IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Peter Smith


A splendid farm of four hundred acres represents the life work of Peter Smith, who proudly can look back upon his achievements, which were attained by his own efforts and no outside help. A native of the state of new York, he was born March 12, 1853, and is a son of Peter Schmitt, a native of Bavaria, Germany, who was born in that state, May 22, 1822. The father employed the German spelling “Schmitt,” but when Peter and his brother grew to maturity they decided to Americanize the name, changing it to its present form. When a young man the father emigrated to the United States and engaged in farming and also did work in a smelter in New York. Later he removed to Ohio and in 1862 came to Allamakee county, where he bought eighty acres of unimproved land in French Creek township near where his son now lives. Diligent and industrious, he settled down to hard work, breaking the land and placing his acres under cultivation, and as he obtained results he increased his holdings until he at one time owned four hundred acres. He died on the old home farm on March 8, 1879. His marriage to Catherine Schiffhauer occurred in New York state on April 25, 1852. The mother, who was a native of Saxony, Germany, was born October 1, 1829, and has also passed away, her death occurring on the home farm on June 20, 1890. They were the parents of six children: Peter, our subject; Charles J., deceased; Mary M., who resides in Waukon; Catherine, the wife of John Enders, of Berrien county, Wisconsin; Sophia, deceased, who was the wife of Patrick Donohue; and John, of Rick Lake, Wisconsin. The parents were devout communicants of the Catholic church.

Peter Smith came with his parents from New York, via Ohio, to Allamakee county, and received his education largely in the district schools near his father’s farm. In the spring of 1876 he set out upon his independent career, engaging as a farm hand for neighbors, He married in 1876 and subsequently rented land for a number of years. In 1885 he acquired by purchase one hundred and sixty acres, yet in a wild state, and there he has since resided, increasing his holdings as occasion offered and his means permitted, until he now owns four hundred acres, which are all put to profitable use. Much of his land is under high cultivation and good improvements can be found upon his farm. His buildings are suitably equipped and substantial and his residence is commodious and comfortable. He engages in general farming, dividing his time between grain culture and stock-raising.

Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Melinda Hoffman, a native of Cascade township, Dubuque county, Iowa, where she was born on September 7, 1854, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Haas) Hoffman, later residents of French Creek township. Mr. Smith lost his wife on August 27, 1912, when her death ensued on account of a fatal automobile accident. He and his wife had the following children: Melinda, who married C. Pl. Nierling, a well known agriculturist of this county; Mary J., the wife of F. A. Roth, of Brooklyn, Iowa; C. M., of Zearing, this state; Joseph, of State Center, Iowa; Katie J. who married C. W. Lane, of French Creek township; John H. of State Center; Ann, at home; Benjamin J., of State Center; William, also of that place; and Frank, at home. Mr. Smith and his family are members of the Catholic church and he gives his political adherence to the democratic party. While he has attained a substantial position among the farmers of his district and has individually become prosperous, he has been a serviceable factor in promoting the growth of his locality and his citizenship has in every way been productive of good results. He enjoys the high esteem and regard of all who know him and has made many friends in the county.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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