Biography of Henry D. Smith
Jasper County, MO Biographies





HENRY D. SMITH.
One of the first of the early settlers of Jasper county, Missouri, and one of its most substantial and esteemed citizens is Henry D. Smith, who was born in Chautauqua county, New York, on January 7, 1831, and he was a son of Proctor and Ruth (Keeler) Smith. Proctor Smith was a native of New York and by occupation was a farmer. In 1836 he moved to Illinois and: located in what was then known as the Yankee settlement in the vicinity of Joliet, and there he improved a farm and remained until about 1839, when he went west of Chicago and located in McHenry county, where fine farming lands were to be found. In 1854 he removed into Iowa and settled in Bremer county, and remained engaged in agricultural pursuits for the succeeding twelve years, at the close of that period moving into Jasper county, Missouri. His dearth occurred in Alba; Missouri, in 1876. In politics he was always in accord with the Democratic party.

The mother of our subject was formerly Ruth Keeler, and she was born and reared in the state of New York, her family being prominent in the vicinity of Rochester. Her death occurred in 1840, in Illinois. Nine children had come under her loving care, seven of whom grew to maturity, these being Philo, who died in California; Mary, who is the widow of F. M. Mead and lives in Illinois; Philip, who resides in Granville, Ohio: Martha, who is the wife of F. M. Sponable, of Alba, Missouri; and Alonzo, deceased. Mr. Smith, of this biography, was the second son in the family and the third child. He was three years of age when he was taken into Illinois and remained at home until he was eighteen years of age, at which time he made the trip across the plains to California. This was in 1850, when the youth of the land was turning an expectant face toward the Golden state. Mr. Smith's first mining experience was at a camp then called Hangtown, which name was later changed to Placerville, as placer mining was then the general industry in that locality. Mr. Smith spent six years in gold mining, with varying success, and returned by way of the Panama route to New York city. One year of this time he spent in San Francisco, and he saw much of the state during his residence there; but he was not enough impressed to cause him to make it his permanent home.

When our subject returned from the far west he first located in Bremer county, Iowa, where he remained until 1866, at which time he came to Jasper county, Missouri, and for about one and one half years he lived in Alba, and then located on the fine farm which he now occupies. This land was formerly the property of Judge McMagregor and had never been improved, and was called swamp land, but Mr. Smith saw its possibilities and immediately began making substantial changes. A comfortable house was built, which still stands on an adjoining farm, and now this eighty acre farm under cultivation and the twenty acres of timber bear small resemblance to the farm upon which our subject settled in those early days of the county. He has carried on general farming and successful stock raising and has prospered. Mr. Smith has also engaged in mining, and owns stock in the Duenw and the Chetwood Hollow and the Kansas City Bottom.

The marriage of Mr. Smith was toe Catherine A. Etting, who was born in Ulster county; New York, where she was reared, and two children were born of this union Minnie, who died at the age of eighteen months; and Leslie. Leslie Smith was born in Bremer county, Iowa, on May 8, 1865, and was five years of age when brought to Jasper county. His mining interests are in association with those of his father. He married Miss Marcia B. Allen, who was a daughter of D. W. Allen, of Carthage, Missouri, and they have one daughter, Pearl. Mr. Smith has taken an active interest in public affairs, and has long been known as one of the most ardent Republicans of Jasper county.

From:
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Chiago 1901


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