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1900 Whiteside Bios > Richard Smith

RICHARD SMITH. Wherever there is pioneer work to be done, men of energy and ability are required, and success or failure denpends upon the degree of those qualities that is possessed. In wresting the land of Whiteside county from its native wilderness; in fitting it for the habitation of men' in developing the natural resources of the community in which they live, few if any have contributed more than Richard Smith, and it is meet and proper that for the arduous and important labor he has performed he should receive due reward. He has made his home in the county since 1838, and now owns and operates a good farm on section 1-, Tampico township, just north of the corporate limits of Tampico.
Mr. Smith was born in the town of Corinth, Orange county, Vermont, December 27, 1834, a son of Robert and Christiana (Lee) Smith, also natives of that state. In 1837 the father came to Whiteside county, Illinois, and was one of the first to locate on Coon Creek, near Prophetstown, taking up claim at Jefferson Corners. In 1838 he was joined by his family, but the following winter he met death by freezing while returning to his home from Dixon, having been there to  mill. He named Washington street below Prophetstown. later his widow married Samuel Johnson, who located on the Smith claim. The neighbors had erected for her a good log house upon the place (her husband having hauled the logs previous to his death), and she had commenced to improve and cultivate the land. Of her three children, Rinaldo died in the winter of 1838, but the others are still living. Lucy is the wife of Herbert Houston, a machinist of Pennsylvania. Richard completes the family.
Our subject grew to manhood in Prophetstown township, where he attended school, and later was a student at Lee Center for nearly a year. He remained with his mother until reaching manhood. In September, 1861, he joined the boys in blue of Company B, Thirty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and with the army of the Cumberland participated in the battles of Pittsburg Landing, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. He was in the raid on Knoxville, the charge on Buzzard Roost, the battles of Resaca and Kenesaw Mountain, and with his regiment was in the front ranks during the engagements of the Atlanta campaign. In the charge on Kenesaw Mountain, he was wounded in the hand. On the expiration of his three years' term of enlistment, he was honorably discharged at Atlanta, in September, 1864, and returned to his home to resume the more quiet pursuits of farm life.
At Sterling, in December, 1865, Mr. Smith was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie Horrie, who was born in New York, but came to this county when a child. To them have been born four children, namely, Clara, wife of Thomas Wicken, a farmer of Tampico township; Alfreter, at home; Rose, wife of Burton Brown, a farmer of Tampico township; and Mary, wife of Shular Stedman, who operates a farm adjoining our subject's place. They also have an adopted son, Frank Smith, whom they have reared from childhood.
After his marriage, Mr. Smith operated a rented farm for one season, and then engaged in teaming for a short time in Peru and La Salle. Subsequently he located on the land which his step=father had secured from the government for hi, it being an eighty=acre tract on section 9, Tampico Township, to which he has since added forty acres, and he Has transformed the place into a well-improved and highly cultivated farm. In 1882 he rented it and moved to South Dakota, where he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, built a good house thereon, and carried on farming there through three season. Renting that place in 1885, he returned to his old home in Whiteside county, and engaged in farming there for about ten years. In 1894 he bought his present farm, to which he removed the following spring, having sold the old homestead. He has made many substantial improvements upon his place, including the erection of a large barn, and has met with 4 excellent success in its operation.
On attaining his majority, Mr. Smith became identified with the Whig party and voted for Filmore, in 1856, but since then he has affiliated with the Republican party. While in South Dakota he served as highway commissioner, and has filled the office of school director, but has never cared for political preferment. He and his wife and daughter are members of the Tampico Baptist church, and he belongs to the Grand Army post and his wife to the Relief Corps. For sixty-five years he has made his home in this country and has witnessed its wonderful development; he has seen the deer and other wild game disappear, and the swamps and wild prairie land transformed into fine farms; and in the work of progress and up building he has borne an important part. As a veteran of the Civil War, and an honored pioneer, and a representative man of his community, he is worthy the high regard in which he is held and deserves prominent mention in hi county's history.

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