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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

ROBERT F. SMITH, a farmer and manufacturer of brick, whose residence, farm and yards are within the city limits of Belle Plaine, was born in Greene County, Ohio, July 29, 1842, and is the son of Charles H. and Nancy (Bishop) Smith. His parents were natives of Virginia, and settled in Ohio in early life. He removed to Jay County, Ind., with the family when eight years of age, where they remained four years; leaving that place they came to Scott County, Iowa, in 1854, and to Iowa County in 1856.

Robert F. went to Utah in the winter of 1859-60, and the following spring began mining in Idaho. He continued in the mountains, occupied in mining, and was frequently engaged in battles and skirmishes with the Indians of that region. In the fall of 1864 he went to Dakota and from there to Illinois, where he remained until August, 1865, when he came to Belle Plaine, and engaged in brick-making. He has an abundance of good clay, and manufactures from 300,000 to 1,000,000 brick annually, giving employment to about twelve men, and uses in his business from 150 to 400 cords of wood. He owns 227 acres of farming land, and his yards are situated a little less than a mile from the business center of Belle Plaine.

Mr. Smith was married in Tama City, Iowa, Nov. 1, 1876, to Miss Alice Powell, daughter of Calvin and Lydia (Boyer) Powell. Her father was from the State of New York, and her mother from Cincinnati, Ohio; they were among the early settlers of Tama County, Iowa, which is Mrs. Smith's birthplace. Two children were born to our subject and wife, a daughter and a son — Gertie F., Nov. 7, 1879, and Arthur Franklin, July 12, 1885.

Mr. Smith is a Republican in politics, a Knight Templar, and a member of the A. O. U. W. He is a member of Hope Lodge, No. 175, A. F. & A. M., of Mt. Horeb Chapter, No. 45, R. A. M., and of St. Bernard Commandery, No. 14, K. T., also of Iowa Valley Lodge, No. 33, A. O. U. W. He is the High Priest of Mt. Horeb Chapter, and Sword-Bearer of St. Bernard Commandery. He has served as a member of the City Council of Belle Plaine.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 273-274.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 9th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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