George W. Smith

GEORGE W. SMITH has been a respected resident of Raymond Township for a period of eleven years, and is pleasantly located on section 12, where he owns 160 acres of land, which he has cultivated intelligently and successfully, and raised some of the choicest crops of the Prairie State. Mr. S. was born in McNairy County, Tenn., Dec. 3, 1835. His parents were Joseph and Amy Smith, the former a native of Alabama, and the latter born near Richmond, Va. The father of our subject was a free man, and in early life removed from Alabama to Tennessee, where he was reared to manhood. The mother, born in slavery, was sold when a little girl to a man named Cooper, with whom she removed to Tennessee. After his death the mother and her seven children were sold to a man named Jesse Walsh, with whom she remained until her death, which occurred in June, 1849. Her five sons and two daughters were afterward sold to different masters and remained in slavery until emancipated. One son served as a soldier in the 3d United States Heavy Artillery, and died in Memphis in the spring of 1865. The balance of the family were scattered about to parts unknown, our subject being only aware of the whereabouts of one sister, Mrs. Jennie Anderson, who resides near Bell Station, Boone Co., Tenn. The father is still living and a resident of Mississippi, where he owns 320 acres of land.

Our subject was born while his mother was in the Cooper family, and was nine years old when she was sold to Mr. Walsh. He was then separated from her and became the property of Alexander McCullough, of McNairy County, Tenn. His old master is still living and is now nearly one hundred years old. Our subject remained with Mr. McC. until 1862, when he escaped and joined the Union army. At the battle of Shiloh he was a guide for the regiment of Gen. Logan from Corinth to Jackson, Miss., and was afterward detailed as a scout to disarm rebels in that locality. His unusual intelligence recommended him to the officers of the Union army, and he was subsequently proffered the post of Provost Marshal at Jackson, Tenn., and also the office of Adjutant General in the same place.

In the fall of 1863 Mr. Smith came to Springfield, Ill., with Gen. John A. McClernand, and remained with this gentleman in and around that city for a period of thirteen years. In 1876 he came into this county and rented a tract of land which he cultivated one season, and in the fall purchased eighty acres of his present farm, which amount of land he afterward doubled, and now owns a quarter section. He has always been industrious and straightforward in his dealings, and has come honestly by his possessions.

While living in Springfield Mr. Smith formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Mary Eliza (Oglesby) Gains, whom he married in March, 1866. Mrs. S. was born of free parents in Fairfield District, S. C., and who were by name William Wesley and Nancy Oglesby. In 1848 the family made all preparations for a removal to Illinois, when the father was taken violently ill and died within a few days. Mrs. Oglesby in due time completed her preparations for coming North, and, accompanied by a brother and her four children, reached Illinois and located in Carlyle, Clinton County. The mother afterward died in that county. Three of her children are still living. One daughter married Elias Rollins and died in Springfield, in 1876. The living are John D., of St. Joseph, Mo.; Monroe, a resident of Springfield, Ill., and Mary E., Mrs. Smith of our sketch. The wife of our subject by her first marriage became the mother of one child, a son, Albert A. Of her union with our subject there have been born six children -- Fred. Salona E., Charles. Anna S., Walter William and John M. Mr. Smith is Republican in politics, and a citizen held in high respect for his intelligence as a farmer and his worthiness as a member of the community.

Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, ILL. Written and published by the Chapman Brothers, Chicago, IL, 1887, Pages 478-479, submitted by Leslie Rankin




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