Search billions of records on


Among the prominent citizens of Brown county is Hon. Henry A. Smith, who for two terms represented his district in the state legislature, and upon the battle-fields of the south loyally "represented" the Union cause. It is a well-attested maxim that the greatness of the state lies not in its machinery of government, nor even in its institutions, but in the sterling qualities of its individual citizens, and their capacity for high and unselfish effort and their devotion to the public good. Most loyal in his support of every measure which he believed would promote the welfare, the prosperity and upbuilding of the commonwealth, Mr. Smith therefore deserves mention among the citizens of Kansas who have been an honor to the state by which they have been honored.

He was born in Peoria county, Illinois, April 13, 1845. His father, Robert Smith, was a native of Kentucky, and a representative of one of the old southern families. His birth occurred March 25, 1818, and he was the son of James and Margaret (Davis) Smith. They, too, were natives of Kentucky, and the former served as a soldier in the war of 1812. In 1834 he removed with his family to Fulton county, Illinois, where they remained for a year, when they went to Peoria county, same state. Robert Smith, the father of our subject, was a lad of fifteen years when his parents took up their abode in this state, and he aided his father in the cultivation of the home farm until he attained his majority, when he was married, in Peoria county, to Miss Matilda Hogg, a daughter of John W. Hogg and a cousin of Etrick Shepherd. Her father was a native of Scotland, and in that country wedded Miss Sarah B. Cowan, hose birth occurred in London. In 1836 they crossed the Atlantic to the New World, taking up their abode in Peoria county, Illinois. Later they came to Brown county, Kansas, where Mr. Hogg died, in 1862. They had five children, namely: John F., who died in 1898 and was a soldier during the Mexican war; Sarah M. and Isabella H., both deceased; Mrs. Smith and Ellen A. Unto Robert Smith and his wife were born nine children, of whom three are now living, namely: Sarah M., wife of Joseph H. McClurg, of Turin, Reno county, Kansas; Henry A., of this review; and Mrs. Rosa M. Kinder. Those who have passed away are Celestia E., who died at the age of ten years; Leonard M., Robert Eugene, Joseph Newton, John W. and James F. The father died January 25, 1892, at the age of seventy-four years. He was an early settler in northeastern Kansas, and as a man popular among his friends and neighbors. His early political support was given to the Whig party, and after its dissolution he joined the ranks of the new Republican party, which he supported through his remaining days. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church.

Henry Askew Smith was a youth of sixteen years when, with his father, he came to Kansas. He is indebted to the public-school system for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. During the Civil war he entered his country's service, enlisting on July 26, 1862, in response to President Lincoln's call for three hundred thousand men. He became a member of Company H, Thirteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, under the command of Colonel T. M. Bowen, a well-known and gallant officer, who later was elected United States senator from Colorado; and the commander of the company was Captain O. H. McCauley, now of Denver. The regiment was stationed in southern Missouri, Arkansas and Texas, and at the close of the war Mr. Smith was honorably discharged, July 28, 1865.

Returning to his home in Brown county, he remained there until 1868, when he went west, engaging in the freighting business. In 1 871 he returned in(sic) Brown county, and is to-day the owner of one of the most valuable farms in this section of the state. The property comprises three hundred and twenty acres in Mission township, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation. Upon the place are two fine orchards and some natural timber. The farm is well watered by a stream which flows through it, and the residence is a modern one, surrounded by a well-kept and beautiful lawn, Everything about the place is neat in appearance, and indicates the careful supervision and progressive spirit of the owner.

At Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 24, 1869, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Anna B. Grow, a daughter of Henry Grow, of Salt Lake City. They had one child, Celestia Fortella, who died at the age of eleven months. In 1872 the mother was called to her final rest, and, on July 4, 1874, Mr. Smith was again married, the lady of his choice being Mary A. Cornelius, a native of Illinois and a daughter of G. H. and Eleanor J. (Morris) Cornelius. Her father died in the United States service at Quincy, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Smith became the parents of eight children, namely: Bertha E., the wife of Charles Miller, of Mission township, Brown county, Kansas; Bertie M., now the wife of Fred Hoffman, of Hiawatha; Algernon B., Harold T., Kenneth W., Muriel A., Hazel M. and Leslie McKinley.

Since casting his first presidential vote for General Grant Mr. Smith has been a stanch supporter of the Republican party. He keeps well informed on the issues of the day, and is therefore able to uphold his position by intelligent argument. He does all in his power to promote the growth and secure the success of the party, and his labors have been very effective. For twenty-seven years he has served as a member of the school board, and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend whose efforts have resulted in advancing the standard of the schools in this locality. In 1897, he was elected to the state legislature and so capably served his county that he was re-elected on the expiration of his first term. He has given careful and earnest consideration to all questions coming up for attention, and his public record has been a satisfactory and honorable one. For some time he has been a member of the Masonic lodge of Hiawatha, and he and his family are members of the United Brethren church. Their home is noted for its hospitality, the members occupying enviable positions in social circles. As an agriculturist, a citizen and public official Mr. Smith has won the confidence and support of those with whom he has come in contact, and no history of Brown county would he complete without the record of his life.