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Cherokee County Biographies

Charles M. Smith

CHARLES M. SMITH, is one of the well-known farmers of Willow Township. He was born in Moltonborough, Carroll County, New Hampshire and is one of the family of twelve children of Elephalet B. and Mary (Leavitt) Smith.  His father is of English ancestry.  His grandfather, John Smith, was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy in the War of 1812, and was wounded at Portsmouth Harbor.  Charles M. lived in his native State until 1853, when his father died, and left him to rely upon his own resources.  He went to East Cambridge and ran an engine in the cabinet manufactory and planing mill of Bartlett & Brown.  He remained in the employ of this firm for seven years, and then went to Pontiac, Livingston County, Illinois and rented a far which he cultivated until 1873, when he determined to try his fortune in the new county of Cherokee, Iowa.  He settled on section 29, Willow Township, buying 160 acres of land which had not been improved. He broke out the land, built a house, barn, and granaries, and otherwise equipped the place for general farming purposes. The fine groves which are found on the Smith homestead were planted by the present owner's hand, and are not only a beautiful ornament, but serve as a windbreak.  When Mr. Smith first settled where he now lives there was not a single house in sight toward the east, and Cherokee was the nearest trading point.  His neighbors were A. J. Whisman, Mr. Guilliams, Elias Straton and Joseph McCoun. In those days the mills at Denison, Sioux City, Smithland and Oto did the grinding for people living in Willow Township. Soon after coming to Cherokee County, Mr. Smith began to pay special attention to the raising of cattle and hogs, and was one of the first men from his neighborhood to sell hogs in the town of Cherokee. He was married January 10, 1861 to Miss Ellen Cook, of Livingston County, Illinois. She was born in Kentucky, and is a daughter of Micajah and Elizabeth (Lewis) Cook.  This marriage has resulted in the birth of six children:  Mary, wife of James Campbell; Cade, whose biography is given in this volume; Sarah, William B., Effie and Cora.  James and Mary (Smith) Campbell are the parents of one child, Earl. Mr. Smith has given h is children the advantage of a common school education, two of them advancing beyond this course.  Mrs. Smith is a member of the Congregational Church.  In politics Mr. Smith is Democratic.  Although not one of the earliest settlers he has many recollections of pioneer times in his neighborhood.  At the first election after his coming to the county there were but twenty votes cast in the townships of Willow and Grand Meadow, which were then combined and known as Willow Township; there were no bridges across the waters of the Little Sioux, and the mail was brought twice a week on horseback to the Washta post office.

Source: Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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