Friday, September 18, 2009

Abraham Smith

Abraham Smith is my 3rd great grandfather. His son Isaac would go on to marry a woman by the name of Annetta Jane Rice, who unknowingly or not, was Isaac's 2nd cousin. They both shared their great grandparents, John Smith and Barbara Driver, a loop in my family tree that I wrote about HERE some time ago.

However, this post is about Abraham whose picture I recently discovered. The nice thing about being able to do some electronic research before the actual legwork begins is that it is easy to do and you don't have to spend a lot of time in certain parts of your tree and thus freeing up time in other parts clouded in mystery. One of the drawbacks is that I find myself missing information in plain site simply because turning digital pages to see what else is there isn't as genetically programmed into me as flipping through an actual book. Abraham Smith is a classic example. I have read several times the digital copy of a short biography written about him in a book on the history of Clinton County, Iowa where he lived. However, it was only a week ago that I hit the previous page button on the digital Google book reader and what appeared was a picture of Abraham's second wife. I clicked it again and found the above picture of my third great grandfather.

Abraham Smith's lineage comes from the Rockingham area of Virginia. Some researchers have it going back to a John S. Smith born sometime in the mid 1700's but I haven't verified that connection yet. I do know that Abraham's grandfather was a John L. Smith who was born in Fairfax, Virginia in 1790 and died on the 26th of October 1853 in Rockingham. His sons, William Donald Smith and John Victor Smith and wife Barbara (Driver) Smith would all immigrate to Iowa shortly after John's death and set up shop farming have traded in tobacco for other crops. Barbara my 5th great grandmother is buried in the family cemetery in Orange Township, Clinton county Iowa, along with a couple generations of my Smith ancestors. I hope to visit their graves sometime in the real near future.

Before leaving Virginia, both William and John III (or possibly IV), had started their families. William's oldest son Abraham was about 16 or 17 at the time of their trip to Iowa where they immediately settled on some land in the Orange Township only seven or eight years after Iowa had become a state. Abraham stayed with his parents until marrying Clementine Carr on the 4th of July in 1861. Shortly thereafter, he purchased what was known as the Purcell farm that he improved and added to it until he had three hundred and twenty acres of what was described as rich and arable land. Among the building he added were a large barn and an assortment of outbuildings, a wind pump, a large orchard and lots of shade trees. Besides his farm, he still owned interest in his parent's farm and some other lands in the family. He also engaged in raising stock and was described in several sources as one of the most prosperous farmers in the area.

Abraham's wife Clementine, my 3rd great grandmother, died on June 3, 1874 leaving behind two sons, George Benjamin Smith and my 2nd great grandfather Isaac Franklin Smith. With the middle names, he must have been a Benjamin Franklin fan. As they typically did in those days, when houses of large farms needed to be run, he remarried 15 months later on September 23, 1875 to a transplanted Canadian and local school teacher, Amanda (Jordan) Smith. She immigrated to Iowa with her parents in 1866. Their farm was not to far from the Smith farm so Abraham didn't have to go far to find his new bride.

Soon by 1883, he had added Lillian Catherine, Altha F. and William Donald Smith to his brood. He lived another six years before dying on March 29, 1899 and was buried in the family cemetery. Evidently there is what has been described as a substantial monument over his grave, something I shall soon see for myself. In his obituary, he was described as a life long democrat and one of the most public-spirited and enterprising men of his area. Indeed he had been involved in local politics holding offices of road supervisor and township trustee.

His son Isaac, my 2nd great grandfather who went by Frank half the time in census records, would live on the family farm raising his small family of a wife and two children, the youngest being my great grandmother and whose name is now part of my daughters name. She lived a long life dying when I was 16 years old so I knew her well, better than all my other great grandparents, and loved her very much.

When I look at the newly discovered picture of Abraham Smith, he looks spirited and kind of ornery, two traits Little Abbey has in spades. I'm glad to have made the discovery.


Murf said...

He does kind of look like you.

Ed said...

Murf - Glad that you noticed.

TC said...

Do you sport the full beard, too?

R. Sherman said...

Nice family history post. I've a similar photo taken of my great-grandfather, ca. 1885. Very cool.


Beau said...

Great story and picture. He does look like a bit stout and proud, but then he probably had to be and you're here!

Ed said...

TC - Not yet!

R. Sherman - Definitely something I will treasure.

Beau - That fact that I'm here and it was dependent on him and 31 other of my 3rd great grandparents and the decisions they made is very humbling.

Edelweiss Transplanted said...

Thanks for sharing -- I love genealogy and family stories. Is that a twinkle I see in those eyes? And yes, spirited and ornery, two traits that I'm sure got him through this life.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Do you know the approximate date of the photo? As you know, back in the mid 1800s people sometimes came out in photos looking a little pinched and unnatural in the face since they had to concentrate so hard on staying absolutely still for the full length of the exposure; and, keep in mind that they had to keep their eyes wide open, unable to blink for even a split second, so chances are your grandfather did not normally look like this. I like his perfectly upside down smile. Really neat photo. Great find.