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BIOS-Past & Present of Bureau Co. 1906 > Daniel P. Smith

13 Sep 2005


Daniel P. Smith, practically living retired on his fine farm in Ohio township, was at one time classed among the leading agriculturiests and stock-raisers of Bureau county. He was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, June 27, 1824, a son of Daniel and Electa (Pomeroy) Smith, the former born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 10, 1800, and the latter in Northampton, Massachusetts, September 15, 1801. They removed from their native state to Illinois in 1831, settling in Bureau county, where the father secured from the government a tract of land, which is now known as the Colonel Bryant farm. This continued to be the home of the family for a period of three years. The father's death occurred in 1831 and th mother subsequently sold the place and bought a farm north of Princeton, where she remained for about ten years. During this time our subject assisted her in the care and management of the home farm, and in 1848 she disposed of this place and removed to a farm in Ohio township, where her death occurred in 1878, when she had reached an advanced age.

Daniel P. Smith, whose name introduces this review, was reared to farm life, and after his father's death assisted his mother in the cultivation and management of her farming interests, until he engaged in business on his own account. He was educated in the common schools of Bureau county and later pursued a high-school course at Princeton. After his graduation he continued farming operations on the home place, and year by year as his financial resources increased he added to  his original holdings until at one time he was the owner of twelve hundred acres of land all in one body, and he also owned several hundred acres of land in other sections of the county. However, he has disposed of a considerable portion of  his land, dividing much of it among his children, to whom he has been very gererous. Aside from carrying on general farming Mrt. Smith also engaged quite extensively in raising and shipping cattle, which has been the means of bringing him a gratifying return.

Mr. Smith was first married in Bureau county, on the 15th of March, 1849, to Miss Rachel Matson, whose birth occurred September 5, 1829. She was a daughter of Peter Matson, one of the early settlers of Bureau county. She became the mother of seven children, as follows: Daniel W., who was born January 10, 1820, and died on the 22d of February following; Mary J., born August 26, 1852, and the wife of Leander Chambers; Prudence A., who was born November 4, 1853, and became the wife of Ira Kasbeer, her death occurring March 25, 1877; George W., born October 18, 1855; John M., born December 20, 1857;William N., born November 14, 1859.whose death  occurred February 13, 1906; and Daniel E., who was born August 13, 1867, and died October 25, 1905. The wife  and mother passed away October 26, 1874.

For his second wife Mr. Smith chose Mrs. Martha J. Bryant, the widow of N. J. Bryant, to whom he was married on the 3d of June, 1885.  Her birth occurred November 26, 1850. By her first marriage she has two children: May E. Bryant, born December 16, 1877; and Albert L. Bryant, born January 12, 1880. The father of these children passed away in 1883. Mrs. Smith is the daughter of Simeon and Mary (Headlee) Simpkins, both natives of Ohio, but who were married in this state, having removed to Bureau county about 1844. By her marriage to our subject she has become the mother of one daughter. Martha E., born October 3, 1890. Mr. Smith also has thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In his political views he is a repbulican, having cast his first presidential vote in 1845. He has always taken an active and helpful interest in political affairs, having been present at the convention held in Chicago in 1860, which nominated Abraham Lincoln as a candidate for the presidency. Manifesting a keen interest in affairs affecting the welfare of the state and nation, he has been called by his fellow townsmen to fill a number of political offices, and in this connection has served in the following offices; Township supervisor, five years; school director, seven years; road commissioner, three years; a member of the republican county committee, ten years; township republican committee, for several years; as a delagate to the county convedntion, twenty years; and he also served on the grand jury for several years. In all these positions he has displayed marked ability and excellent judgment in the management of the interest which were entrusted to his care. He and his family are membes of the Methodist Episcopal church, in the work of which they take a helpful interest.

Mr. Smith has led a very active life, in which he has manifested excellent business ability. He received his training at farm labor through the assistance which he rendered to his father in the care of the home place, so that when his mother was left a widow he was able to assume the management of her farming interests and later to engage in business on his own account. He now makes his home on the farm to which he removed with his mother in 1848, and here he has added many modern improvements, including a beautiful country home, which is surrounded by shade trees and substantial outbuildings, which are kept in good repair. He also engaged quite extensively in the raising and shipping of cattle, always keeping good grades of stock, and this branch of his business proved a very profitable one. By judicious investment of his capital he added to his original tract until at one time he owned twelve hundred acres in one body, besides having several hundred acres in other sections of the coutny. He has been mostliberal with his children, having divided among them over onehalf of his possessions. He also owns considerable bank stock, being now a director and one of the largest stock holders in the Farmers National Bank at Princeton, and is connected with a number of business enterprises of Bureau county. Mr. Smith has now passed the eighty-second milestone on life's journey, and having spent almost his entire life in Bureau county, has been identified with the development and progress that have here been made. He is vice president of the Agricultural Society of the county. He possesses a genial, kindly nature, is always courteous to those with whom he comes in contact either in a business or social way and is numbered among the highly respected and venerable citizens of his  township and county, where he is spending the evening of his days in the enjoyment of a well earned rest surrounded by all the comforts of life and the companionship of his wife and children.


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