Biography of George S. Smith, Rev.

Rev. George S. Smith. The career of George S. Smith had led him into various of life’s activities. He had wielded the implements of destruction as a soldier in his country’s services, had preached the gospel of peace and good will as a minister of the Christian Church, had manipulated the tools of the agriculturist in the cultivation of the soil, and had represented his fellow citizens in legislative halls. In each avenue of endeavor he had handled himself worthily and had discharged his duties faithfully, and this fact alone would entitle him to representation among the leading citizens of Ottawa County.

George S. Smith was born in Highland County, Ohio, November 5, 1841, a son of Samuel and Margaret (Bell) Smith. The Smith family originated in Scotland, being a part of the old and honored Stowe or Stough stock, while the Bells originated in England and came to America with William Penn. Samuel Smith was born June 23, 1816, near Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and died at Detroit, Pike County, Illinois, August 28, 1857. He was reared and married in his native country, where for some years he was engaged in farming, but in 1840 went to Illinois as a pioneer of Pike County. While farming was his principal vocation, he was a man of far more than ordinary education and for a number of years combined school teaching with his agrieultural work and succeeded admirably in both directions. He was a republican in his political views, and while he did not seek personal aggrandizement, accepted several minor offices tendered him by his fellow citizens and discharged their duties faithfully as a matter of civic responsibility. He was a lifelong member of the Christian Church and for a number of years served as elder therein. Mr. Smith was united in marriage with Margaret Bell, who was born in 1815, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and died near Delphos, Kansas, in 1887. They became the parents of the following children: Issac J., who in 1863 enlisted as a private in Company E, One Hundred and Sixty-eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was still a member of that organization when he died in the South in 1864; William S., who was killed by a falling tree when he was but six years of age; Sarah J., who died when six weeks old; Eliza Ann, who died at Deepwater, Missouri, as the wife of Silas Grant, now also deceased, who was a farmer for some years in Iowa; Tabitha Asenath, who died in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, and was buried there as the wife of George Lawrence, now also deceased, who was an agriculturist; Joseph B., who was engaged in farming operations until his death at Chanute, Kansas, in 1913; A. T., who is engaged in farming in the vicinity of Chanute; and George S., of this notice.

George S. Smith was given an ordinary education in the public schools of Highland County, Ohio, where he was reared on his father’s farm, but it was the intention of his scholarly father that the son should receive something more than common advantages. Accordingly, he was being prepared to enter college, but at that time the Civil war came on and with youthful patriotism the nineteen-year-old lad entered the ranks of the Union army, enlisting October 23, 1861, as a member of Company C, Forty-eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Following this came a service of more than five and one-half years, he being finally mustered out of the service May 10, 1866. His military experiences were many and varied and his engagements included Shiloh, Vicksburg, Sabine Cross Roads, Banks’ expedition up the Red River, Mobile, Alabama, and others, and skirmishes too numerous to mention. Near Sabine Cross Roads, Mr. Smith was taken prisoner by the enemy and sent to Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas, but after numerous hardships and discomforts was finally exchanged October 23, 1864. With a splendid record for faithfulness and patriotic service, the young soldier returned to Ohio, where he was married, and not long thereafter removed to Iowa, where he engaged in farming. He remained in the Hawkeye State until 1878, in which year he came to Ottawa County, Kansas, taking up a homestead of 160 acres six miles northwest of Delphos. This he continued to operate until 1901, when he bought a farm at the edge of the town and sold his other property. In the winter of 1916 he disposed of his agricultural pursuits, retired from farming, and in February, 1917, moved into Delphos, where he had a commodious modern home. Mr. Smith was successful in his agricultural work and at all times was a progressive farmer, using up-to-date methods and helping his community to maintain high agricultural standards. In addition to his home, which is located at First and Washington streets, he is the owner of considerable other town property and is now known as one of the locality’s substantial men. On April 14, 1871, Mr. Smith was ordained a minister of the Christian Church, and during his long career as a preacher of the gospel had charges in different counties of Iowa and ten counties of Kansas. He still occasionally fills a pulpit and his work had been a great influence for good in the communities in which he had prosecuted his ministerial labors. As a republican Reverend Smith is one of the strong men of his party. After serving as a member of the Board of Ottawa County Commissioners for six years, he was elected to the Kansas Legislature for the session of 1895, and served as a member of the committees on assessment and taxation, public institutions, telegraphs and telephones and others. His public services were of a decidedly energetic and helpful character. Fraternally Reverend Smith belongs to Delphos Lodge No. 129, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and he also holds membership in Delphos Post No. 116, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he is at present commander.

In Highland County, Ohio, in 1865, Reverend Smith was married to Miss Jane Orebangh, daughter of the late Peter and Catherine (Ludwig) Orebaugh, farming people of Ohio. Nine children were born to this union: Isaac J., who is a passenger conductor on the Southern Pacific Railroad and resided at Portland, Oregon; William H., who was a farmer and died at Delphos, Kansas, in 1895; Blanche, who died at the age of four years; Maggie, who is the wife of William H. Barker, a carpenter and engineer of Delphos; Asenath, who is the wife of Charles A. Truax, clerk in one of the mercantile establishments of Delphos; Samuel T., who is the representative of the Standard Oil Company at Delphos; Ralph, who is head miller of the Wolf Milling Company at Ellinwood, this state; George Logan, who is engaged in farming at Culver, Kansas; and Vida, who married I. C. Ellison, of Wynne, Arkansas, roadmaster of the Iron Mountain Railroad.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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