JAMES H. SMALLEY, who is successfully engaged in general farming and sheep-raising on section 35, Hilyard Township, has the honor of being a native-born citizen of this county, his birth having occurred on the old Smalley homestead in Bunker Hill Township, in 1840. We have no authentic record concerning the early history of the Smalley family and its establishment in America, but know that the paternal grandfather of our subject, Samuel Smalley, came of an old New Jersey family of English Hebrew origin. He was twice married in his native State, and with his second wife and his children, emigrated to Illinois, traveling from Pittsburg with a one horse team. He located in Bunker Hill Township when the city of that name was a mere hamlet. Securing lands he improved a good property and lived to see all of his children established in good homes of their own. He and his wife both died on the old homestead at an advanced age. They were members of the Baptist Church and were well-known among the early settlers of this community. The usual trials and hardships of pioneer life fell to their lot, such as having to live upon corn-meal which was ground in a coffee mill. For some time the family which numbered twenty-one persons, lived in a small log cabin, yet in the course of time Samuel Smalley became one of the prosperous men of the community.
Andrew Smalley, father of our subject, was born in Somerset County, N.J., in 1815, and in that State learned the hatter's trade, which he followed for several years. About a year previous to his emigration Westward, he married Miss Julia Cox, who was born and reared in Sussex County, and was a daughter of Capt. Restore Cox, a soldier of the War of 1812, who in that struggle, won his title. After the death of his wife, the Captain, then an old man, came to Illinois and spent his last days in the home of his daughter. On coming West, Andrew Smalley and his wife at once began the work of acquiring a property. He secured eighty acres of land from the Government, upon which he built a cabin and in true pioneer style, began life. Practicing industry and economy, his financial resources were there increased and from time to time he made judicious investments of his capital in real estate until he became owner of about twelve hundred acres of fine land, all lying within the borders of Macoupin County except one quarter section in Kansas. His land was divided into good farms, upon which he placed many excellent improvements. No man did more for the development and upbuilding of this township than Andrew Smalley, and he became one of the prominent and influential as well as the prosperous citizens of the community. In all his labors he was ably assisted and seconded by his estimable wife who proved a true helpmate to him. She was born in 1817, and died at their home in bunker Hill, in 1872, in the faith of the Baptist Church, of which she was a consistent member. Andrew Smalley was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Johnson, who is yet living and makes her home in Bunker Hill, at the age of sixty years. He was a member of the Baptist Church also, and lived an upright life, worthy the esteem of all. Industry and enterprise characterized his career, and fairness marked all of his business dealings. In his death the county lost one of her best citizens.
Our subject, James H. Smalley, is the eldest of four surviving children, out of a family of six. His entire life has been spent in this county, and its growth and development, he has witnessed from an early day. Traveling life's journey with him as his faithful wife, is Miss Emma Hopper, their marriage having been celebrated in Bunker Hill in 1862. She was born in Booneville, Ind., February 7, 1842, and her parents, Rev. J. V. and Lucinda (Johnson) Hopper, were natives of the Buckeye State, where they were reared and married. After the birth of their first child, a daughter, they removed to Indiana, but in a few years returned to Ohio. Subsequently they came to Illinois, settling near bunker Hill, where Mr. Hopper improved and operated a farm. He also engaged in preaching as a minister of the Baptist Church, and after years of hard labor retired to private life, removing to Bunker Hill, where he is now living at the age of seventy-seven years, while his wife has attained the age of seventy-five years. Their family numbered seven children of whom six are yet living.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smalley have been born a family of five children, and death has not once visited the home. Charley O., the eldest, is now connected with a street car company of St. Louis, where he makes his home; L. Etta, Herbert H., Arden E. and Edward O., are still with their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Smalley attend the Baptist Church, and in politics he is a Democrat. He has traveled extensively through the North and West, and was one of the first to engage in mining in Leadville, Colo. For a half century he has resided in Macoupin County, and with the history of its agricultural interests his name is inseparably connected. He owns one of the best farms in Hilyard Township, and in connection with its cultivation, is extensively engaged in sheep raising, in which he has met with excellent success. He possesses good business ability, is enterprising and progressive, and is accounted one of the valued citizens of the neighborhood.