From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1390
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   John L Smith, proprietor of Eagle Cliff Farm, is successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits in Rice county, Kansas.  Upon no class of citizens does the general welfare of the community more largely depend than upon the farmers.  The faithful performance of their duties always greatly promotes the material prosperity of the cities.  All his life our subject has given his energies to this business and has ever been true and faithful to his work and to the responsibilities of life, his many excellencies of character commending him to the confidence and high regard of all.

   Mr Smith was born in Cass county, Illinois, December 19, 1850.  His paternal grandfather, James Smith, was an able minister in the Methodist church, and followed that high and holy calling in Kentucky and Illinois.  The Smith family were originally from Virginia, and were an old and prominent family.  Elijah Smith, the father of our subject, was born in Kentucky, and was there reared to farm life.  When a young man he removed to Cass county, Illinois, where he was united in marriage with Miss Ann Witty, a native of that county.  She was also a representative of an old and prominent Virginian family.  Elijah and Ann Smith became the parents of ten children, namely:  James, deceased; John L; Sarah E, who became Mrs Demastus and died in Miami county, Kansas; Kitty E, who became Mrs Dressler and resides in Ellsworth county, Kansas; E Miller, of Galt township; and five who died in childhood.  In 1877 the family came to Kansas, locating on a farm in Rice county, where the father still resides, having reached the ripe old age of seventy-eight years.  The mother died in 1896, at the age of seventy years, having been a consistent and worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and her husband is also a member of that denomination.

   John L Smith, the immediate subject of this review, spent the days of his youth on a farm in Cass county, Illinois, where he was early inured to the labors of field and meadow.  The public schools of the neighborhood afforded him his educational privileges, but by reading, observation and practical experience in later life he has greatly added to his knowledge.  In 1866 he removed with his parents to Harrison county, Missouri, locating near Bethany, where he resided until 1877, the year of his arrival in Rice county, Kansas.  In 1882 he was united in marriage with Miss Maggie Z Davis, who was born in Indiana, and was only six years of age when she came with her father, C R Davis, to Kansas, and was reared to womanhood on the western prairie.  Mr Davis was among the early pioneers of central Kansas, and for thirty-five years, has resided within its borders, nobly aiding in the work of development and improvement.  The mother of Mrs Smith was in her maidenhood Catherine Byard, and she and her husband now reside near Little River, Kansas, honored and respected by all who know them.

   Mr Smith is the proprietor of Eagle Cliff Farm, one of the romantic and beautiful places of central Kansas.  It was a favorite Indian resort in the days gone by, and Indian graves are yet seen on the place.  The farm contains six hundred and forty acres and is adorned with a beautiful cottage home, while all the accessories and improvements of a model farm are there seen.  The place is located six miles from Mitchell, and there Mr Smith is extensively engaged in farming and stock raising.  His political support is given to Republican principles, and of the Methodist Episcopal church he is a zealous and active member.  His wife has membership relations with the Christian church.  In the locality in which they reside Mr and Mrs Smith have made many warm friends, and their hospitable home is a favorite resort with a large circle of acquaintances.