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The Smith Family
(near Ligonier, IN)
Front row (left to right): Charles Smith, John A. Smith, Catherine Smith, Thomas "T.J." Smith
Back row (left to right): Grover (deceased), George Smith, Mary (Smith) Gibson, Frank Smith
John A. Smith's Obituary
John A. Smith was born in Albany County, New York, March 25, 1840 and died at his home four miles northwest of Ligonier, Jan. 8, 1917, at the age of 76 years, 9 months and 13 days. When six years old, his parents moved to Michigan by way of the Erie cana1 and Great Lakes and settled in Wayne county near Detroit and lived there until John junior was three years of age. His father hearing from reports of the then Great West with respect to its vast forests and rich agricultural lands started out on foot on a trip of inspection for the purpose of making a permanent location. This was in the year 1843, long before railroads crossed the country and whatever roads or paths chanced to be were the trails of Indians, white traders, deer or an occasional government road laid out connecting distant forts. After several month's absence in looking for a new home attended by the dangers of fording rivers, prowling beasts, the treacherous shots of Indian arrows, the pioneer father returned to his waiting family with reports of great possibilities to be had in the southwest and at once preparations were made to move to the new home. The new home chanced to be on a farm one mile south of Wawaka (Indiana) and formerly owned by John Long. At this time, Wawaka was not on the map and Ligonier had only a few stores and dwellings to give any resemblance of a town. Rochester (Indiana) had better chances of becoming a metropolis than Ligonier but when the railroad stretched its shining rails westward and Ligonier fortunately lay on its pathway, it was easy to see the advantages belonging to the later (latter) town, while the former remains only as a cross-road in history.
Augusta, remembered by the early settlers as a promising village, claimed the honors belonging to a county capital and Albion now a rival town, because of her central location, watched her rival with a jealous eye; which in turn because of railroad advantages likewise shared by Ligonier towards her sister village of the south. The family remained on this farm twenty years. These were the years of intense toil and limited circumstances. It was when the sturdy oxen furnished the source of dependable farm power. Then with hand-spike, ax and ox strength, the forests gave place to productive fields. Then with blazing fire-place and burning log-heap less cares were felt than with modern wood-piles and empty coal bins. Contentment was a feeling in every heart. How the world has progressed when conditions are compared with then and now. When ease and luxury become our inheritance, our wants grow greater than our means. It was while living here that the small opportunities of a few months of school were offered during the wintertime and the balance of the year employed on his father's farm
In 1863, the family moved to La Grange County on a farm south of La Grange but after 18 months moved into Kosciusko County near Syracuse where in 1809 he was united in marriage to Catharine (Catherine) Jackson. To this union five sons and one daughter were born, one son, Grover having preceded him to the spirit land in 1900. After his marriage, he remained in Kosciusko County a few years, but in 1881, Mr. Smith with his family moved to his present residence, four miles northwest of Ligonier having lived on this place for a period of 35 years and a resident of Noble County for 55 years. While living near Wawaka, McDougal was hung, though the deceased was not present at the execution.
In a revival, during the pastorate of Rev. Showley, he was converted and became a member of the U. B. church at Burr Oak. He has ever tried to live an exemplary life and tried to make his life conform with his Master's teaching. His value as a neighbor, his service as a citizen and his influence in his home and in the church are some means by which his life may be measured. His children will never forget his admonitions and on many occasions with fatherly love, he would call their attention to ethics of life and of the importance of the life beyond. Whatever his influence may be, time and eternity will tell. We bury the man, though his life, be it good or bad, dwells with the living as an inspiration or a blight.
In his sickness lasting four years, he has shown a patient and resigned spirit often expressing a desire to lay off the burden of flesh and weakness and put on immortality. He made all necessary arrangements for his funeral and was conscious almost to the last. He leaves a widow, three sons, J. F. of Pickerington, Ohio; Charles E. of Millersburg, George O. of Ligonier, one daughter, Mrs. Harry Gibson of Topeka; a brother in California and a sister in Syracuse, besides many other friends to mourn his departure. The funeral was conducted by Rev. L. G. Bears after which the remains were laid to rest in the Salem cemetery.
Note: The obituary failed to mention another son; Thomas J. (TJ) Smith
The surviving relatives wish to express their heartfelt thanks to friends and neighbors for the many acts of kindness during their time of great sorrow.
Catherine (Jackson) Smith's Obituary
Catherine Jane (Jackson) Smith, b. 23 Oct
1842 d. 24 Nov 1926
Death of Mrs. Smith
Mrs. John A. Smith, aged 84 years, residing west of Ligonier, passed away at nine o'clock Wednesday morning. Some months ago she suffered a fractured hip in a fall and never recovered. She was a widow and a highly respected resident of the Burr Oak neighborhood where she always exerted an influence for good. Her death will be mourned by a large circle of friends. Surviving Mrs. Smith are four sons and a daughter, Dr. George O. Smith, Ligonier, T. J., at home, Charles E. of Millersburg, John of Westerville, Ohio and Mary E. Gibson of Goshen. The funeral will be held at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon at the Burr Oak Church, with burial in Salem Cemetery.