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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 457~


John Smith

John Smith is numbered among the early settlers of the county, having since the spring of 1857 here made his home. He is now engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 30, Bank Township. The history of his life is as follows: He was born in Sterlingshire, Scotland, in 1830, being a son of William and Isabel (Davidson) Smith, both of whom spent their entire lives in Scotland, their native land. His father was born in 1800 and died in 1889, having survived his wife some eighteen years. This worthy couple were the parents of a family of seven children, of whom John is the second in order of birth. Ann, the eldest, is now Mrs. Wilson, of Alton, Ill.; our subject is the next younger; Jane married Alexander Davidson and died in Scotland in 1889; Margaret is the wife of Alexander Lindsey, of Sterling, Scotland; William is deceased; Catherine is the wife of John Smith, of Edinburg, Scotland, and James is head clerk in the large commission house of Mason & Co., London, England.

In the review of the life of our subject we find that until twenty-one years of age he remained at home upon his father's farm, during which time he became familiar with all the details of farm work and also acquired his education. Having attained his majority he determined to seek his fortune in the New World, and having crossed the broad Atlantic located in Will County, Ill., where he worked for a year and three months upon a farm. He then went to Wisconsin but after a short time spent in that State continued his westward journey, until having crossed the Father of Waters he located in Fayette County, Iowa. After renting land near West Union for one season he purchased the farm upon which he now lives, becoming owner at that time of sixty-five acres of prairie and twenty acres of timber land. He has added to this a quarter-section lying across the line in Bremer County but joining his farm, and his landed possessions therefore aggregate two hundred and forty-five acres. The entire amount is under a high state of cultivation, indicating the thrift and good management of the owner, while the improvements stand as monuments to his enterprise.


Another important event in the life of Mr. Smith occurred in 1859, when he led to the marriage altar Miss Catherine, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Lamb) Robinson who, like their daughter were natives of Scotland. By this union have been born nine children, five sons and four daughters: William who is at home; Peter A., a druggist of Sumner; John who runs the Farmers' Co-operative Creamery, of Bremer County; James who is engaged in clerking in Sumner; Isabel, Alonzo, Agnes; Eliza and Margaret J., deceased.


In connection with the cultivation of his farm Mr. Smith makes stock-raising an important branch of his industry. He keeps on hand excellent grades of horses, cattle and hogs which he is constantly improving. In politics he for many years supported the Republican party but of late years has held liberal views. His fellow-citizens have honored him with a number of local offices, he having served for two terms as Township Assessor and also as Trustee. He has taken an active part in school matters and everything pertaining to the advancement of the county's interests, and he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church of Sumner. Mr. Smith has seen the full development of the county and has ever been considered one of its worthy pioneers. He used to market his grain in McGregor, sixty-five miles away, but now finds a market for the products of his farm only a mile and a half mile distant at Sumner, one of the best growing towns in this part of the State.




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