Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 523
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
William Smith is an honored and respected citizen of Rice county, who since pioneer days has made his home within its borders and has ever borne his part in the work of development and upbuilding. He has seen great changes and has witnessed the wonderful transformation as wild lands have been converted into fine farms and as towns and villages have been builded, thus introducing into this section of the state all of the industries, commercial enterprises and indications of civilization known to the older east.
Mr Smith is among the residents of Rice county that Kentucky has furnished to the Sunflower state. He was born in Cumberland county, Kentucky, January 18, 1820, and is a son of James Smith, whose birth occurred near Baltimore, Maryland. The family is of English and Scotch descent and was founded in the new world at an early day. Samuel Smith, the grandfather of our subject, was also a native of Maryland, and during the early boyhood of his son James he removed with his wife and children to North Carolina, where he spent the residue of his life. His wife also passed away in that state. James Smith, the father of our subject, was reared to manhood upon a farm in North Carolina, and when he had reached years of maturity he wedded Miss Job, a native of that state and a representative of one of its early and distinguished families. After the birth of two of their children Mr and Mrs Smith removed to Kentucky, traveling in the primitive manner of the times, when the journey to the Blue Grass state was made over the mountains on pack horses. They settled in Cumberland county, Kentucky, and at an early period in the development of that state were identified with its improvement and upbuilding. They had a family of nine children, - Samuel, Jane, Thomas, Levi, Ruth, James Job, who is now living in Lyons, John, William and Elijah.
William Smith, whose name introduces this record, was a youth of nine years when the family removed to Morgan county, Illinois, taking up their abode there in 1829. Subsequently the parents went to Madison county, Iowa, where the father passed away at the age of seventy-four years. The mother reached the age of seventy-three years. They were farming people, who lived industrious and honorable lives, in harmony with their professions as members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
William Smith spent the greater part of his youth on the home farm in Morgan county, Illinois, and assisted in the arduous labors of establishing a home in the midst of the wild western district. His lot was one of early toil. He was taught to be honest, to be industrious and to be fair in all his dealings with his fellow men, and the lessons which he learned in his youth he has followed throughout his entire career and has thus commanded and enjoyed the respect of those with whom he has been associated. He pursued his literary education in a log school-house, with greased-paper windows and primitive furnishings. The building was heated by an immense fireplace, which occupied almost the entire end of the room. The years passed and at the age of twenty he was united in marriage to Martha J Murphy, an orphan girl. Their married life, however, was of short duration, for she died at the age of twenty years, leaving a little daughter, Mary. On the 22nd of April, 1852, Mr Smith was again married, in Morgan county, Illinois, his second union being with Miss Ellen Hollingshead, with whom he has now traveled life’s journey for almost a half century. Together they have shared the joys and sorrows, the adversity and prosperity which checker the careers of all. Mrs Smith was born in New Jersey, in November, 1828, a daughter of Joseph L and Mary C (Ogden) Hollingshead. Her father was born in New Jersey, of English parentage, and her mother was a native of New York. They had four children: Maurice L, Mrs Smith, Henry and one now deceased. The mother of this family died in early life, being buried on the twenty-seventh anniversary of her birth. Mr Hollingshead afterward married again, and by the second union had a daughter, Mary C. In an early day he carried on merchandising at Oak Grove Furnace, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but later turned his attention to farming and spent his remaining days in Mt Pleasant, Iowa. For many years he was a consistent and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church. By the marriage of Mr and Mrs Smith six children were born: Joseph H, a resident farmer of Rice county; W T, who follows farming in Mitchell township, Rice county; Martha J, wife of G W Conner, who is also living in Mitchell township; F R, a physician who resides in Little River, Kansas; R H, a popular and successful teacher now located in Mitchell; and E O, a practicing physician at Marquette, McPherson county, Kansas.
William Smith maintained his residence in Morgan county, Illinois, for many years and then removed to Cass county, where he resided in 1858. That year witnessed his removal to Madison county, Iowa, where he was numbered among the early settlers. He took an active part in public affairs, was elected county commissioner and was a member of the board at the time the courthouse was erected. During the Civil war he responded to the country’s call for aid, in 1864, and joined the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, as a member of Company F, under command of Captain Job Throckmorton and Colonel Bellmont. He joined General Sherman’s army at Maryville, Georgia, and afterward was honorably discharged, on account of physical disability, at Savannah, Georgia, his discharge papers being signed by Dr Dungleson and General Gilmore, and the document was forwarded to him at Fairfax, Virginia, where he was in the hospital. He then returned to his home in Madison county, Iowa, but in 1874 came to Rice county, Kansas, casting his lot with its early settlers. He located on a claim of one hundred and sixty acres where he resided until his retirement from business life in 1892, at which time he took up his abode in Lyons, where he now makes his home. His energy, capable management and keen discrimination in business affairs during his long and active connection with agricultural interests brought to him a handsome competence which now supplies him with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. Mr Smith was converted by the Rev. Peter Cartwright at a camp-meeting sixty-four years ago, and throughout this long period has been a consistent and zealous member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as class-leader for a half a century. His political support has been given the Republican party, and the cause of education, of temperance and of religion have found in him a warm friend. He has now reached the very advanced age of eighty-two years, but time has dealt kindly with him, as it does with all who abuse not the laws of nature. In manner he is frank and genial, and his upright and honorable life has gained for him the esteem of all with whom he has been brought in contact. He receives the veneration which should ever be accorded one of advanced age, and in the evening of life he can look back over the past without regret and forward to the future without fear.