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Biography of David J. Smith
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DAVID J. SMITH, general merchant and farmer of Walnut Shade, Taney County, Missouri, is emphatically a business man, the leading points of his character being energy, quick conception and an excellent judgment of men and their motives. No man in the county occupies a higher position for energy, enterprise, public spirit, integrity and business rectitude than he. This worthy gentleman first saw the light in Madison County, Illinois, in 1838, and is a son of Jason and Elizabeth (Forbis) Smith, natives of McMinn County, Tennessee, the father born in 1799, and the mother in 1803. The father never attended school but one day in his life, but by his own efforts obtained a fair education. He was married in his native State, and at an early date removed to Madison County, Illinois, where he made his home until 1872. He then came to Taney County, where he and wife died in 1880, she in March and he in June, after a happy married life of over half a century. In every walk of life Mr. Smith was honest and straightforward, and although not a professor of religion, he was foremost in all good work and assisted in organizing the first Sunday-school at Walnut shade. He was a blacksmith by trade, but also followed farming through life. At the time of his death he was postmaster at Walnut Shade. He was the only son born to his parents, but had two or three sisters. His father, who was of Welsh descent, probably spent his entire life in Tennessee, engaged in tilling the soil. The maternal grandfather, David Forbis, was also a farmer and spent all his days in Tennessee. The five children born to our subject’s parents were named as follows: Marion, of Denver, Colo.; Elbert, a farmer, died in Madison County, Illinois; David J., subject; a daughter died when two years of age; and Cynthia E.., the wife of Isaac Buckman, died in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The early scholastic training of our subject was received in the common schools of Madison County, Illinois, and he remained with his parents, assisting on the farm and in the shop, until the decease of both. In 1862 he went to Colorado, but came back to Madison County shortly afterward, and in 1863 again returned to Colorado, where he remained until after the war, engaged in mining. Returning to Illinois he remained under the parental roof until 1872, when he came to Taney County and has followed merchandising and farming ever since. He is now the owner of 270 acres on Bull Creek at the mouth of Bear, and is classed among the foremost farmers of that section. In 1881 he married Miss Mary E. St. Clair, daughter of James and Emiline St. Clair, who came from Tennessee to Taney County at an early day. There Mr. St. Clair, who was a farmer by occupation, died about ten years ago, or in 1884. He was a Federal soldier. Mrs. St. Clair is still living. To our subject and wire have been born five children. Mr. Smith was post-master at Walnut Shade for a number of years. He is a member of Highlandville Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 321, and has filled all the chairs. He has always been a Democrat in politics and voted for Douglas in 1860. He is not an office seeker or politician, but is an earnest supporter of his party.
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