LEVI SMELSER, a well-known and respected farmer, residing on section 32, Benton Township, was born in Bedford County, Pa., April 15, 1824. He is the son of Joseph and Hannah (Green) Smelser, natives of Pennsylvania. His father was a shoemaker by trade, which occupation he followed during his life; he died April 27, 1866. His mother died Nov. 29, 1856. They had a family of eight children — Keziah, deceased; Ephraim, Rachel, Levi, Joseph; John, deceased; Elizabeth and Hannah. Levi was reared on a farm, remaining at home until twenty-two years of age, when he began life for himself. He first went to Darke County, Ohio, where he worked on a farm three years, and in 1850 he came to Benton County, coming through in a wagon, and being thirty-one days on the road. During the first summer in this county he worked on a farm, then served four months as engineer of a sawmill, after which he went to Benton City, where he ran an engine for a saw and grist mill for about two years. In 1854 he went back to Pennsylvania and brought his father and mother to this county. In 1859 he went to Colorado, where he worked about one your in the gold mines; he has still some of the gold dust that he dug while there. He returned to Iowa in time to vote for Abraham Lincoln for President.
Mr. Smelser returned to Pennsylvania in the fall of 1861 and was there married, on the 18th day of October, to Lovina Smouse, who was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Mangle) Smouse. This union has been blest with four children — David, born April 4, 1863; Mary E., born July 25, 1864, married to Christian Seedenburg; Ella K., born Jan. 29, 1866; Minie, born Feb. 26, 1876. In 1865 Mr. Smelser bought forty acres of land on section 32, to which he has subsequently added twenty-five acres, he moved to this farm in 1867 and has since resided here. In 1882 he built a large two-story brick house, in which he is at present residing. Mr. Smelser is an intelligent and industrious citizen, enjoying the respect of all who know him. Since his settlement here he has aided to advance in every possible way the best interests of the county of his adoption, and is looked up to as one to be relied on in any good work. He came to this county in very limited circumstances, but went to work with a will, determined to succeed, and has been prospered in his undertakings.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 290-291.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 10th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.