THOMAS BENTON SMITH
A public-spirited citizen of Grasshopper township, Atchison county, is Thomas Benton Smith, who takes commendable interest in everything pertaining to the upbuilding and development of this region. He has held several local offices and has used his influence on behalf of new industries, good government, schools and improvements of all kinds befitting an enterprising community in these last days of the nineteenth century.
His father, William J. Smith, was reared to manhood in Pennsylvania, his native state. There he married Lucinda Barkley, whose father was a soldier in the war of 1812, serving under the leadership of the gallant General Greene. Only four of the children born to W. J. Smith and wife now survive, namely: Mrs. Margaret Pugh, of Indiana; Alvah, who is a hero of the Civil war, having served in the One Hundred and Fifty-first Illinois Infantry, and now resides in Franklin county, Kansas; Mrs. Lucinda Spangler, of Edward, Oklahoma, and Thomas Benton. Isaac is deceased; Joseph died in 1880, and William R. passed away at his home in Bureau county, Illinois. The mother departed this life in 1864, when sixty-two years of age, and the father followed her to the silent land in the spring of 1869.
The birth of Thomas Benton Smith occurred August 16, 1843, in Grant county, Indiana, and was eight years of age when the family removed to Bureau county, Illinois. There he attended the public schools and for some time pursued his higher studies in the Dover (Illinois) Academy. The dread Civil war then came on and at the second call of Lincoln for volunteers he enlisted in Company B, Ninety-third Illinois Infantry, under command of Captain Holden Putnam and Colonel J. N. Hopkins. During his army life Mr. Smith took part in a number of decisive or important battles and campaigns, among others, those of Jackson, Mississippi, and Dalton, Georgia. In October, 1864, while serving in General McPherson's corps, he was present at the battle of Champion Hills, sustaining a severe wound in the left shoulder. At the close of his service he received an honorable discharge and returned to his old home in Illinois.
In January, 1866, occurred the marriage of Mr. Smith and Mary Woodruff, who is a native of New York and is a daughter of Nathan and Delia Woodruff. Of the nine children who blessed the union of our subject and wife, three have been called to the better land. Charles E. is engaged in the grain business at Effingham, and Albert A. is associated with him. the brothers running a large elevator and being considered young men of exceptional ability and enterprise. Thomas Benton, Jr., is a student at the county high school.. Alice May is the wife of M. E. Bevan, of this township; and Blanche is the wife of Harry Reece, also of this locality. Angie is at home with her parents; Grace died in her third year; Goldie was seven at the time of her death; Lottie, wife of W. D. Beven, is also deceased. To his children Mr. Smith has given good educational advantages. Charles E., who attended Campbell University at Holton, Kansas, subsequently taught school for several terms.
In his political faith Mr. Smith is an uncompromising Republican. He has served his fellow citizens as township trustee for some four years and was a high-school trustee for two years. Fraternally he belongs to McFarland Post, G. A. R., of Muscotah, and is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Religiously he and his estimable wife are Congregationalists, actively interested in the spreading of the gospel of righteousness, peace and good will toward mankind. For many years Mr. Smith has lived in Atchison county,. Kansas, during this period having owned and cultivated the valuable homestead where he may be found to-day. It comprises one hundred and sixty acres, well improved with commodious barns and buildings. The family residence is an attractive home-like place, and is furnished in excellent taste. Good judgment and enterprise have characterized all the undertakings of Mr. Smith and success is his to-day as a result of industry and diligence.