Biography of Robert A. Smith

ROBERT A. SMITH, better known as “Mac” Smith, is a prominent farmer and stockraiser of Swan Township, Taney County, Missouri, and is classed among the wide-awake, progressive men of his section. His birth occurred in Christian County, Missouri, January 1, 1846, and he is one of eight children born to William and America (Bryant) Smith, both natives of Cumberland County, Virginia, where they were reared, educated and married. Later they left their native State and moved to Kentucky, but remained there only a short time, and then settled in Hickory County, Missouri The following year they removed to Christian County of that State and settled in the woods on Swan, near Cedar Creek, where Mr. Smith began improving a small farm. Thence they removed to a point near Sparta, where Mr. Smith improved another farm, and there died in 1865. He was very successful as a tiller of the soil, and was also quite a prominent horse raiser. During the war he was a Union man, but took no part except to serve in the Home Guards. He was a pioneer of Christian County. His grandfather, Spencer Smith, a native Virginian, and a mechanic who followed farming in that State, passed his entire life there with his wife, Sarah Crecy. He had three sons and one daughter. On the maternal side, his grandfather, Eli Bryant, was also a native of the Old Dominion. The mother of our subject died in Christian County about 1860. Eight children were born to her marriage with Mr. Smith, as follows: Sallie A., widow of Washington Burkhart; George H., died in Nebraska several years before the war; William, was a militiaman and was killed in Christian County by bush-whackers in 1863 and his body left in the woods to be eaten by hogs (he left a wife and one child); Thomas J., of Christian County, who is engaged in farming (he was a soldier in the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry, serving three years and operating in Missouri, and was at Rolla most of the time); Robert A., subject; Alvira, died when young; Washington was killed at Swanville, October 11, 1869; and James died at the home of our subject.

The latter was reared on the farm in Christian County, with no education worth speaking about, and in the fall of 1864 joined Company M, Seventy-third Missouri Cavalry, as flag bearer or fifth sergeant, serving until the close of the war, principally in Arkansas. He was in many skirmishes and was discharged at Forsyth after the war. As he had been reared to agricultural pursuits it was but natural that he should select that as his calling in life. He purchased land in Taney County, and has added to this until he is now the owner of 270 acres of good land, 70 acres cleared, on which are good buildings and improvements. He is also the owner of a good farm of 156 acres near Sparta, all the fruits of his own perseverance. He is well known as a stock dealer and annually handles many cattle, shipping to St. Louis and other points. He is also one of the leading farmers of his section and is considered authority on all subjects relating to agricultural pursuits. In the year 1865 he celebrated his nuptials with Miss Permelia Roberts, a native of Christian County and the daughter of Williamson and Mary Roberts, who came from Tennessee to Christian County. In this county Mrs. Roberts died in May, 1889, but the father is still living and is a wealthy farmer. He served in the militia during the war. The following children were born to our subject and wife: Mary L., died in infancy; William, died when twenty-one years of age; Robert; Rosetta, who died in infancy; Albert; one died unnamed; Maggie; Ina; Sanford and Laura. Mr. Smith is a member of the Masonic fraternity in Forsyth, Lodge No. 453.


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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