George Osborne Smith, a well known citizen of Topeka and a Kansas pioneer, is the descendant of Scotch ancestors and of one of New England's oldest and most prominent Revolutionary families. James Paterson, born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1664, a member of a family that had been prominent in Scotland for a considerable period, came to the American colonies and settled at Wethersfleld, Conn. His son, John, born Feb. 14, 1708, was a man of uncommon ability and refinement and became a very prominent citizen of Farmington, Conn., whither he removed from Wethersfield. As a soldier he rose to the rank of major in the British army during the French and Indian wars, in which he served with great distinction. He died Sept. 5, 1762, with the record of having been one of the most brilliant of colonial military men. John Paterson, the son of John just mentioned, was born in 1744. He was fitted for college in his native town of Farmington and graduated from Yale College in 1762; the year after, the order was given to issue "writs of assistance," the order which aroused such indignation in the New England colonies and helped to bring on the Revolution. He adopted law and soon became distinguished in his profession. Later he removed to Lenox, Berkshire county, Mass., where he became one of the most prominent men of the Massachusetts colony, a member of the Continental Congress during the Revolution, his legal abilities being of great service there, and was one of the most valiant soldiers of the Continental army. He attained the rank of major-general under General Ward, and was in continuous service from May 29, 1775, until December, 1883one of the most efficient of the Revolutionary officers and a trusted counselor of Washington. His daughter Ruth, born Aug. 6, 1774, married Ira Seymour and they became the grandparents of our subject.
George Osborne Smith of this review was born in Whitney's Point, N. Y., Dec. 9, 1845, the son of John David and Emma (Seymour) Smith, the former of whom was born near Binghamton, N. Y., Feb. 10, 1804, and the latter at Whitney's Point, N. Y., Oct. 25, 1803. The father died in Topeka, Kan., in March, 1887, having been preceded in death many years by his wife, who passed away Dec. 11, 1855, at Whitney's Point, N. Y. George O. Smith was reared to manhood in his native state and received his education in the local schools of his community. He also clerked in various stores in Whitney's Point during his youth. When the Civil war broke out, Dr. Charles Seymour, a cousin of Mr. Smith and a resident of New York City, was placed in charge of the Brooklyn City Hospital, and later had charge of the quartermaster's hospital in Nashville, Tenn. There he was joined by Mr. Smith, then still a youth, who, after remaining in Tennessee till the close of the war, returned to his New York home and for several years thereafter assisted his father in the labors of the farm. In the spring of 1870 he came to Kansas and located at Topeka, where his brother-in-law, the late Judge Handy, resided. He began farming for himself on the farm of Judge Handy and remained there through the year of 1870. In the spring of 1874 he associated himself with John D. Knox in the grocery business in Topeka, but sold his interest in the business to Mr. Knox in the fall of 1875 and went to Georgetown, N. Mex., where he engaged in mining with his brother, David S. Smith, who had preceded him there two years. Mr. Smith continued the mining business very successfully until 1887, when he sold his interests and returned to Topeka. While in New Mexico he controlled a large cattle ranch, which is still in operation and is conducted by the G. O. S. Cattle Company, in which Mr. Smith retained his interest until in very recent years. The ranch is twenty miles square. At the time Mr. Smith disposed of his interests in it he sold 300 horses and 8,000 head of cattle bearing his brand. Three-fourths of the herd were Hereford cattle, and in 1911 the company added 125 head of blooded Herefords. Ill health required him to discontinue active business duties and he now lives retired at his pleasant home at the corner of Topeka and Fifth avenues in Topeka.
In 1872 he and his brother, David S., built the third house in Dodge City, Kan., but they remained there only a few months. When Mr. Smith first went to New Mexico he left the railroad at a point near Trinidad, Col., and completed the remainder of the journey, a distance of some 800 miles, overland by United States mail stage. There is little of frontier life with which he is not familiar through his experiences in Kansas and other portions of the Southwest during those early days, and none knows better than he of the remarkable changes that have taken place in the great commonwealth of Kansas in the past forty years. On Nov. 7, 1879, Mr. Smith wedded Miss Eva Baker, the daughter of Sidney D. and Laura (Edwards) Baker, of Bloomington, Ill., and like her husband, the descendant of stanch Revolutionary stock. Mrs. Smith was born Aug. 24, 1859, at Leroy, Ill., where her parents, both born near Marietta, Ohio, were married. They removed from Illinois to Council Grove, Kan., in the '80s and lived there until their respective deaths, the father's death having occurred on March 4, 1907, and the mother's on July 25, 1901. They were the parents of two children: Frank W. Baker, now a farmer and stockman at Council Grove, Kan., and Eva, the wife of Mr. Smith. Sidney D. Baker was a merchant. His mother, Susanna Morgan Dodge, was descended from the Revolutionary hero, Capt. John Dodge, who assisted Paul Revere in spreading the Lexington alarm in 1775. Captain Dodge was born in Beverly, Mass., and entered the Continental army from Danvers, Mass., as a private. Later he served as lieutenant and still later as captain of Isaiah Hutchinson's Company. The Dodge family is one of the oldest in New England and is of English descent. The progenitors of the family in England belonged to the gentry and possessed a coat-of-arms. Three brothers of that name John, William and Phineassettled at Beverlynow a part of Salem, Mass. They landed on American soil June 29, 1629, having been passengers on the "Lion's Whelp," one of four vessels accompanying the Mayflower on her second voyage. The three brothers were the guests of Governor Endicott on their first Sunday in the new land. It is from John Dodge that that branch of the family is descended to which Mrs. Smith belongs. John Dodge, of the fifth generation of the direct line of descent in America, married Bethiah Conant, the lineal descendant of Roger and Sarah Conant, immigrants to America in 1623. Said Roger Conant was the first governor of Lancaster county of Cape Ann, and was judge of the first criminal court ever held in this country. The Dodges founded the first church at Beverly, and the old Dodge homestead there is still preserved; seven of the Dodges served in the Revolutionary war. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have in their possession a complete record of the military services of their ancestors and relatives in the Revolution and both are eligible to membership in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs. Smith was reared in Illinois and received her education at the Illinois Wesleyan University. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two children: Emma, born Sept. 29, 1887, who is now the wife of Irving M. Platt, city attorney of Junction City, Kan.; she is a graduate of the Topeka High School and of the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan; David B. Smith, born Sept. 13, 1888, who was educated in the Topeka schools and at various of the state schools and is now engaged in the real estate business at El Paso, Tex.; he married Miss Grace Mead of McPherson, Kan., in 1909.
Mr. Smith is a Republican in politics and served as commissioner of Grand county, New Mexico, while residing there. He is a Thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. Mrs. Smith is a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and of the Nineteenth Century Club of Topeka.Pages 1445-1447 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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