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Rankin Family History Project

Francis S. Smith


Francis S. Smith, a general merchant and postmaster at Brewer, Mo., is the only survivor of four children born to the marriage of Samuel Smith and Jane Thomas, the former of German, and the latter of English lineage. The parents were married in Illinois, where the father died when Francis S. was a mere lad.

In 1844, his widow, with her four children: James H., Cornelius T., Eliza A., and Francis S., came to Missouri and located in Stoddard County. Two years later they came to Perry County, settling first on Apple Creek, but later removing to Bois Brule bottoms, where the mother remained the rest of her life.

Francis S. was born on August 7, 1835, in Jackson County, Ill. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1874, when he sold his land, and began merchandising at Eureka, continuing until 1876, when he sold his stock and removed to Brewer and established his present general mercantile business. He can justly claim the distinction of being the first merchant in the town, and the first postmaster, having been commissioned by President Arthur in May 1884.

On February 17, 1859, he was united in marriage with Mary C. Kinnison, at the residence of her mother in Perry County. One child was born to their union, William Francis, who was taken from them by death when nineteen years of age, just as he was entering manhood.

Mr. Smith is now doubly bereaved, his wife having died on December 12, 1887. She was a devoted member of the Catholic Church. Mr. Smith is left without family, but has a multitude of friends who esteem and honor him.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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