ALFRED M. SMITH, a well-known citizen and an honored veteran of the late war, now residing in Ashland, Illinois, was born in Brown county, Ohio, June 30, 1849. His parents were Wesley and Mary M. (Moore) Smith, both natives of Ohio, the former of Chillicothe and the latter of Feesburgh. They had nine children, five now living: Margaret C.,. wife of Charles Wiggins, resides in Ashland; James Monroe served four years and three months in the Union army, enlisting in the Twenty-third Kentucky Regiment, and participated in all the principal engagements in which the Twenty-fourth Corps took part; he died, unmarried, of smallpox, in Hamilton county, Ohio, in 1876. John Wesley served in the Fifty-fourth Kentucky (Union) Regiment, is married, and lives in Tallula, Menard county, Illinois; the next in order of birth is the subject of this sketch; William Henry is married, and is a Methodist Episcopal minister in Akron, Ohio; Alice Virginia married John R. Hull, and lives in Bracken county, Kentucky; Mary, Joseph and Eliza died in childhood. In 1858, the parents removed to Kentucky, where the father died in 1861, leaving a large family of children to the care of the mother. She afterward married Sovereign Greene, who also died in Kentucky. She then removed with her children to Frederick, Illinois, where she married Martin Bridgman, surviving her marriage only about a year, dying in Frederick in 1874.
The subject of this sketch was but nine years of age when his parents moved from Ohio to Kentucky, at that time a new and sparsely settled county. He was reared on a farm, and followed that vocation until the breaking out of the war. Those happy, peaceful days, spent in rural scenes and homely duties and pastimes, were interrupted by his enlisting, at the age of sixteen years and seven months, in Company K, One Hundred and Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry, for the period of one year, which he served in full, being under the command of General Hancock, in the Second Army Corps. He took the measles while in Camp Chase, Ohio, and was discharged from the hospital to accompany his regiment to the front, when he took cold, and the disease settled in his eyes and lungs, destroying the sight of the right eye, severely injuring the other, and superinducing neuralgia, from which he greatly suffered. He now receives a pension for these disabilities.
On September 11, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Baltimore, Maryland, whereupon he returned to his widowed mother in Pendleton county, Kentucky, where he experienced some exciting scenes, caused by the return of the disbanded rebel army of that vicinity. It was while he was at home that his mother became a widow a second time, after which Mr. Smith accompanied her to Frederick, Illinois, where she spent the rest of her life. She is now buried in the Messer cemetery, near Frederick.
Mr. Smith was married in Springfield, Illinois, April 1, 1876, to Miss Anna Ratliff, an estimable lady, and a native of Morgan county, Illinois. She is a daughter of Richard and Mary (Bridgman) Ratliff, both of whom had been previously married, the father having one son and three daughters: Lucy J., Mary Ellen, Isaac Wesley, and Lucretia. The mother was formerly married to a Mr. Houston, to which union three children were born: Hezekiah, Isaac and William Thomas. All of these children of both marriages are now living, except Lucy J., and all are married. To the marriage of Mrs. Smith's parents, four children were born, of whom she is the eldest: Anna Nancy J., now Mrs. E. T. Welch, resides in Amarillo, Texas; Mary M., married James Allen, of Ashland, Illinois; James Albert, unmarried, is a farmer. The mother still lives, at the age of seventy-one years, and is comfortably situated in Ashland. The father, Hezekiah Bridgman, was a prominent citizen and esteemed pioneer of Morgan county, Illinois, who died in concord, that county, in 1884. He was widely known throughout this vicinity and was deeply mourned by a large community.
Since the war, Mr. Smith has been in rather poor health. Thinking a change might prove beneficial, he traveled through the South for two years, visiting Texas, New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Some of the time he is able to work, while often he is incapacitated for active pursuits.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have five children: Jessie, Clarence, Randolph, Mary Alice, William Ellsworth and Ada Belle, all at home with their parents. Miss Jessie Smith is particularly intelligent and active. She is now at that age commonly known as "sweet sixteen", and is attending the high school in Ashland, hoping some day to become a teacher. She is an earnest member of the Christian Church, and takes an active part in church and Sunday school work, never having missed a session of Sunday school for two years. Mrs. Smith is also a most devoted and useful member of the same church.
Mr. Smith is Democratic in his political affiliations, and takes a deep interest in the affairs of his State and county.
He is a member of Dick Johnson Post, No. 381, of Tallula, Illinois, and of the Brotherhood of United Friends, as well as of the I.O.O.F.
Having followed his career thus far, which has been most honorable, it is reasonable to prognosticate a fitting close, as, surrounded by sympathetic friends, to whom his many sterling qualities have endeared him, and vindicated at the tribunal of his own searching conscience, he peacefully pursues his pathway through life.