Biography of Anderson C. Smith

As a leader in the affairs of the counties of northeastern Oregon, both in times of difficulty with the Indians and also in the quieter times of civil industry, while also he has been a promoter of good government and of substantial progress in the county, the subject of this sketch stands today as one of the prominent and respected citizens of Wallowa county, having manifested both integrity and sound principles and marked capabilities in all of his career here. In addition to this, Mr. Smith has taken a leading part in the Indian councils that were far reaching to the entire northwest, while in his younger days he was one of the first that stepped to the standard, that had been insulted by the minions of treason, and in its defense he did valiant and intrepid service for his county.

In Franklin County, Illinois, Mr. Anderson C. Smith was born in 1831, being the son of Benjamin F. and Sarah C. (Drummond) Smith. The parents lived in that county until the time of their departure from the scenes of earth and their remains lie buried there today. The first venture of our subject when he had arrived to the years of maturity was to rent land, and the proceeds of this were used in attending the academy in Benton and then afterwards he also continued in attendance, working for his support. In the fall of 1851 he went to northern Illinois, and a few months later traveled to St. Joseph, Missouri, remaining there until the following spring, when he took up the journey across the plains with ox teams to California. In September, 1852, he arrived in Marysville and there and on the Yuba river he mined for a few months and then ascended to the source of that river and there and at Monte Cristo he continued in mining until 1855, when he returned by the way of the isthmus to Illinois, visiting his old home. The following spring he migrated to Kansas, took up land, and resided near Iola until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in the cause of his country as first lieutenant of Company D, Ninth Kansas Cavalry. Here he did good service until May 20, 1862, when he resigned his commission on account of the ill health of his wife, and started overland with her to the Grande Ronde valley, where they arrived in good time, September 28, 1862. He was the first settler in the section of Union county known as the Cove. Until 1875 he remained there and during this time in addition to his farming, he did considerable practice in the justice courts of the county, spending his spare time in the ardent study of the principles and books of law. In 1875 he sold out and went to Wallowa county and there built a toll bridge over the Wallowa river, being assisted by M.B. Reese, in both the construction of the bridge, which was half in Union and half in Wallowa counties, and the building of the Smith toll road. Here Mr. Smith remained for one year until the Joseph war broke out, when he removed his family to the Grande Ronde valley and raised a company of scouts, who did excellent service in both this and the Bannock war. He was very useful in these times to the government, being a fine interpreter, and always used his services for the pacification of the savages, and much credit is due him for protection of the early settlers and in averting more bloodshed. After 1878 he sold his road and moved to the Wallowa valley, settling on Alder slope, where he acquired title to three hundred and twenty acres of land, and engaged in stock raising, handling horses principally. During these years he continued the study of law as occasion provided and in 1888 he was admitted to practice in the courts of the states. In political matters he has ever been prominent, having served as chairman of the Democratic county committee and member of the state central committee. Mr. Smith is a member of the Masons, Lodge No. 82, in Enterprise.

In 1856 Mr. Smith married Miss Sarah A. Whittington, daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Dudley) Whittington, a native of Franklin county, Illinois. To them have been born the following children: Mary, Rosa, Laura, Emma, Jane, Fred, Anna, Edward, Viola and Walter, all living, and all with the exception of the oldest one were born in Union and Wallowa counties. Mr. And Mrs. Smith are highly respected members of society and are esteemed by all.


An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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