Pages 837-838, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




Among those who wore the blue in defense of the Union during the Civil war Levi Smith was numbered and to-day is as true and loyal to his duties of citizenship as when he followed the Stars and Stripes upon the battlefields of the south. Thus he is accounted one of the valued residents of Woodson County, well worthy of representation in its history.

Mr. Smith was born in Scott County, Illinois, May 2, 1843, and is the third son in a family of eleven children whose parents were John and Sarah A. (Downey) Smith, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. The father was a farmer by occupation and before his marriage went to Illinois, casting in his lot with the early settlers who laid the foundation for the development and upbuilding of that state. There he remained until his death which occurred in 1881, when he was sixty years of age. His wife still survives him and is living upon the old homestead in Illinois, at the venerable age of seventy-eight years. Of their children six are yet living.

In taking up the personal history of Levi Smith we present to our readers the record of one who for a quarter of a century has been a well known resident of Woodson County. He was reared upon a farm, received his education in the country schools, and worked in the fields until the 9th. of August, 1862, when with his patriotic spirit aroused by the continued opposition and rebellion in the south, he offered his services to the government, joining company I, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois infantry. After two years and ten months of arduous and fearless service as a defender of the Union he received an honorable discharge June 8, 1865. He was in many hard fought battles, participated in the campaign from Resaca, Georgia, to Atlanta, went with Sherman on the memorable march to the sea, which proved that the Confederacy was but an empty shell, took part in the battle of Marietta and was in many other engagements and skirmishes of that campaign. He was never captured or wounded although several times his clothes were pierced with bullets and his haversack and canteen were shot away. At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge in Washington and was mustered out in Chicago, Illinois.

He then returned to his home and spent one year as guard on the bridge across the Illinois river. In the fall of 1876 he came to Kansas and engaged in farming upon rented land until 1884, when with the money which he had saved from his earnings he purchased eighty acres of land one mile west of Vernon, where he has since made a good home for himself


and family. His possessions are a monument to his enterprise and worth, and are the visible evidence of his labor and his economy, for all that he has is the reward of his individual effort.

Mr. Smith has been twice married. He first wedded Miss Mary E. Harris, who only survived their marriage five years, and at her death left two little children: Allie, now the wife of Will Farris, a resident of Idaho, and Charles E., who is also living in the same state. On the 20th of November, 1879, Mr. Smith was joined in wedlock to Miss Lavisa Adams, a native of Bloomington, Illinois, born August 22, 1854. Her father, Jeremiah Adams, was a native of Indiana, and after reaching mature years wedded Elizabeth Robinson. He died when Mrs. Smith was only about a year old and her mother afterward became the wife of Edward Summerfield, who removed with the family to Kansas in 1866. Woodson County was then but sparsely settled and they were forced to live in true frontier style. They had to pound their meal in a mortar—for the nearest mill was at Iola, Allen County—and other primitive methods of life formed part of their pioneer experience. Mrs. Summerfield passed away in 1896, at the age of seventy-one years. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born five children: Mrs. Carrie D. Porter, who died August 2, 1900, leaving a little son. Roscoe C. Porter, who is now a bright little boy of fourteen months living with his grandparents. Dora E., Newton L., Roy A. and Elza O., who are still at home.

Socially Mr. Smith is connected with Woodson Post, No. 185, G. A. R., and thus continues his comradeship with the boys in blue. During his long residence in Woodson County he has ever commanded the respect of his fellow citizens by reason of his genuine worth, and by all who know him he is appreciated for his commendable qualities.

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