Rensler J. Smith
SMITH, HARMON, INGALLS, SCOTT
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/17/2011 at 15:16:11
RENSLER J. SMITH. On section 2, Beaver Township, Grundy County, lies a fine farm of one hundred and forty acres of fertile land, one of the most pleasant homesteads in the county. The owner, Mr. Smith, has used great care and judgment in the cultivation of the soil and has placed the entire estate under the best methods of improvement.
Our subject, who was born in Madison County, N. Y., October 2, 1829, is the son of Alvin and Keziah (Harmon) Smith, natives of Massachusetts, where the father was a millwright by occupation. Rensler J. was the third in order by birth in the parental family, his brother and sisters being Jonathan, Wilber, Lydia, Charlotte and Anna. The mother of these children, who was given a good education in the district schools near her home in Massachusetts, was a member of the Baptist Church and departed this life when in her fiftieth year.
Alvin Smith, the father of our subject, was likewise reared in the Bay State, and when choosing an occupation for himself learned the trade of a millwright. When a young man he removed to Woodstock, N. Y., and there followed the combined occupation of merchant and miller. He also owned a large distillery in the above place, and at his death, which occurred at the advanced age of seventy-five years, he left a handsome property.
Grandfather Nathan Smith also claimed Massachusetts as his native state, while his father came from England and located at an early day in that state. Our subject, who received as good an education as could be obtained near his home in Madison County, N. Y., commenced to learn the trade of a miller from his father when sixteen years of age. This he followed for thirty years, or until abandoning it to become a farmer.
When twenty-six years of age, September 11, 1855, Rensler J. Smith and Miss Margaret M. Ingalls were united in marriage. Mrs. Smith was a daughter of Aaron T. and Olive C. (Scott) Ingalls, natives respectively of Canada and Vermont. She was born in Allegany County, N. Y., and by her union with our subject has become the mother of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. Those living are Alva E., Lorah A., Olive K., Jennie A. and Lutenah M. They have all been given fine educations, and are married and settled in homes of their own.
Mr. Smith came west to Iowa in 1865, at which time he located in Story County and worked at his trade of a miller. Two years later he removed to Butler County, and purchasing forty acres of land, began his first work of cultivating the soil. This he found to be a very paying business, and after five years spent in that county came, in 1878, to Grundy County and bought one hundred and seventy acres of land in Beaver Township. To that tract he added at various times, until he owned nearly three hundred acres of valuable land. He placed the entire amount under good tillage, and being offered a handsome price for his property, sold all but the one hundred and forty acres which comprises the home place.
Mr. Smith is a public-spirited citizen, is interested in all improvements, and is one of the township’s most influential men. He keeps himself thoroughly posted on current events, and in politics is a strong supporter of Republican principles. He has held many township offices and is a warm friend of the cause of education.
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