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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Gilbert H. Smith

Source: Portraits and Bios

Gilbert H. Smith, deceased, was one of the honored pioneers of Sheboygan County, within whose borders he made his home from 1847 until his death. He was born on the 25th of April, 1827, in Pulaski, Oswego County, N.Y., where he grew to manhood and received a common-school education. In 1846, though only nineteen years of age, he turned his face toward the setting sun, casting in his lot with the early settlers of the Territory of Wisconsin. Having spent some time at Port Washington, he came on to Holland Township, arriving at Amsterdam in 1847. Mr. Smith pre-empted a piece of Government land, which was then covered with a heavy growth of timber, and in order to get a patent from the Government fro the same, he walked all the way to Green Bay. The same determination and perseverance that prompted him to make that weary journey led hi to undertake the most difficult enterprises, and push them forward successfully to completion. Having partially cleared and improved his first tract of land, he kept buying additional farms, until at one time he owned some nine hundred acres. Soon after coming to this county, he established a fishery at Amsterdam, which he continued to operate as long as he lived, and in which his family still own an interest. By hard work and good management he accumulated a snug fortune, being considered one of the wealthiest men in this township.

Realizing the truthfulness of the statement, "It is not good for man to live alone," Mr. Smith was married, on the 9th of March, 1854, to Mrs. Minerva E. Oliver, daughter of Thaddeus and Betsey (Waugh) Harmon, who were pioneer settlers of Lyndon Township, as will be observed by reading their sketch, to be found elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Smith was born in Oswego County, N.Y., June 2, 1833, and when eleven years of age accompanied her parents to Sheboygan County, where they arrived August 25, 1844. In her native State she had enjoyed good educational facilities, and after coming to this county attended the district schools, and also the school at the village of Sheboygan. She well remembers their voyage on the propeller "Vandalia," which was three weeks in reaching Milwaukee, and also the trip from that city of ox-teams to the town of Lyndon, on the old Green Bay Road. She vividly recalls and relates interesting events of pioneer days. At her father's home her first marriage occurred, June 2, 1852, when she became the bride of Ellis Oliver, the wedding ceremony being performed by Rev. Hiram Marsh, a Congregational minister. Mr. Oliver was born in New Bedford, Mass., and in 1850 came to this county. Being a millwright by trade, he helped to build one of the first mills in the town of Lyndon. The wedded life of the young couple was very brief, as the husband died early in 1853, of consumption. He was a man of good educational qualifications and sterling worth. At the time of his death he was serving as Superintendent of the schools of Lyndon Township. Within a year Mrs. Smith was bride, mother and widow. The child of this marriage, Ellis C. Oliver, is a furniture dealer of Tacoma, Wash.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith were born eight children: Harmon G., who is the efficient Superintendent of the city water works in Lyons, Iowa; Jessie, who married Gerrett Stronks, of whom see sketch; Herbert, who assists in conducting the fishery business established by his father; Elmer Grant, who is a dentist, located at the corner of State and Harrison Streets, Chicago; Delos, who is in the fishery business with his brother; Leland C., who carries on the home farm; Arlisle and Roy K., who are at home.

In his political views, Mr. Smith was a staunch Republican, though he never sought or accepted places of public trust. He was man of honor and integrity, and one whom his fellow-citizens highly esteemed, but his inclinations, as well as his private interests, kept him out of public life. Mr. Smith was called to his final rest July 23, 1892. His death not only left a vacancy in the home, but also in the community where he had lived for so many years, and had become so well known. Mrs. Smith, who still makes her home on the old homestead, is well preserved in bodily as well as mental faculties. A lady of intelligence and culture, she exerts a refining influence over those with whom she is brought in contact. The home over which she presides is a comfortable and cheery one, in which kindness and hospitality permanently abide.


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Transcribed by: Mary Risseeuw

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