John M. Smith was born December 2, 1834, in New York County, the son of Harvey D. Smith and Miss S. Cook, of the same county. John attended public school until the age of eighteen years, after which he devoted himself to agriculture, until his twentieth year, when he became a frontiersman and spent many years on the Texas border. In 1857 he went to Missouri, and began the nursery business, and in 1866 moved to the Cherokee Nation, settling at Fort Gibson, where he was employed by the government as wagon boss. In 1868 he commenced the nursery business in Tahlequah, and carries it on until the present day. Mr. Smith has been known for many years by the title of “Apple Tree Smith,” and has sold over 75,000 trees in the Indian Territory, and these of the very finest quality only. Mr. Smith married Miss Evaline Martin, daughter of H. Martin, and connected with many of the oldest Cherokee families. By this marriage he has nine children, five of whom are girls. These young ladies are all natural musicians; the eldest, Susie, as a musical genius is quite a wonder, and compares favorably with Blind Tom, the celebrated pianist. Mr. Smith owns a farm of 200 acres, 100 head of cattle and 16 head of horses and mules, eighteen miles from Tahlequah. He also owns 300 acres of land, 200 of which are in cultivation, within two miles of Tahlequah. Mr. Smith has recently commenced dealing in pianos and organs, and is doing a very fair trade, and dealing only in the best instruments. Mr. Smith is six feet high, weighs 175 pounds, and a strong, healthy man, being both active and energetic. Few men in the territory are better known than “Apple Tree Smith.”
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