SAMUEL M. SMITH, who for forty years has resided on his farm in Petersburg precinct, and whose landed possessions have been acquired almost entirely through his own efforts, his perseverance and indefatigable industry, was born December 23, 1853, at Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania. He is a son of John T. and Jane (Hutchison) Smith, who came from the north of Ireland to the new world. His grandparents were natives of Scotland, whence they removed to the Emerald isle, where the father and mother of our subject were reared. The grandparents died in Ireland. John T. Smith was born January 6, 1821, and his wife's birth occurred about the same time. They were married in their native country and later crossed the Atlantic to the United States, settling at Port Kennedy, where the mother died when her son Samuel was only two years old, passing away in 1855, her remains being interred in the First Presbyterian cemetery at that place. Not long afterward the father came with his family to Illinois, arriving in Menard county in 1856. Ere leaving the east, however, he had married again, having on the 27th of June, 1855, wedded Miss Margaret McMullen. Throughout his entire life John T. Smith followed the occupation of farming. About 1860 he purchased land, buying fifty-nine acres of the farm upon which his son Samuel now resides. To this he afterward added, for he prospered in his undertaking and became one of the substantial farmers of the county. In the early days of the Republican party he gave to it his support, but after the Emancipation Proclamation was written he became a Democrat and continued to affiliate with that party until his death. A stanch advocate of Protestantism, he held membership with the Orangemen and with the American Protestant Association, and he belonged to the Presbyterian church. He died May 26, 1891, thus passing away when about seventy years of age. He had three children by his first marriage. William, the eldest, born December 9, 1847, died August 17, 1849. John W., born April 11, 1850, is living in Weatherford, Parker county, Texas. He was married in that state and follows farming there. He went to Texas in 1879 and he now has a farm of four hundred acres, which he owns individually, and seven hundred acres which he owns in partnership. Samuel M. is the third of the family. By the father's second marriage there were four children, all of whom died in infancy with the exception of Leah Jane, who married David Dowell, who owns and operates a farm near Atterberry. They have three daughters and a son.
Samuel M. Smith was reared to the occupation of farming and pursued his education in the Little Grove school. In his youth he was trained to the duties and labors of the farm and gained practical knowledge of the best methods of conduction farm work -- tilling the soil and raising stock. He has carried on general agricultural pursuits on his own account since 1879, and his landed possessions, covering two hundred and ninety acres, have been acquired entirely through his own efforts save that his father gave him eighty-six acres of land. It is all in Petersburg precinct. He raises grain and also stock and feeds both cattle and hogs.
On the 6th of March, 1879, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sophia J. Kirby, who was born August 26, 1858, a daughter of Elias and Letitia (Lonsberry) Kirby, who came originally from Pennsylvania and are now living near Atterberry, Illinois. Her father has passed the age of seventy years, while her mother is now sixty-five years of age. They are the parents of twelve children: Sophia J., wife of our subject; Josephine, who died in infancy; A. J., who married Isabel Valentine and resides at Conway Springs, Sumner county, Kansas; Christina, wife of J. C. Atterberry, of Atterberry; Eben K., who married Ollie Pantier and lives near Atterberry; Frank, who married Mary Goldsby and resides in Athens; George, who died in infancy; Arvilla, who lives with her parents; Lyman L., who died in infancy; Clarence, who is also with his parents; Dora, wife of James Greenhaughl, living near Oakford; and Scott, who married Etta Griffith and lives near Petersburg.
Mrs. Smith was reared in Menard county and, like her husband, she attended a subscription school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith have witnessed much of the development and growth of Menard county and are numbered among the worthy and respected early settlers. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born eight children: Ira A., born December 5, 1879, married Ida M. Ishmael and they have two children. They reside in Cass county, Illinois, five miles west of Atterberry, where Ira follows farming. Samuel E., born May 7, 1881, died October 6, 1887. Alice Leah, born October 24, 1882, became the wife of Walter Juhl, who died February 9, 1903, and she now resides with her father. Emery J., born May 7, 1884, Jesse K., born February 11, 1888, John T., born October 26, 1890, Goldie E., born October 20, 1894, are all at home. One child, born October 3, 1896, died on the 2d of November following, unnamed, and was buried in Oakland cemetery. Mrs. Smith is a member of the Predestinarian Baptist church. In his political views Mr. Smith is a Democrat and has served as school director for twelve years, taking an active interest in the schools and doing everything in his power to increase their proficiency. Matters of public progress and improvement claim his attention and receive his co-operation. He has led a quiet, useful and honorable life, devoted to his farming interests, whereby he has provided a comfortable home for his family.