Professor John Y. Smith

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


PROFESSOR JOHN Y. SMITH, teacher, well known in Delaware and adjacent counties, now engages in the work of his profession at Roxbury, N.Y., was born at Potter Hollow, Albany County, July 8, 1843. His great-grandfather, William Smith, came overseas from England, and settled at Bangall, Dutchess County, N.Y., where he obtained a large tract of unreclaimed land, and set to work to make it productive. After some little time he sold this farm, and moved to Potter Hollow, where he bought a much larger estate. The new farm was still a wilderness when he took it, and he had to clear the land before he could plough it. He built a comfortable house and a good barn, and soon had a beautiful home. Before this, however, he had served in the army throughout the French and Indian War. He lived long enough to see the beginnings of the United States of America, and to take some part in the early political life of the country. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat in politics. He died at the age of eighty-seven, leaving thirteen children, who all lived to good old age.

Isaac J. Smith, one of the sons of William, was born on the old farm at Potter Hollow. He was educated in the district school, and at the age of eighteen began to learn the carpenter's trade--an occupation which he followed through life. He was one of the leading contractors and builders in the region, and left behind him as witness of his energy and skill many well-built tanneries and gristmills. When he was twenty years of age, he married Miss Phoebe Wyatt, a lady of Welsh parentage. He built a comfortable home, and had a family of seven children-- Lot J., Daniel, Leonard, John W., Orin, Platt A., and Sarah M. Isaac J. Smith was a Democrat. He lived to the age of eighty-five years, his wife having died when she was sixty.

Lot J. Smith was born and grew to manhood on the old Smith homestead, at Potter Hollow. When he was seventeen, he began learning the carpenter's trade with his father, and worked at this for four years, until he was of age. But he was more interested in agriculture, and, soon taking up that occupation, followed it to the end of his days, putting forth his best efforts to make it progressive. In this he was abundantly successful. When twenty-one years old, Mr. Lot J. Smith married Almina Young, daughter of John T. and Margaret Young, of Albany County. Mr. Young was a farmer, and died at the age of sixty-eight, survived by his wife, who lived to be eighty years old. They had seven children -- Peter J., Julia M., Henry, John W., Margaret, Jeremiah, and Almina. Mr. and Mrs. Lot J. Smith had six children --Samuel, Isaac, John Y., Rosina, Ann E., and Julia M. Samuel married Amy Hagadone, and has five children. Isaac married Cynthia Coppernoll; and both he and his wife are now dead, leaving three children. The three daughters -- Rosina, Ann, and Julia Smith are deceased. Mr. Lot J. Smith died in the sixty-eighth year of his age, from the effects of a fall. His wife died when she was sixty-eight. Mr. Smith was a Democrat, and he and Mrs. Smith were members of the Baptist church at Preston Hollow.

John Y. Smith began his education at the district school. He was a good scholar, and when he was only sixteen he got a situation as teacher. He afterward went to the academy at West Durham, and took an advanced course to fit himself more thoroughly for this work, and was graduated from that institution in 1863. Then for seven summers and eight winters he taught school during the winter term, and worked at carpentering in the summer. In 1876 Professor Smith accepted the offer of a school in Durham. This was his first school which kept in session the year round. After three years of satisfactory service in Durham, he accepted a call to Middleburg, where he stayed four years, and was well liked and much respected. Then he went to Gilboa, and taught there for six years. He won many friends, and left the schools in a good condition. For the past five years Professor Smith has been teaching in Roxbury, where his record is well known.

Professor Smith married Lucy Hisert, daughter of Benjamin F. and Ann Hisert. Mr. Hisert was a black smith and inventor, who lived at Norton Hill, Greene County, afterward at Coxsackie. and now lives at Hoosick Falls. Mrs. Smith had four brothers and sisters--Dallas M.. Jannett, Philip B., and Frank Hisert. Mrs. Smith was a Methodist. She died April 30, 1885, at the age of thirty-nine years, leaving three daughters, who have all been school-teachers. The eldest. Alice Jeannette, was born September 27, 1869. She married Zopher E. Reed, lives in Roxbury, and has one child, John Henry Reed. Julia Franklin Smith was born December 23, 1872, and is now living at home, as is also Almina Ann, who was born March 7, 1875. All three of the daughters belong to the Methodist church. Professor Smith is a Democrat in politics. He is now fifty-one years old, and has the respect and esteem of the town's people, who know him as a public-spirited man, a man who has at heart the best interests of his school and of the community.


Home            Table of Contents    

Delaware County Biographies Home Page