Pages 369-371, 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.




O. H. SMITH, who is prominent in commercial and fraternal circles in the county of his adoption, his home being in Savonburg, was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, April 6, 1843, and upon a farm in the Hoosier State spent his boyhood days performing his share of the work in field and meadow. He acquired a good school education and remained with his parents until after he had attained his majority when he started


out upon an independent business career, and as a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Nancy A. Herbert, of Johnson County, Indiana.

The young couple began their domestic life upon a farm which he had previously purchased in Dearborn County and there resided until 1884, his labors as an agriculturist being crowned with a gratifying degree of success. Having a family of growing sons he thought that he might secure better opportunities for them in the west where the population was not so great and competition in consequence not so marked. Accordingly he sought a home in Kansas, bringing his family to the Sunflower State in 1884. They located five miles north of Parsons, in Neosho County, where Mr. Smith purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of rich, arable land which he still owns, the tract constituting one of the valuable farming properties of the county in which it is located. He has excellent improvements upon the place and everything is in good condition. There he resided for eight years when, having acquired considerable capital through his labors as an agriculturist, he concluded to abandon the plow and enter into commercial pursuits. Accordingly he located in St. Paul where he and his eldset[sic] son established a grocery and queensware store in 1891, under the firm name of Smith & Son. They remained there for four years when they sought a broader field of labor by removing to Savonburg in 1895. Here they enlarged their stock, adding general merchandise, and they now have one of the most extensive general mercantile establishments in the county, carrying a large line of goods, such as is demanded by the town and country trade. They also have a branch store at Elsmore and their business has now reached proportions represented by sales that amount to forty-five thousand dollars annually, the firm of Smith & Sons ranking high in commercial circles.

O. H. Smith is the owner of a nice residence on a pleasant corner in Savonburg and there he resides with his wife and the children who are still under the parental roof. Six sons have been born unto them; John H., who is now in partnership with his father; Frank E., who is also a member of the firm and has charge of the store in Elsmore; Lawrence O., who is a student in school; Charles Otto, at home: Oliver, who died at the age of four years, and Claudius, who died at the age of two. Mr. Smith takes a great pride in his family and has provided his children with excellent educational privileges, that they may be well fitted for life's practical and responsible duties. The eldest son is a graduate of the Sedalia Business College and the second son of the Fort Scott Business College.

In political views Mr. Smith is a stalwart Republican and has voted for each presidential nominee of the party since its organization, when John C. Fremont was placed at the head of the ticket. He is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Odd Fellow in the State, having joined the order in Indiana in 1856. Throughout the passing years he has been an exemplary member of the fraternity and his life shows forth its beneficent principles. Several times he was a representative to the grand lodge in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has filled every chair in his local lodge. He is conducting


his business on systematic and methodical principles and an idea of the success which has attended the enterprise is indicated by the greatly increased facilities. He is now numbered among the prosperous merchants of his community and his position is the just reward of meritorious and honorable effort which commands the respect and admiration of all.

In this connection it will be of interest to know something of the family of which Mr. Smith is a representative. His father, Richard Smith, was born at Thorpe Arch, Yorkshire, England, and when sixteen years of age he entered the English army, serving for seven years under Sir Arthur Wellesley. He participated in the battle of Waterloo. His command entered the engagement eight hundred strong and left the battle-field with only thirty-two survivors. Mr. Smith was one of those who fortunately escaped with his life. His son, O. H. Smith, is now in possession of his father's discharge papers, also a clothes brush which he carried through that war.

After retiring from the army Richard Smith determined to seek his home in the land of the free and bidding adieu to his native country sailed for America where he arrived in March, 1817. He was married in this country to Miss Mary E. Harbert, a native of Pennsylvania, and unto them were born ten children, four of whom are now living, namely: Richard H., a resident of Dearborn County, Indiana; Henry K., who resides in Arkansas; Mrs. Maria L. Butt, of Shawnee County, Kansas; and O. H. Smith, the popular merchant of Savonburg.

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