Biography - George Smoot

GEORGE W. SMOOT was born in Simpson Township, Johnson County, Ill., in 1845, and now resides in Burnside Township, in the same county. His father, Reed Smoot, was born in North Carolina, and came to Illinois from Missouri about 1838, at the age of twenty-six years. He was the son of George Smoot, a farmer and a native of Virginia, who died in Kentucky about 1827, in middle life, leaving a widow and six children, three sons and three daughters, of whom Reed, the father of George W., was the eldest. The widow married again, this union being with Levi T. Taylor, and died in Johnson County, Ill., near Reynoldsburgh, at the age of eighty-five years. The mother of George W. Smoot was Eliza (Thomas) Smoot, a daughter of Henry Thomas, whose wife was before her marriage a Miss Mungle. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were from Weakley County, Tenn., where their daughter was born. Grandfather Thomas was a soldier in the War of 1812, and went into the army at the age of eighteen years. The paternal grandparents of our subject early removed from North Carolina to Tennessee, whence they removed to Kentucky, living in that State many years. They removed thence to Missouri, living there for a short time, and then came to Illinois. These pilgrimages were made in the old-fashioned emigrant style, in a covered wagon drawn sometimes by an ox and cow that were yoked together. They came to Illinois with no cash capital, and their first home was three miles west of Marion, Williamson County, on wild land.
The parents of George W. Smoot were married August 12, 1841, the father being then twenty-nine and the mother twenty-two years old. They began life on one hundred and twenty acres of land purchased from the Government at $1.25 per acre, and lived thereon the rest of their days. They reared a family of five sons and five daughters, and of these children George W. is the third child and second son in order of birth. The others were: Sarah Ann, widow of John O'Neal, who is now living on her farm in Bloomfield Township; Warren O., a very conscientious and pious youug man, who enlisted when twenty years of age in the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, Company G, under the command of Capt. Perkins, and was captured on Stoneman's raid, and died in Andersonville Prison November 11, 1863; Viola, wife of W. T. Fern, a farmer of Bloomfield Township; B. F., a farmer of Simpson Township; Ulich Z., a farmer of Missouri, recently deceased; Mary E., deceased wife of S. F. Yandell, who died in 1884, at the age of twenty-eight; Sarrillo, who died at the age of twenty-two; Martha Jane, who died six months later, when nearly twenty-one years old; and L. L., a farmer living on the old farm with his mother, and who, during the last three years, has been a Baptist clergyman.
George W. Smoot was reared on the farm, and secured a good common-school education. He began teaching school at the age of twenty-one years, and continued in this occupation for fifteen successive winters, of which six terms were taught in the same school. He was married when twenty-four years of age to Paralee Hailey, widow of W. R. Kelley, and a daughter of John T. and Nancy (Jones) Hailey. By her first marriage she had one daughter named Lizzie, who is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Hailey removed from Tennessee, in which State Mrs. Smoot was born, and located in Kentucky, where they remained some time, removing to Illinois in 1862. Mr. Hailey died on the homestead September 28, 1873, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. His widow, aged seventy, still lives, together with two sons and three daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Smoot removed to New Burnside in 1873, where they have lived ever since in their cozy little cottage. Mr. Smoot was formerly engaged in teaching and clerking up to 1882, and has since been connected with the fire insurance business, acting first as solicitor and then as recorder and district agent. He has been agent for various companies, and is without doubt one of the most successful agents in his line in this county. He has been Village Treasurer for eight years, is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and also a member of the Blue Lodge in Masonry, of which he is Secretary. Mr. and Mrs. Smoot are both members of the Baptist Church, and he has been clerk of his church for many years.

Extracted 21 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 281-282

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