Elder Jonathan Smith, the subject of this sketch takes high rank among the early pioneer preachers of Daviess county. To such men as he, who endured the hardships and privations of the early days, and lightened ‘the labors of himself and neighbors by the cheerful rays of scriptural light, much of the progress of the county is due.
Jonathan Smith was born in Washington county, Tennessee, December 9, 1805. His father, Richard Smith, was a native of Virginia, and served his country in the War of the Revolution; he died in Franklin county, Indiana, in July, 1840, aged eighty-nine years. When our subject was two years old his parents removed from Tennessee to Kentucky, and thence to Franklin county, Indiana, in 1811, and while living here his father rendered efficient service in the suppression of the Indian troubles which agitated that portion of the country in the early days. In the Hoosier State our subject grew to manhood, his time being employed upon his father’s farm and in securing such education as the subscription schools of that day afforded. He early showed a liking for the ministry, and gave his leisure moments to the careful study of the sacred precepts and commands of the Bible. In 1840 he removed with his family to Missouri and located in this county and engaged in farming. Shortly after his arrival he became a licensed preacher of the Baptist Church, and in 1841 was regularly ordained into the ministry of that church, and has ever since continued to labor in his chosen path. He still resides upon the same clearing where years ago he erected, with infinite toil, his rude log cabin home.
Mr. Smith was united in marriage, on the 29th of December, 1829, to Miss Catherine Stafford, who was born September 26, 1805. After becoming the mother of eleven children, all of whom she reared to manhood and womanhood, she departed this life, November 6, 1877, at a good old age, sincerely mourned by her relatives and friends. Of the eleven children, seven survive to comfort their father in his old age; namely, James, Aaron, Gideon, Elizabeth, John E., Wilson T., and Eliza. Those deceased were named, respectively, Richard, Judah A., Mary and Sarah. Elder Smith still enjoys good health for one of his advanced years.