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Michael H. Steelsmith


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/17/2011 at 19:07:53

MICHAEL H. STEELSMITH. It has often been said that invincible determination will accomplish any desired result, and already are the effects of its constant exercise visible in the life of this gentleman, who has won a respected position for himself in the community by reason of industry, perseverance and a genial nature. He is at the present time residing in Felix Township, Grundy County, where he has a good estate of two hundred and forty acres.

Lewis Steelsmith, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., where he was a farmer. He later removed to Clarion County, the same state, where he spent the rest of his life. Of his large family of children, three are still living, viz.: Michael, John and Sarah. Grandfather Steelsmith was a patriot of the War of 1812, and was a much respected citizen. The father of our subject, who bore the name of Jacob, was born about 1802, near Redbank, Somerset County, Pa., and received a limited education. He followed the trade of wheelwright, and when establishing a home for himself was married to Miss Catherine Mercer, of Redbank, of the above state. After a residence there of many years the parents removed to eastern Ohio, where Mr. Steelsmith occupied the position of Justice of the Peace. He has often related many interesting experiences while the incumbent of that position, and tells of a man who paid the costs of his suit all in old-fashioned copper cents. The mother of our subject was the daughter of David Mercer, of English descent. By her union with Jacob Steelsmith were born the following twelve children: Lewis, Solomon, Michael H., Amos, Mary Jane, David, Daniel, Benjamin, Clara, Jacob, Rebecca and Calvin. The father, who was in early life a Whig, later joined the Democratic party, and served his fellow-townsmen as Justice of the Peace, Clerk and Commissioner. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, and died in 1881.

Michael H. Steelsmith was born in Shippensville, Pa., August 8, 1835, and as his father was well-to-do he was given as good an education as could be obtained in the subscription of schools of that period. Later, his parents removing to Mahoning County, Ohio, he began teaching school at the early age of eighteen. He continued thus employed for five years during the winter seasons, and assisted his father in carrying on the farm during the summer months. When the father of our subject removed to Defiance County, young Michael was again called upon to assist in clearing the farm, which he did with a good will.

On the outbreak of the Civil War, our subject, in 1861, became a member of Company F, Twenty-first Ohio Infantry, but was prevented from being mustered into service on account of physical disability. He again taught school, and in August of the following year joined the Union ranks as a private in Company G, One Hundred and Eighteenth Ohio Infantry, being mustered into service at Lima under Capt. Samuel Howard. He accompanied his regiment to Covington, Ky., and from there went further south to Lexington and did guard service on the Licking River. The following spring he went to Knoxville, thence to Cumberland Gap, and took part with his company in fifteen battles and skirmishes, among which were Knoxville, Strawberry Plains, Resaca and Kenesaw Mountain. Mr. Steelsmith received three flesh wounds at Resaca, and in July, 1865, was honorably discharged at Salisbury, N. C.

After the close of the war, our subject returned to his home in Ohio, and after teaching two terms of school, in April, 1866, came to this state, where he has since made his home. He was married November 23, 1865, to Miss Nancy, daughter of Charles E. and Margaret (Moore) Jordan. Her father was a native of Ohio, having been born in what is now Belmont County. He was a farmer in ordinary circumstances, and reared a family of nine children, five of whom are living, namely: Daniel, Martha, William, Nancy and Robert. After coming to this state our subject purchased an unimproved tract of eighty acres, upon which he erected a small house, 16x22 feet, and began the arduous work of placing his land under good cultivation. He had but little money when he came here, and has been quite successful financially, judging from the appearance of his good farm, with its well arranged buildings.

Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Steelsmith, two are deceased, one who died in infancy and Milo, who died when two and a-half years old. Those living are Charlie, Maggie, George, Bruce, Clarence and Nellie. Our subject has represented his township as Clerk and Justice of the Peace. He is a Democrat in politics, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa


Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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