Biography of Levi Smith

LEVI SMITH. Among the many agriculturists who have devoted their attention to the occupation of tilling the soil in Howell Township, Howell County, Missouri, Levi Smith is one of the foremost, and he owes the success which has attended his operations in this respect to his own good fighting qualities. He owes his nativity to Surry County, N. C., where he was born in 1838.

Son of Rev. Thomas and Candace (Snow) Smith, who were born in Wilkes and Surry Counties, N. C., in 1812 and 1814, respectively. They were reared, educated in a limited way, and married in their native State, and about 1860 made the trip to Howell County, Missouri, by wagon, the journey thither lasting just two months. They located on an unimproved farm, near West Plains, on which Mr. Smith spent the rest of his life, dying August 7, 1879, having been a life-long and industrious farmer, and a justice of the peace in Howell County for a good many years. Although a Union man in principle, he took no active part during the Civil War. He was a local minister of the Methodist Church for many years, was a great reader, was a well posted man on all general topics, and was in every respect self-educated. He was something of an orator also, and made many speeches on topics tending to the advancement of the country, and was an ardent temperance worker. He never used tobacco in any form, and was never known to have liquor of any kind in his house; and although he reared a large family of sons none of them ever touched a drop of liquor until after they attained their majority.

James Smith, the paternal grandfather, was a native of Delaware, but soon after his marriage went to North Carolina and spent the rest of his days in Wilkes County, dying about 1850 at the age of eighty-four years, having been a cooper by trade. The death of his wife, Elizabeth, occurred four years before his own, and a family of eleven children were born to them. The maternal grandfather, Larkin Snow, and his wife Elizabeth (Norman) Snow, were born in Surry County, N. C., and there spent their entire lives, the death of the former occurring at the age of ninety years. He was a farmer and mechanic, and to them also a family of eleven children was given. Obediah Snow, father of Larkin, was a North Carolinian by birth, and died when Mrs. Smith was a little girl. This estimable woman is still living, and for over half a century has been a devout member of the Methodist Church. Her children were named as follows: John, who is now a farmer of the State of Washington, but from the beginning until the close of the Civil War was a member of the Forty-seventh Indiana Infantry, in the Armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee, and was in many of the most important and sanguinary battles; Levi; Nancy, wife of Henry Dean, of Phelps County; Elizabeth, wife of George Davis, of Howell County; Martha became the wife of Aaron Dean, and is deceased; James, who is a farmer of Benton County, Arkansas; Mary is the wife of Solomon Aiden, of Howell County; Jane, who died in Phelps County, the wife of Isaac Randolph; Moore, who resides in Howell County; Sallie, who died in Howell County, the wife of Thomas Collins; William, who resides in Texas, and Thomas is a mechanic and lives in Aurora.

Levi Smith, the immediate subject of this sketch, was brought up on a farm with very limited educational advantages, and in Surry County, N. C., was married about 1857 to Celia, daughter of John and Nancy Marsh, the former of whom died in the Old North State. The latter is still living, and is nearly one hundred years old. Mrs. Smith was born in Surry County, N. C., and has borne her husband six children: John of Independence County, Arkansas; Margaret, wife of Henry Taylor, of Crawford County, Kan.; Alfred, of Crawford County, Kan.; Letitia, wife of James Hawkins, of West Port, Indiana; Edward and Thurlow. The mother of these children died in May, 1883, and in the latter part of the same year Mr. Smith married Elizabeth, daughter of James and Anna (Holmes) Morrison, natives of Roane County, Tennessee, where they were reared and married. Mr. Morrison was a soldier of the Confederate Army, was captured somewhere in middle Tennessee, and died in prison at Fort Delaware. His widow now resides in Fulton County, Arkansas. Mrs. Smith was born in Roane County, Tennessee, and has a family of three children: Levi, Charles and Edna.

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Mr. Smith rented land in Howell County until the war, and in 1862 joined the East Missouri Militia, and after a short time was in the Missouri State Militia and operated from Rolla to Springfield. After a time, owing to disability, he retired from the service. In 1867 he settled in the woods on his present farm, one and a fourth miles south of West Plains, where he owns an excellent and fertile tract of land comprising 163 acres, of which about 100 acres are under cultivation. He has a fine residence, surrounded by a beautiful and well-kept lawn, and near his house is a fine bearing orchard. At the close of the war he could, himself, carry all his possessions, and he now has one of the finest country homes in the county, the result of his own persistent efforts. Soon after the close of the war he was appointed deputy sheriff by the governor, but has never asked for or held other office.

Mrs. Smith is one of seven children, the other members being: Malinda, wife of Alex. Edgeman, of Roane County, Tennessee; Mary, wife of Asia Osborne, of Lawrence County, Arkansas; Debby, James R., Jefferson and Francis. Their grandfather, John Morrison, was born in Washington County, Tennessee, and died in Roane County during the war, his wife also dying there. John Holmes, her paternal grandfather, was born in Kentucky, but died in Roane County, Tennessee, a farmer. His wife, Lydia Register, was born in Delaware, but died in Greene County, Tennessee


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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