THOMAS H. SMITH. The prosperity of any locality depends almost solely upon the character of the people who inhabit it, and if the citizens are pushing, energetic and intelligent the country will prosper accordingly. Tennessee has given to Missouri many of her most progressive and prosperous citizens, prominent among whom is Thomas H. Smith, who is a product of Marion County, where he was born on August 7, 1850, a son of Ransom and Mary (Hendricks) Smith, the former of whom was born in Campbell County, April 7, 1820, and the latter in Marion County April 14, 1826, both of Tennessee.
Ransom Smith was taken to Marion County by his father, Thomas Smith, when he was about four years of age, and still resides on the old home farm on which the father settled. The great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Ransom Smith, was born in the Old North State and was a soldier of the Revolution. He was at one time a man of wealth, but he lost heavily through becoming security for his friends and afterward, with his sole possessions in a two-wheeled cart, moved into the wilds of Tennessee, in which State his descendants are now numerous. Ransom Smith, the father of Thomas H., was reared to a farm life, and, owing to temperate living, has reached the good old age of seventy-three years. He was for many years a Republican in politics, but is now a stanch Prohibitionist. He has accumulated a fair share of this world’s goods and an estate of 1,000 acres. He has always been a loyal citizen and during the Civil War was first lieutenant in Company 1, Tenth Tennessee Infantry, but was afterward discharged on account of disability. He was left a widower in 1878, his wife being a daughter of Squire Hendricks, who was a pioneer of Marion County, who died many years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Smith reared nine of the ten children born to them: Sarah A.; Ruth, who died at the age of twelve years; Thomas H.; Tennessee Catherine; George W.; Margaret E., who died after reaching womanhood; Dorcas, Ransom, Mary and Lassie L. George is a resident of Stone County, where he has taught school for the past four years. The father is, as was the mother, a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Soon after the birth of the subject of this sketch his parents removed to Arkansas, where they made their home for several years prior to the war, then moved back to Tennessee.
Thomas H. received a common-school education, but, while still pursuing the paths of learning, the war came up and interfered with his studies for some time. Later he attended the Masonic Institute in Tennessee and then the Sequatchie College, in which he gained a fair education. After leaving school he began following the occupation of farming in his native State until 1876, when he moved to Kansas and in the vicinity of Coffeeville continued to till the soil. In 1877 Greene County, Missouri, became his home and he continued to farm in the vicinity of Republic until 1878, when he settled on Crane Creek, Stone County, where he worked in a saw-mill for two years. He then took up his residence on his present farm of 260 acres one and one-half miles from Galena, and this farm he continues to look after although his residence proper is in the town of Galena, where he has resided since 1893. Mr. Smith has always been a stanch Republican and on this ticket was elected to the various responsible offices he has held. In 86 he was elected to the office of county clerk, also that of Circuit Court clerk and ex-officio recorder, in each and every one of which capacities he served with marked ability and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He has at all times manifested much public spirit and has been successful in a business way, notwithstanding the fact that in early life he met with some financial reverses. At the present time he gives considerable attention to the raising of stock and grain and is a shrewd and practical farmer. He was married in Tennessee to Miss Martha J. Maxwell, a daughter of Griffin and Nancy (Tedgue), Maxwell, both of whom were born in Marion County, Tennessee, and were schoolmates of Ransom Smith. The Maxwells were early residents of Tennessee and Mrs. Smith was one of a family of twelve children. She has borne her husband nine children, eight of whom are living: Allah F., Emma G., Mary K., Roma E., Robert R., George, Alice L., Mattie and Stella. Emma died at the age of one year. Mr. Smith and family are attendants of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which the wife is a member. They are among the first citizens of Stone County and have gathered about them a host of warm friends.