During his early manhood Mr. Smith, having much mechanical genius, was engaged for some time as a carpenter and joiner, but farming being more congenial to his tastes, he finally changed his occupation, although this talent has served him well in this direction also, and been the means of saving hundreds of dollars. He purchased his first land direct from the Government and this he still occupies. He was one of the pioneers of this county, coming as early as 1835, and lived with his parents at what is now Glasgow, south of Winchester, Scott County, and which place was laid out by his father. Scott was then embraced in Morgan County. The family removed to what is now Morgan, about 1839.
A native of Washington County, Ky., our subject was born four miles from the town of Springfield, Jan. 14, 1816, and is the son of Ashford Smith, who served under Gen. Harrison, in the War of 1812, as First Lieutenant in the battle of Tippecanoe. He was born in Virginia, and was the son of John Smith, of Fredericktown, where he spent his entire life engaged in farming pursuits, after having served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War. He married a Virginia lady and became the father of a large family.
The father of our subject was reared in Virginia, and when a young man repaired to Springfield, Ky., where he learned the trade of a tanner and currier and where he lived for about fifteen years. At the expiration of this time he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. In Washington County, Ky., he married Miss Mary Wright, daughter of William Wright, a Virginian farmer and old Revolutionary soldier. Mr. Wright took up his residence in Kentucky, and was there married to Miss Elizabeth Burdeen, and they spent their entire lives in Washington County. In payment for his services as a soldier Mr. Wright obtained a warrant for a large tract of land, and after settling upon it occupied himself with its improvement.
The parents of our subject after their marriage settled in Springfield, Ky., where the father followed his trade of a tanner most of the time, until coming to Illinois in 1835. Here he selected a tract of land in township 16, range 11, where he built up a comfortable homestead and lived to be eighty-seven years old. The wife and mother died at the age of seventy-seven, prior to the demise of her husband. Both were members of the Methodist Protestant Church, and in politics Mr. Smith was an old line Democrat.
The subject of this sketch was next to the eldest of his parents' ten children, five sons and five daughters. He was quite young when coming with them to Illinois, and spent his life thereafter until his marriage, in this county. His first wife, Miss Nancy J. Nash, was born in Coles County, this State, but was brought by her parents to this county when quite young, and here was reared to womanhood. She died at the homestead in 1849, in the prime of life, leaving one child, Isaac N., who married Miss Sarah Moss, a sister of George M. Moss, whose biography will be found elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Smith was a sufferer from consumption, and was ill for some time before her decease. She was a lady possessing many friends, and a member in good standing of the Methodist Church.
Our subject in due time contracted a second marriage, with Miss Martha Goodpasture, who was born in Overton County, Tenn., July 10, 1826. She was less than one year old, when her father, Abraham Goodpasture, came to this county. A further notice of the family will be found in the biography of John J. Goodpasture, on another page in this ALBUM. Mrs. Smith received a common-school education, and remained a member of the parental household until her marriage. Of this union there were born twelve children, three of whom are deceased, namely: William, Melvina and Elvina, the two latter twins. The eldest son living, Thomas J., married Miss Maude Zook, and they live on a farm in township 16, range 11. Larkin B. married Miss Jane Richardson; M. Alice is the wife of John Ham; Marshall married Miss Ada Morrison; Sydney married Miss Maria Decker. The above all live in the same township. Elizabeth J. is the wife of Julius Laughary, and they live at Arenzville, in Cass County. Lewis A. and Richard P. make their home with their parents, the former engaged as a teacher, and the latter assisting his father on the farm.
Mr. Smith cast his first Presidential vote for Martin Van Buren, and is a sound Democrat, first, last and all the time. He has served as Justice of the Peace, and occupied various positions of trust. He is in all respects looked upon as a representative citizen, one who has contributed his full quota to the building up of his county.