Pulaski County

Biography - Henry Smith

HENRY M. SMITH. Long and faithful service of the most unselfish and high-minded order marked the career of the late H. M. Smith, prominent. in the political and other activities of Pulaski county for forty years, and a resident of the state of Illinois since he was a lad of ten until the time of his death, which occurred in 1898. Never a politician, but always deeply interested in the best welfare of the Republican party, whose adherent he was, he was called by the people to fill various important offices within their gift, and as the incumbent of those offices he labored honestly and with a singleness of purpose which proved him to be a man of intrinsic worth, well fitted to be employed in the services of the community in which he lived and moved.

Judge Smith was born in Newberry District, South Carolina, May 3, 1820. He was the son of Daniel Lee Smith, a native of Virginia, who settled in South Carolina in early life and there married Elizabeth Hampton. They came to Illinois in 1830, located in Pulaski county, where Daniel L. Smith opened a farm. His death occurred in 1857, one year previous to the death of his wife. They reared a family of five children: Eliza J., who married John Carnes; Elizabeth, who became the wife of William Carnes; H. M., of this review; James G., and Julia, who died as the wife of Dow Smith.

As a boy and youth, H. M. Smith acquired a passing fair education in the schools of Pulaski county, and between seasons of schooling was his father's assistant on the farm until 1842, when he entered the employ of Captain Hughes, continuing thus for two years at Lower Caledonia. In 1844, when he was just twenty-four years of age, he was elected sheriff of Pulaski county on the Democratic ticket and served four years in that office. In 1852 he was returned to fill the position of county judge, but after one year of service he resigned and began the study of law in the offices of Hon. John Dougherty and in 1857 was admitted to the bar in Caledonia. He immediately entered upon the practice of the law, and was more or less identified with the profession in the capacity of attorney for the remainder of his life. In 1860 he was elected circuit clerk and so well did he conduct the affairs of that office that he was retained until 1868, after which he led the life of a private citizen for four years, intent upon the practice of his profession. In 1872 Judge Smith was chosen state 's attorney for the county and served in that important capacity for a period of four years. Then followed another brief term of official inactivity covering three years, when he was again chosen by the voters of Pulaski county for the office of county judge, and he filled that office by successive elections until 1886, when he severed his connection with public life and retired to his store and other private interests. During all the years of his political activity Judge Smith had been conducting a store in Olmstead; or it might be more correct to say that while he was connected with public affairs his wife managed the store, thus relieving him of a deal of responsibility that must otherwise have been a drag upon him, and rendered less efficient his wholly worthy service. Although Judge Smith began his political career as a supporter of the Democratic cause, the issues of the Civil war period caused him to transfer his allegiance to the Republican party, and he was the faithful supporter of that party throughout the remainder of his life. Although he filled many important offices in his day, Judge Smith was never an office seeker. It is an undeniable fact that he never made a canvass in his own behalf, never contributed toward a fund to influence votes for any candidate, and that when he was a candidate he remained in his office throughout the campaign and accepted the result of the election as the sincere expression of the wish of the people. He was ever an independent and conscientious man, and his attitude towards any subject was ever consistent with his naturally high-minded and honorable instincts. He belonged to no church, and never identified himself with any society or organization save the Masons, being a member of Caledonia Lodge, No. 47.

Four times did Judge Smith enter upon matrimony. His first wife was Lucinda Wogan, who left one son. His second wife, Sarah Burton, bore him a son and daughter: Hulda E., who married Thomas Smalley and is a resident of Springfield, Missouri; and Lucius C., who married Hester Magee, and is now deceased, leaving a family. The third wife of Judge Smith was Elizabeth Barber, who died without issue, and in June of 1861 he married Mrs. Sarah Little. She was a daughter of Isaac K. Swain, a native of Virginia, who was the son of Dr. Chas. Swain. Dr. Swain later moved to Kentucky as a pioneer of that section and died in Ballard county. Isaac K. Swain married Lucy Henderson, a North Carolina lady, who pased away in Ballard county, Kentucky, as did her husband. Mrs. Smith was born in Ballard county, Kentucky, in 1834, on October 16th, and is the oldest child of her parents, the others being: Joseph and Jeremiah, who died in their youth; Isaac N., who at his death left one son; Judson K. resides at Herington, Kansas; Calista married James White; Mildred married Russell B. Griffin and died leaving one daughter; Lucy, the wife of Raymond Griffin, deputy county surveyor of Pulaski county; and Marion C. Swain, living in Mississippi. Mrs. Smith's first husband was John Muffet, by whom she is the mother of Betty, the wife of Malcolm McDonald, of Enid, Oklahoma. As the wife of Judge Smith she was the mother of four children. They are: H. M., who died in 1902; Sarah, who passed away in childhood; Belle, the wife of George Bullock, of Marston, Missouri, and Myra, the wife of James Ray Weaver, of Mounds, Illinois.

Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 1070-1071


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