Biography of Lindol Smith

For seventeen years this gentleman has been a resident of Moscow, and has been one of the most active factors in its upbuilding, progress and advancement. He was born in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, June 6, 1832. His paternal great-grandfather was a French revolutionist, and was a refugee from his’ native land. Coming to this country, he joined the colonial army in the struggle for independence, and loyally aided in the war for freedom. His son Jonathan Smith was a soldier in the war of 1812, and in an early day became a pioneer of Ohio, where he reared his family. His son, James M. Smith, father of our subject, was born in Millersburg, Ohio, and married Miss Sarah N. Casebeer, a lady of Pennsylvania-Dutch ancestry. He was a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran church and devoted his life to the work of saving souls. When well advanced in years he retired from the ministry and spent his last days with his son Lindol, in whose home he passed away, at the ripe old age of eighty-four years. During the civil war he manifested the same spirit of loyalty which has ever been a marked characteristic of the family and went to the front, caring for the soldiers ill with smallpox in the hospitals in Nashville, Tennessee. He had great love for his fellow men and improved every opportunity for doing good to others. His estimable wife, who proved to him a faithful companion and helpmeet, died at the age of sixty-eight years. They had eleven children, of whom only four survive, the subject of this review being the eldest.

The family removed to Indiana when Lindol Smith was only seven years of age, and after acquiring a practical education in the public schools he learned the carpenter’s trade, and has made contracting and building his life work. In 1862, however, when the country was engaged in civil war, he could no longer content himself to remain at the bench, and joined the boys in blue of Company G, Seventy-third Indiana Infantry, which was attached to the Army of the Cumberland. The first battle in which he participated was at Richmond, Kentucky, after which he was engaged in fighting nearly every day until Bragg and his forces were driven from the state. They then went to Tennessee for the purpose of capturing John Morgan, and while making a charge Mr. Smith attempted to jump across a ditch, fell, and, striking a root, broke two of his ribs. One of the bones penetrated his lungs, pneumonia followed and he was forced to lie in the hospital for a month. He was then granted a thirty-days furlough. At the expiration of that time he rejoined his regiment at Camp Morton, the command in the meantime having been captured, paroled and then placed on duty to guard prisoners. Mr. Smith was examined by the surgeon, and being declared unfit for field duty, was placed in charge of the military prison at Indianapolis, where he remained until the close of the war, when he received an honorable discharge, July 2, 1865.

Before the war he had married Miss Rachel Surface, and to them were born four children, but he lost his wife and two of his children, and two of his brothers through the dread disease, scarlet fever. He was again married January 10, 1861, Miss Alwieda Patton, a native of Indiana, becoming his wife. When he was wounded she obtained from Governor Morton a commission as a nurse, went to her husband’s bedside and remained as matron of the hospital until the war was over, having one hundred and fifty sick and wounded soldiers under her supervision. She was untiring in her efforts to relieve their sufferings and minister to their wants, and was very much beloved by the gallant boys in blue. In consideration of her services, her country has granted her a pension of twelve dollars per month.

After the war Mr. Smith was in poor health for some time and unfit for active carpenter work. He therefore engaged in buying and selling lumber until the financial panic of 1873, when he lost heavily. In 1882 he came to Moscow, bulk a planing mill and in connection with its operation engaged in contracting and building, super-intending the erection of many of the best buildings in the city. He was employed by the state board of regents of the university to supervise its construction, to see that proper materials were used and that the work was done according to the most improved methods, and at the present time he is occupied with the superintendency of the completion of the building. The university is a credit to the city and the state and stands as a monument to the business ability and skill of Mr. Smith. He is most reliable in all dealings, faithfully lives up to the terms of a contract and has the confidence and patronage of the public in an unusual degree.

Mr. Smith has always taken a deep interest in the welfare and progress of the town, has served for eleven years as a member of the school board and has largely promoted the cause of education. He was also a member of the city council one term, and for two terms, as mayor, administered the affairs of Moscow, his rule being a beneficent and progressive one. In 1898 he was elected a member of the state legislature, and in all the positions of trust has labored earnestly and effectively for the welfare of his county and state.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born seven children, four of whom are living. The daughter, Ivanella, is now the wife of J. W. Lewellan, of Moscow. Edward had just graduated from the State University when the war with Spain began, and with forty-five of his fellow students he enlisted and was made captain of Company D, First Idaho Volunteers, in which capacity he is now serving his country at Manila, under General Lawton. He received a slight gunshot wound in the left leg at San Pedro. Captain Smith is only twenty-three years of age, and is said to be the youngest captain in the service. He was a member of the state militia and a thorough tactician, and his ability in this present office rivals that of many a veteran of twice his years. Leo, the second son, now nineteen years of age, is serving in his brother’s company and has written a poem of much merit on the Boys in Blue. The youngest son, Wilbert A., is now attending the summer term of the state university. The parents certainly have just reason to be proud of their children who in a foreign land are protecting the starry banner of the nation.

Mr. Smith is a valued member of the Odd Fellows society and has filled all the offices in both branches of the order. His wife belongs to the adjunct order, the Daughters of Rebekah, was the first president of the assembly and was also the first president of the Women’s Relief Corps of the state. Mr. Smith is very active in the Grand Army of the Republic, is past commander of the local post, and state department commander. He has near his home a flagpole from which he flies “old glory” on occasions of note, and also has a ten-pound Parrott gun which he received from Boston, for the benefit of the post. The family is one long celebrated for loyalty to the flag, for since the time the French refugee landed on American shores down to the present when two loyal sons of our subject are serving in Manila, each generation of the family has been represented in the wars which have sustained the honor of the nation and led to its present greatness and its proud position among the powers of the world.


Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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