Biography - James Smith

JAMES M. SMITH, a prominent and influential citizen of Elvira Township, Johnson County, was born in this township January 22, 1833. His father, William Smith, was born in Tennessee, and his father, Millington Smith, was a pioneer settler of Johnson County, Ill., who after removing to this county, spent the rest of his days here. At the time of his removal to Johnson County, William Smith was but a boy, and Illinois was at that time very sparsely settled. In several portions of the State there were no inhabitants but Indians. He secured a tract of Government land in what is now Elvira Township, and upon that land erected the log cabin in which James M. Smith was born, he cleared up his farm in the wilderness, and resided upon it until his death. The maiden name of his wife, the mother of James M. Smith., was Amy Elkins; she was a native of Georgia and a daughter of John Elkins, who is mentioned in the personal sketch of Joshua Elkins, elsewhere in this work. She died on the farm, having reared seven children.
James M. Smith was reared in his native township at a time when pioneer life was the order of the day. There was no railroad connecting interior points, and commerce between distant places had to be carried on by means of the rivers and teams, sometimes oxen, sometimes horses. The woods were then full of game, such as deer, bear and smaller animals, which, when hunted, provided excellent food for the table in the absence of the more domesticated kinds of animals. The mother of Mr. Smith clothed her family, as did her neighbors, with cloth woven by her own hands. Farming methods were equally primitive. Oxen were for the most part used, and the wooden moldboard plow. All grain was cut with the reaping hook, and later with the cradle, so called from its rocking motion as it swung back and forth across the swath.
Mr. Smith resided at home with his parents until his marriage, and then settled on a portion of the old homestead, consisting of forty acres that his father gave him. Since then he has purchased other lands until now he owns six hundred and ninety-six acres, all in one body, and his improvements rank with the best in the county. He was married in 1862 to Miss Sarah Gore, a native of Vienna Township and a daughter of Walter and Polly (Bain) Gore. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have five children: Sarah J., Sherman, Jefferson, Addison and Hosea. Mr. Smith is a Republican in politics. From adverse circumstances in his youth he has by industry and energy accumulated a handsome property and become a well-informed and self-educated man.

Extracted 22 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, page 182.

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