John G. W. Smith, deceased, up to the time of his death one of the important and substantial citizens of Jefferson
county, was for many years successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was born in Harrison county, Ohio,
February 22, 1825, a son of Jacob Smith. After a brief education in the rural schools of his native locality, Mr.
Smith learned the stone mason's trade. He lived with his parents until he attained his majority, when he left the
parental roof in Ohio and came to Iowa where he made his home with Enos Ellmaker, taking up anything in the line
of work that promised a fair return. At the time of his marriage he embarked in agriculture, buying forty acres
of land where the present homestead now stands. Thereafter he made further purchases from time to time until he
had increased his holdings to two hundred acres. Of Dutch descent on his father's side and Irish ancestry on his
mother's, he combined the best qualities of the two nationalities - industry and thrift on the one hand and a native
wit and alertness for seizing an opportunity on the other, and through his perseverance and unceasing efforts was
in time well rewarded with a flourishing farm from which large profits 'accrued. In the spring of 1850 he set out
with an ox team for the gold fields of California and after two years of unusual success in digging gold returned
in 1852 and resumed his labors in the fields, sowing and reaping and developing his land. He passed away on June
4, 1900, at the age of seventy five years, three months and a few days. Prosperous in his work and a man of unfaltering
integrity, Mr. Smith did not only leave his family well provided for, but he also bequeathed them an honored name
of which the surviving members of the family may well be proud.
Mr. Smith was twice married, his first union being contracted on May 3, 1849, with Miss Hannah Brown, whose birth
occurred September 17, 1829, and who passed away on January 15, 1869, at the age of thirty nine years, three months
and twenty eight days. The children by this marriage were: George William, born March 12, 1850, who died in Oregon;
Diana Elizabeth, born June 5, 1852, the wife of Daniel Albaugh of Polk county, Iowa; Samuel Allison, born September
30, 1856, who died on the home place; Amos Guthry, born March 19, 1858, who lives in Kansas; Emma Cordelia, born
April 2, 1866, who is the wife of William Vanausdeln, a farmer in Des Moines township, Jefferson county.
The second marriage of Mr. Smith occurred on June 29, 1869, the union being with Miss Nancy Ann Brown, a cousin
of his first wife. She was born in Jefferson county, January 10, 1846, and was a daughter of George W. and Catherine
(Fishel) Brown. The father, who was of German parentage and a native of Pennsylvania, was for many years a prosperous
farmer. During the latter years of his life he was engaged in operating a sawmill, his wife having died November
20, 1877. He passed away at the home of his (laughter, Mrs. Smith, on March 24, 1891. The children by the second
marriage were: Mary Etta, deceased, born April 14, 1870; Marion, deceased, born May 1, 1872; Ira, deceased, born
October II, 1873; Ora, deceased, born December 21, 1874; Charles Franklin, born December 4, 1877, and now living
with his mother on the home place, married to Miss Mina Goughnour, a daughter of David and Lavina (Haney) Goughnour,
the father being engaged in agriculture. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Franklin Smith are the parents of two small children:
Mabel Fern, aged five years, attending school district No. 2, Des Moines township; and Lee Russell, aged two years.
Mr. Smith is serving his first term as township clerk. The remaining children born to Mr. and Mrs. John G. W. Smith
are: a daughter, born October 10, 1876, who died in infancy; Reuben Hayes, born December 22, 1880, who died in
North Dakota; another daughter, born February 1, 1882, who died in infancy; and Leonard Ross, born September 7,
1885, a farmer in Des Moines township, who is married to Miss Nellie O. Wagner, a daughter of Joseph and Augusta
Wagner, and has three children: Evelyn Marie, aged six years, William Claude, aged three, and Harold Glenn, aged
In political circles Mr. John G. W. Smith was an enthusiastic democrat and held the office of township clerk, of
trustee, of assessor and of school director of District No. 1, serving in the last named position for a great many
years. He was a model citizen and a devoted father, ever faithful in the performance of his duty. Mrs. Smith is
an active worker in the Brethren church, to which her husband also belonged. She is a woman of charming personality
highly esteemed throughout the county where she possesses a host of friends.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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