Three children had previously died in childhoood, and Seth T. died when twenty-three years
After his marriage our subject located on a farm, and in addition to its cultivation for
twelve winters thereafter taught school. His first purchase consisted of forty acres,
which he cultivated in such a profitable manner that he was soon enabled to enlarge his
estate, and at the present time owns four hundred acres, and has given farms to each of
his sons. His property includes the old homesteads of both his father and grandfather,
wihch it is his intention to retain in the family.
Mr. Smith is a man whose character and personal attributes are such as to win the confidence
and friendship of the people by whom he is surrounded. He has always been interested in
township affairs, and for nine years was Road Commission, and held the office of Supervisor
for three terms. In politics he was a strong Democrat, until the Peter Cooper Campaign,
since which time he has voted with the People's party, and on that ticket was candidate
for County Treasurer in 1890. Socially, he is a prominent Odd Fellow, with which order
he has been connected since twenty-one years of age. He is one of the charter memebers
of Ham's Grove Lodge, which he represented for two years at the Grand Lodge of the state.
He is a member of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association, and is President of the Assembly
of Jefferson County.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson
Published by Chapman Publishing Co, Chicago - 1894
Submitted By: Sandy (Whalen) Bauer