Jackson County

Biography - James Smith

JAMES A. SMITH, a well known resident of township 7, range 6, Randolph County, and a veteran of the late war, in which he did good service for his adopted country, was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, March 25, 1843. His father, Francis, was born in the same shire in 1801, but in 1848 came to the United States, locating in Randolph County, one-half mile from where our subject now resides. He was a calico printer by occupation in his native country, but after coming to this county engaged as a farmer. He died in 1881, in his eighty-first year, his wife dying soon after coming to this country. She bore the maiden name of Agnes Adams, and was the daughter of James and Catherine (Curlaw) Adams. She became the mother of two sons and two daughters, three of whom are still living: Catherine C, who is the wife of L. Douglas, deceased, and makes her home in Chester; Agnes A., who is the wife of C. A. Durant, and resides in St. Louis, Mo., and James A.

The subject of this life record received a splendid education, first attending the Harmon School near Chester, then the school in Chester, and later, in 1863, supplementing this by an attendance at the military- school at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis. He then enlisted in Company- L. Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry, and was mustered into service at Springfield, Ill. His first experience was at the Red River Expedition, and afterwards in the Camden Expedition under General Runnels, who had succeeded General Steele, his former commander. The regiment was mostly in Arkansas, and took part in the battles at Pea Ridge, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Poison Springs, Arkadelphia, Spoonville, besides many other minor skirmishes. During the fight at Poison Springs, Mr. Smith received four injuries in the left side, and when under charge at Brownville, his horse fell with him and fractured five ribs. He was sent back to Convalescent Camp to recover. Gen. Powell Clayton was his Brigade Commander, and is yet a very intimate friend of Mr. Smith. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and was mustered out October 4, 1865, at Springfield, Ill.

After the close of hostilities our subject returned to his farm, and has followed agricultural pursuits ever since. His splendid estate comprises two hundred acres, all of which are under a fine state of productiveness, and in which Mr. Smith takes great pride.

The marriage of our subject and Miss Johanna Douglas was solemnized February 9, 1870. Mrs. Smith is a daughter of Adam and Elizabeth (Reno) Douglas, who live near Chester, and who are of Scotch parentage. The children who have come to bless the union of our subject and his wife are named as follows: Adam F., Eugene, Agnes A., James A., Davis M., Ethel G., Charles A. and Lizzie. They are all at home, and have been given the best possible advantages for good educations. The Presbyterian Church finds in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their son Adam devoted members. The father is a member of Lodge No. 57, I. O. O. F., at Chester, and also belongs to Swanwick Post No. 212, G. A. R., at Chester. Politically he is a true blue Republican, and never fails to support the candidates of that party. He was honored by his fellowtownsmen with the gift of the office, of Census-taker in 1880, and has been Justice of the Peace and Road Commissioner for a number of years, proving himself well qualified for the positions by the able way in which he discharged the duties of his offices. Personally he is one of the most genial and companionable of men, strictly honorable in his dealings, and therefore highly regarded by all with whom he has to do.

David Smith, an elder brother of our subject, enlisted in the Tenth Illinois Infantry, in the same company with our subject, and took part in all the engagements with his regiment, always being found at his post of duty. After the close of the war he emigrated to Idaho, engaging in mining, and there died in 1878.

Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 410.

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