James Nesmith family
NESMITH, STILLMAN, REED, BARKER, FELLOWS
Posted By: S. Ferrall - IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 3/26/2013 at 23:50:01
Reminiscences of the Famous Nesmith Family
To the Editor of the Standard: A man who was familiar to the residents of Solon over a half century ago was James Nesmith. His education was considerably in advance of many of his fellow townsmen. He was a great reader, an old line Whig and a firm believer in Henry Clay, Horace Greeley and the New York Tribune.
From the first memory of the writer, he walked with the aid of two crutches and in later years used a crutch and a cane. His affliction, I think, was caused by rheumatism, but he bore it uncomplainingly and always appeared cheerful and contented and woe betide the Democrat who engaged with him in a political argument, for he kept fully posted on all the important political questions of the day and in general information. He was usually present at political gatherings, particularly those of his own party, and always a close observer of passing events, and would discuss them with a high order of intelligence.
He came into the town in 1822 from New Hampshire, where six children were born. Three more were born after settling in Solon. Polly Nesmith, the wife, was a woman of rare and enobling Christian graces - which were stamped upon her children by faith in the gracious promises of her God, and they emulated her virtures in their lives. She died in Solon in the summer of 1846, after several years of extreme suffering.
There were three girls and five boys, who grew up to man and womanhood. The sons were stong and healthy and were active in taking charge and performing all the farm work for the father in his crippled condition.
Mary E. married John Stillman of Cortland. Hannah E. married John Reed of Cortland. Both were men who stood high among their neighbors and friends. Abigal T. married Isaac Barker of Antrim, New Hampshire. Subsequently all moved West and settled near Waukon, in Allamakee county, Ia. All were pioneers in that new country.
The only living representative of the original family is the youngest son, Dr. Milton W. Nesmith of Waukon, Ia., who filled the office of regimental surgeon to one of the Iowa regiments during the civil war with great credit to himself and the service. He wears the Grand Army badge with patriotic pride, as a citizen of this great republic.
Representations of the family stand high in the community where they live. Hannah, a daughter of John Reed and Hannah Nesmith, is the wife of Judge Fellows, district judge of the north east judicial district of Iowa. The reside in a beautiful home near the banks of the Mississippi river at Lansing, Ia.
Woodbury, an older son, died in Solon before the family left for the West. Adam, the next youngest son, died in Watertown, S.D., about three years ago at the age of 78 years. George died in Waukon.
This family commenced in a very humble way in Solon. But the writer is impressed that the influence of this family has made the world better for their having lived in it.
....C.C.M., Winona, Minn., Nov. 23, 1901
~Cortland Evening Standard, Cortland, NY; November 27, 1901
Allamakee Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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