Submitted by Marrie Miller
Prominent among the progressive ranchmen and cattlemen in the Redwater section of Crook county, where he conducts farming and a stock ranch, where he is raising cattle and horses, leading the pleasant life of a country gentleman, William F. Smith has been one of the developing and inspiring forces of mental, moral and commercial advancement for his county and one of the political agencies which have given its public policy proper trend and healthy growth. He is a native of Wallasey, Cheshire, England, where he was born on June 26, 1845, a son of Samuel and Mary (Farrall) Smith, also natives of that interesting region. His father was an intelligent and influential farmer who came with his family to the United States in 1850, landing at New Orleans and proceeding from there to Warren county, Ohio, where he again engaged in farming for five years, in 1855 removing to Audubon county, Iowa, then on the far frontier, where he took up government land and followed his customary vocation until his death in 1809, his devoted wife preceding him to the spirit world in 1857. Their son William F. Smith was educated in the schools of Audubon county and Des Moines, Iowa. In 1861 he enlisted in Co L Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and followed the flag of his adopted country through the awful experiences of the Civil War, being honorably discharged on September 2, 1865. Most-of his service was in the department of the Mississippi under General Grant, and in the battles fought by that great commander he bore himself with conspicuous bravery, especially at Vicksburg, where as a sharpshooter he was exposed to constant danger of death and in 1864 he was promoted to company bugler. At the close of the war Mr. Smith's restless energy required suitable occupation amid the fruitful pursuits of peace, for his four years service in the field, which began when he was sixteen and brought him to face a brave and determined foe in more than twenty battles and a large number of skirmishes, and gave him every form of military experience where hardship, privation or hazard was at hand, had for a time at least, unfitted him for a humdrum life. He engaged in commercial business but soon finding this too monotonous, sold out his interest and drove an ox team across the plains to Denver, finding in the trip the very spice of danger that his spirit required. In Colorado he went to work on a ranch at $52 a month and his board and from that time until the summer of 1884, when he located on the homestead near Spearfish which he now occupies, he was oscillating between the West and the East, now living at his old home in Exira, Iowa, and again at Cheyenne, where he found the population too tough for his enjoyment, then he was at the end of the Union Pacific tracks at Medicine Bow River and next at Iron Mountain, whither he went with Herman Haas for a load of iron ore to be sent east for analysis, braving the dangers of hostile Indians who were then on the warpath, eluding their vigilance by traveling at night, securing his load of ore and returning safely with it to Cheyenne, in Colorado, working on the same ranch that had previously had his services, at Greeley, at Bentonville, Ark, back in Iowa, where he was married on January 1, 1873, with Miss C A Hamlin of Exira, returning with his bride to Greeley and remaining until May, 1879, when he again took up his residence in Iowa and for two years farmed his father-in-law's farm. In 1881 his health failed and he applied for a pension for disabilities incurred in service. He received this in 1882, the arrears amounting to $1,317, and, buying a team with necessary equipment, he started in December. 1883, for the Black Hills of Wyoming, wintering near Chamberlain, S D, and arriving at Spearfish early in the following spring. Near there he took up a preemption claim of 160 acres, bought twenty-one head of cattle and went to work as a farmer; later taking up a homestead claim of 160 acres adjoining his preemption, and he is still living on the land, conducting a farming and stock business of expanding value and importance, improving his land and its appurtenances and keeping its appliances up-to-date in every particular. Notwithstanding his busy and adventurous life, Mr Smith has never lost interest in public affairs, contributing freely of his time and energy to the welfare of every enterprise for the advancement of the community. He is an ardent Republican in politics, and has done yeoman service in the cause of his party in many hotly contested campaigns. He has served his people as road supervisor, is now school trustee, and in November, 1900, was elected to the state legislature by a majority of 196 votes, this being twenty-five or thirty more than his party's strength. Mr. Smith has high standards of conduct and is a gentleman of character and standing. He is a total abstainer from intoxicants, never gambles or sports in any way and, like his father and all other members of his family, has never been arrested or had a lawsuit. His family consists of himself, his wife, three sons and one daughter. The daughter, Irene J, is a popular teacher, and he has one adopted daughter, Lillie, aged 15 years. The eldest son, William Edwin, was born in Colorado in 1874; Ralph Farrall in 1878; Charles Farrall in Crook county, Wyo, in 1884. Two of the brothers of Mr Smith were also soldiers for the Union in the Civil War, each serving four years, and another could not go because too young. The post office of Farrall, which Mr Smith had established and which bears his mother's maiden name, was conducted by him for four years and a half. His home has been a center of generous but unostentatious hospitality, giving cheerfully to the guest and stranger alike the best of its entertainment, and from it have emanated influences of great benefit to the community in fosteringschools. churches and other moral agencies, healthful commercial enterprises and every element of safe and substantial progress. A candid, outspoken man, of positive convictions and fearless courage in asserting them, Mr Smith is free from the despotism of opinion, both from others over him and from him over others.
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