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Passing of a Pioneer
John R. Smith, Who Died Monday,
Had Lived in Pawnee County
For 50 Years

John Richey Smith was born at Ithaca, New York, on February 18th, 1842, and died at Larned, Kansas, last Monday, aged 87 years, 3 months and 16 days.

Mr. Smith was descended from one of the old Knickerbocker families of central New York. His great grandfather, Peter Smith, came from Holland and located near New York City, then New Amsterdam. His grandfather, Peter Smith, immigrating to central New York, traveling in an ox cart.

On his twenty-first birthday he enlisted in Company L of the Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery under Captain Ira L. Dudley and General Mulcaha. The command for six months did garrison duty at Yorktown, Virginia, and was later ordered to Fort Magruder at Williamsburg. He was at Richmond when Lee surrendered, and on August 21, 1865, was mustered out at Washington.

Soon after he returned home he was married to Miss Rebecca Blain, November 14, 1867, at Ovid, New York. To this union were born four children; Orlo J. Smith, of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Herbert B., of Glendora, California, Cora Smith Stark, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Maud Smith Harris, of Larned.

The health of his wife having failed, he decided to locate in the west. When he first saw Larned in August 1875, it was a village of about 100 people. He lived fifty-four years in Pawnee county, and saw it develop from bare prairie to one of the garden spots of Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Smith moved to Larned from their farm twenty years ago.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith were not only pioneers in social life in Kansas, but were also pioneers in the religious life of the community, having been instrumental in the organization of the First Methodist church in their community and have lived faithful to their church vows ever since. Besides his wife and four children, fourteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, are left to call him blessed.

Transcribed and Contributed by Richard Schwartzkopf

Last Updated:  Friday, November 25, 2005 18:01:01

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