Biography of John Smith
Chittenden County, VT Biographies





SMITH, JOHN. John Smith was born in Jericho on the 24th of June, 1797, not more than three rods from the spot where he died. His father, William, was a sturdy patriot, though not a soldier, of Revolutionary times, and a native of Lanesboro, Mass. He was thoroughly independent, and is described as decidedly "spry-tempered." Two of his sons, William and Nathan, were soldiers in the War of 1812-15. Before the Revolution his brother Samuel had come to Essex, Vt., pitched on the land now owned by the heirs of Erastus Whitcomb, and girdled the trees preparatory to felling them. After the war he returned accompanied by William Smith, who had a short time previous married Ruth Wood, of Lanesboro. After a residence of about a year in Essex, William Smith purchased two lots of land in Jericho, comprising the present farm of his grandson, Gordon Smith, and moved upon it, bringing his household effects on a sled drawn by a pair of steers, and followed by one cow. After arriving at the place of their future residence, his wife and child sat on a log and waited while he constructed a rude shelter for the night. The hardships incident to this pioneer:life are even yet too well known to need description in this place, but in addition to the sufferings produced by cold and overwork and exposure, the family were soon deprived of the sustenance afforded by their cow, which was killed by a falling tree. William Smith was the father of seven children, named Chloe, Ruama, Emily, Nathan, William, John, and Isaac. He died September 29, 1837, his wife surviving until September 11, 1846, aged eighty seven years.

John Smith passed his life upon the farm upon which he was born. Although educational advantages were meager in those days of ceaseless toil, he supplied the want of what the schools can give with an abundance of what they cannot give, viz., common sense and diligence. About the year 1821 he married Philena Knowles, a native of Essex, who, however, was at the time of the marriage living in Jericho, and by her had two children, Cornelius, born August 30, 1824, and deceased March 23, 1848, unmarried; and Gordon, born September 25, 1828. John Smith was originally a Democrat of the old school, but developed into a member of the Anti Slavery or third party, and died a Republican. He did not care to be placed in office, but his abilities were so well fitted to the performance of public duties that he was frequently elected, almost vi et armis. He represented the town of Jericho in the Legislature in 1853 and 1854, and was one of the thirteen who opposed the election by that body of Governor Robinson, by a coalition between the Democratic and Free Soil parties. He was occasionally selected a delegate to political conventions, and served in other positions. His religious belief rested on the basis that all Christian churches should unite in one denomination against evil, and was what is termed liberal.

He was a successful farmer, and procured his wealth chiefly from sheep raising, when that was a more profitable industry than it is now. He owned at different times from 300 to 520 head of sheep. During the latter years of his life he relinquished his labors, which, with the property, devolved upon his son Gordon. He died on the x6th of September, 1885.

Gordon Smith received a good common school education and remained upon his father's farm during the entire period of his minority. Even then he did not depart from the homestead, but, in pursuance of the wishes of his father, stayed on the farm. On the 13th of June, 1850, he married Lydia E., daughter of Azariah Lee, of Jericho. Mr. Smith does not prescribe any limitations to his farming, but is engaged in all departments. He has about fifty sheep and thirty head of cattle.

Mr. Smith has been true to the traditions of the family and acted with the Republican party. He was at first a member of the Free Soil party. He has been placed in various offices of trust in his town, and his ability and faithfulness have never been questioned. He has been selectman eight years in all, and lister, assessor and town treasurer each one year. He also represented the town in 1874-75.

He has three children, Emma E., born June 13, 1852, and residing with her parents; John A., born January 18, 1854, and married Elizabeth Armour, who died September 6, 1883, leaving one child that died in infancy. John A. Smith now lives with his father. The youngest child of Gordon Smith is Ernest H., who was born on the 2d of March, 1871, and is at the home of his parents.

From:
History of Chittenden County, Vermont
Edited by: W. S. Rann
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, New York. 1886


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