Herman M. Smoot has had a very determined and energetic business career at Homer and at the age of forty his prosperity is now assured as well as his position as a man of affairs and influence in his community.
Mr. Smoot was born on a farm in Vermilion County, Illinois, June 19, 1877. His parents were John and Sarah C. (Lewis) Smoot, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were brought to Illinois when children, and grew up in Vermilion County, where after their marriage they lived on a farm in Vance Township. In 1895 John Smoot moved to Homer and with Mr. J. Stingle opened a lumber business. He remained in that business until 1898, when he was succeeded by his son Herman, and he then retired. His death occurred January 4, 1917, but his widow is still living in Homer. John Smoot was a member of the Masonic Order and of the Episcopal Church. There were five children, the two oldest, both sons, dying in infancy. William S. is a carpenter by trade and lives in Kansas City, Missouri. The fourth in age is Herman M. Bertha E., the only daughter, is the wife of J. Charles Franz, of Homer.
Herman M. Smoot was eighteen years of age when the family left the farm and removed to Homer. Up to that time he had attended country schools and he then put in a fall and one winter in the high school, working out by the day during the rest of the year. The next winter he returned to high school and that term was followed by other work on the farm at monthly wages. During those two years he saved enough to enable him to take the course in Brown’s Business College at Decatur. Having proved himself a young man of considerable ability and active resolution, his father then loaned him his half interest in the lumber business, and in a short time he had made good in these responsibilities and in 1904 bought out Mr. Stingle and has since bought out two other local competitors and now has practically a monopoly of the local lumber trade.
Mr. Smoot married Miss Elizabeth Shaw, who was born at Homer, daughter of Dr. Homer C. and Eliza V. (White) Shaw. Mr. and Mrs. Smoot have two children: John I., born July 3, 1900; and Catherine E., born January 22, 1903.
Mr. Smoot has done more than carry on a very successful business at Homer. He served two terms as mayor, and is now vice president of the Champaign County Highway Improvement Association, is president of the Community Improvement Association of Homer, and president of the local Chautauqua Association. He is a Republican, a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and in Masonry is affiliated with the Lodge, Chapter and Knight Templar Commandery. He and his family worship in the Presbyterian Church.