Biography of James N. Smith

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This gentleman, one of the leading agriculturists of Clinton County, was born in the town of Hector, Tompkins Co., N. Y., April 20, 1830, and was the eldest in the family of Jonas. and Mary (Gilmore) Smith, which consisted of six. The elder Smith was a farmer, and was born in Tompkins County. in 1807, and was married in February of 1829. In 1833 he removed with his family to Sandusky Co., Ohio, where he resided until his death. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and was one of the Prominent citizens of the county He held various positions of trust and responsibility, notably among the number that of sheriff and county commissioner; the latter position he filled acceptably for six years. He held the office of justice of the peace for eighteen years. He was an energetic and successful farmer, and acquired a competency. James received a common-school education, and remained at home until he was twenty four years of age. He studied civil engineering and surveying, and for several years was engaged as a teacher. In 1854 he met his destiny in the person of Miss Rachel Short, whom he married in that year. Shortly after his marriage, he purchased a farm, which be carried on in connection with that of his father. He took an active interest in political matters, and in 1858 was elected county clerk. At the expiration of his term of office he was re-elected. He discharged his duties with fidelity to the trust reposed in him, and with credit to himself.

In 1864, Mr. Smith disposed of his property in Ohio and came to Bath, where he purchased seven hundred acres of land, which is a part of his present estate of twelve hundred acres, a large portion of which is under a high state of cultivation. Since coming to Michigan Mr. Smith has eschewed politics, and has devoted himself to farming and stock-growing. He has a large herd of Galloway cattle, of which he is said to be the largest breeder in the United States.

Mr. Smith has devoted much time and study to the subject of draining, and is considered to be standard authority on anything pertaining thereto. He is county drain commissioner, and in this capacity his services are of immense value to the farming community. As a farm engineer he is undoubtedly one of the most proficient in this part of the State, and his services are in great demand. He is one of the organizers and charter members of the Central Michigan Agricultural Society, and has probably done more to advance its interests than any other member of the organization. The society was born under adverse circumstances, and has had to contend with many difficulties and embarrassments, and its success is largely attributable to the untiring efforts of its present superintendent, James N. Smith. The exhibition of the centennial year was highly successful, and the officers of the society, business men of the city of Lansing, knowing that it was due largely to the efforts of Mr. Smith, and to show their esteem and appreciation of his services, presented him with an elegant cane suitably engraved.

Altogether, Mr. Smith is one of those leading spirits whose identification with any community is always productive of good.


From:
History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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