SAMUEL SMALLEY was born in Somerset county, New Jersey, August 1st, 1815. His ancestors came over from England in the ship Caledonia in 1716. They landed at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and settled on the Short Hills, five or six miles south of Plainfield.. His grandfather, David Smalley, was a farmer in Somerset county. His two older brothers were in the Continental army during the revolutionary war, and David Smalley himself was secretary on the staff of a general officer. One brother, Jacob Smalley, commanded a New Jersey company, and the other, Isaac Smalley, was an express rider, and carried dispatches between New York city and the American army up the Hudson. After the revolution David Smalley was county judge and justice of the peace in New Jersey. Esquire Smalley's father, David D. Smalley, was born September 30th, 1782, and was a soldier in the war of 1812 with the rank of captain. He married Mary Blackford, December 3d, 1807; she was a native also of Somerset county. The fourth of six children was Samuel Smalley. His mother died September 12th, 1822, and his father April 26th, 1828.
After his father's death he was obliged to earn his own living, and had a home with a merchant in Morris county till he was fourteen, and then began learning the hatter's trade at Plainfield. He came to Illinois in 1837, and engaged in the business of manufacturing hats at Jerseyville. In 1841 he settled in Macoupin county. September 20th, 1842, he married Mary Dodson, daughter of the Rev. Elijah Dodson. Her father was born in Clark county, Kentucky, in the year 1800; removed to Ohio, and married Nancy Gregg, and came to Illinois in 1822 or 1823; he was converted about 1826; united with the Baptist church, and soon afterward began preaching; for several years he was employed by the Home Missionary Society; he first came to Macoupin county in April, 1835, and built the first house ever erected on the site of Woodburn, which place was his home till his death in 1859, though he preached in other places, and was pastor of the Baptist churches at Edwardsville, Belleville, Winchester, and Bunker Hill, and was widely known as a revivalist; his wife died in October, 1877. Mrs. Smalley was born in Crawford county, Illinois, in 1824.
Esquire Smalley has been farming in the neighborhood of Woodburn since 1842. He has filled several public positions; he first served two terms as constable in Bunker Hill township, and has filled the office of justice of th peace for sixteen years. In 1878, although a decided democrat, he was chosen a member of the Board of Supervisors in the strong republican township of Bunker Hill. He is well versed in ordinary legal business, and has frequently appeared in the management of cases before justices of the peace courts. He has had six children.