Biography - Ulysses E. Smith

ULYSSES E. SMITH. To be called upon to serve his fellow citizens in many public capacities, and to perform those duties in a manner to win universal acclaim, has been the experience of Ulysses E. Smith, present postmaster of Metropolis. For many years he has been conspicuously connected with the official life of Massac county. Descended from Revolutionary and patriotic stock, he is a member of one of the pioneer families of that county. Mr. Smith was born in Massac county, December 28, 1866, and was reared in the community of New Columbia, where his youthful activities were dictated by his farm environment. His father is the Rev. Green W. Smith, whose life has been devoted to religious work as a missionary Baptist preacher, to his vocation as a farmer and in a public capacity as an officer of Massac county. Rev. Smith was born in Massac county, in 1846. Like Lincoln, his early education was won through his personal efforts and attendance at such subscription schools as were maintained from time to time in the neighborhood where he resided. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the United States navy and was assigned to a gunboat which operated on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers during the last year of the Civil war. He passed through the service without untoward incident, although he witnessed and participated in many stirring scenes, and returned to his old home to resume the peaceful occupation of farming.

His insight into Bible themes made him a powerful preacher. In this respect he followed the example of his father, Rev. Americus Smith, a pioneer Baptist preacher. The latter was born in South Carolina, in 1812, and came to Illinois in 1818, the year that it was admitted to the Union. He died in September, 1892. His father was a son of a Revolutionary soldier, and he entered land in Massac county and acquired title from the Government, which farm is now the property of his son, Green W. Smith. His father is also buried in this county and is believed to be the only soldier of the Revolution whose remains hallow its soil.

Americus Smith married a Miss Emerson, who died early in the Civil war period, and who was the mother of Green W.; Susan, who married K. L. Presgrove and died in Johnson county, Illinois; Rebecca, who became the wife of Carroll English and resides in that county; Mary, wife of Pleasant Thacker, of that county; and Margaret, wife of James Walker, of Metropolis. Green W. Smith married Elizabeth A. Morse, a daughter of Ulysses A. Morse, who came to Illinois from Princeton, Kentucky, where he married Laney Vickers. The children of Rev. and Mrs. Smith are: Elizabeth, wife of 0. R. Morgan, an attorney of Vienna, Illinois; Americus A., who is engaged in farming in Massac county; Rhoda, who is Mrs. J. H. Cagle, of Metropolis; and Calvin P., a farmer near the home community in Massac county. Rev. Green Smith was chosen by the Republican party of Massac county as assessor and treasurer, and filled the office one term, following which he was elected sheriff and served for four years. He then resumed the direction of his farm and the performance of his church duties, which made increasing demands upon his time.

Ulysses dropped into the routine that had ordered the lives of his ancestors as he grew to manhood and began to take his place in affairs. The common schools of the country round about New Columbia gave him his early education. He came to Metropolis in 1898, to take the deputyship under Sheriff John W. Evers, and during his four years' incumbency of the place became so conversant with its duties and responsibilities that he was nominated by the Republicans as the successor of Mr. Evers, was elected and served from December, 1903, to the same month in 1906, and on the eighteenth of January, 1907, he was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to be postmaster of Metropolis. He succeeded Fred R. Young, and was appointed for his second term on January 16, 1911, by President W. H. Taft.

In referring to his political life there is little to add to the references already made. He had served his party on county committees and in its general councils. In 1904 he was a delegate to the Republican state convention, and participated in its deliberations, being under county instructions for Gov. Richard Yates. His business connections show him to be a stockholder of the Central Pence and Machine Company, of Metropolis, and a director of the concern.

Mr. Smith was married in Johnson county, Illinois, November 22, 1885, his wife being Miss Alice Morgan, a daughter of B. R. Morgan and Julia (Lemons) Morgan, both natives of Rockingham county, North Carolina. Their family consisted of seven children. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Smith has been productive of Ray, who married Annie Teague, follows farming and has a son, William Edward; Inez, a High School student in Metropolis; and Clarence, who died in infancy. Since becoming postmaster Mr. Smith has seen the office raised to the second-class, and the rural delivery service extended by the addition of a fourth carrier. The office was denominated a postal savings institution in 1911.

Extracted 14 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 722-724.

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