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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 578~


George Smirl

George Smirl, an agriculturist of Center Township, residing on Section 5, is a self-made man, and as is the case generally with men who make their own way in the world, he is a worthy and valued citizen. He came to this county in 1873 from Grant County, Wis. He was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in 1830, and is of Irish descent, his parents, William and Barbara (Reed) Smirl, having both been natives of the Emerald Isle. In that land they were married and soon afterward, thinking to benefit their financial condition, they crossed the Atlantic to America and took up their resident in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., where Mr. Smirl died on the 7th of August, 1850. His widow, who yet survives him is still living on the old homestead and has reached her ninetieth year. In the family were nine children, eight of whom are still living, namely: John, who is married and resides in Grant County, Wis.; Margaret, now Mrs. Downing, of Hawkeye, Iowa; James who is married and makes his home in St. Lawrence County, N.Y.; George, of this sketch; Mary, now Mrs. Ivery, of Southern Iowa; Samuel, a resident of the Empire State; Sarah, now Mrs. Barstow, of Nebraska; and Richline, of New York.

We have no event of special importance to record concerning the boyhood of our subject, who in the usual manner of farmer lads was reared to manhood. He was educated in a way similar to thousands of others, the advantages which he received being those afforded by the district schools. On leaving the parental roof he began working as a farm hand and in 1856; following the advice of Horace Greeley, he started westward. After a few days of travel we find him in Grant County, Wis., where he purchased a farm of eighty acres which was but partially improved. To its development he applied every energy and in a short time the once wild land was yielding him a golden tribute for the care and labor bestowed upon it. It was also in Grant County that he found his wife. In 1866 he joined in wedlock with Miss Susanna Baker, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of David and Anna M. Baker. Her parents were also born in the Keystone State and about 1857 removed to Wisconsin. They are now living in Grant County. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Smirl is blessed with the presence of five children, namely: Ida, Adda, David Loring, George Leonard and James R.


In 1862, prompted by patriotic impulses Mr. Smirl offered his services to the country for three years and donning the blue became a member of Company C, Twentieth Wisconsin Infantry. With the Western army he took part in the battle of Prairie Grove, the raid through Missouri and the battle of Pilot Knob. His health failing him before the expiration of his term of service, he was honorably discharged on account of disability at New Orleans, in January, 1864. From that time until 1873, he followed farming in Grant County, Wis. The latter year, however, witnessed his arrival in Fayette County, Iowa, and he purchased a partially improved farm of ninety-four acres upon which he erected a good dwelling and barn. Prosperity has attended his efforts and as his facilities increased he extended the boundaries of his land until now one hundred and seventy-four acres pay tribute to his care and cultivation. The improvements which he has made greatly enhance its value as well as its pleasing appearance. Understanding the business in all its details he displays good ability in the management of his farm and uses every energy to the best advantage. A stanch supporter of Republican principles he labors for the interests of his party, and a friend to education he has done not a little for the schools of the neighborhood, especially while serving as a member of the School Board. Socially he is a member of Center Post, G.A.R., of Randalia. He and his wife are regular attendants at church service but are connected with no religious denomination. Their home is a hospitable one, their friends are many and in the social world they are held in high regard.



~transcribed and contributed to Fayette Co. by Carol Williams



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