This biography is taken from the History of Blackford and Grant County Indiana. dtd.
1914. Hiram Smith is the brother of John Smith and son of Thomas Smith and Mary
(Leonard)Smith, which is included in these biographies. (pages 2,3,and 4)
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Of the older families of Grant and Blackford counties, none have lived lives of
greater usefulness to themselves and the community, and none have done more of the
heavy work of pioneering in the extension and improvement of the landed resources,
and have been more active in the affairs of home, church, community and business,
than that represented by this sterling citizen of Hartford City, Hiram Smith.
Hiram Smith was born in Monroe township of Grant County, December 11, 1855, and
is a brother of John Smith, a prominent farmer and banker of Upland, of Grant County.
Both were sons of Thomas Smith, who was the founder of the family name and fortunes
in Grant county. Thomas Smith was born near Alliance, Ohio, in 1814. After his
marriage and the birth of two of his children, he migrated from Ohio, and about
1836-1837, made the journey through Hartford City, which was then a hamlet with only
a few houses, and thence blazed a trail through the woods and across the swamps to
Monroe township in Grant county. His location was on government land, and following
this period the farming and breaking was done by oxen, and in fact the son Hiram
remembers when the work as well as hauling, was done by oxen. On the homestead
which he improved he and his wife spent the rest of their years in prosperity and
in the esteem of all their neighbors. Besides his farming possessions, which became
extensive in the course of time, Thomas Smith also maintained a small store and
served as postmaster for some years at the office known as Walnut Creek. During the
early days mail was for several years carried on horseback from a place in Ohio to
Walnut Creek. Thomas Smith passed away in 1876, survived by his widow, who died in
December, 1901. The birthdates of herself and husband were only eight days apart.
Her maiden name was Mary Leonard. Both were faithful members of the United Brethren
church and frequently walked the entire distance of four miles in order to attend
church, in which Thomas Smith was long an active official. His politics was repub-
lican. They had a family of three sons and four daughters. One of them died in
early childhood. Wesley lives in Huntington, Indiana. John Smith is the farmer and
banker previously mentioned as living at Upland. Emily died after her marriage to
Wilson Moorman, and her three children are all married. Lavina died after her marriage
to John Kizer, leaving a family of children. Jane died at the age of eighteen. The
next in order of birth is Hiram. Maria is the wife of Patrick Smith, a large farmer
and stock raiser of Union county, Ohio.
Hiram Smith grew up in the country, received such education as was supplied by the
local schools, and as he was trained in the life of the farm he followed it with
success and gave active supervision to his farming interests for a number of years.
While he remained for five years as a farmer on the old homestead in Monroe township
of Grant county, he in the meantime bought a place of one hundred and sixteen acres
in Washington township of Blackford county, and then took possession, where he made
his home for fourteen years, from 1882 to 1896. His work was largely of a pioneer
character since it was necessary to drain the land, and his attention and labors made
it some of the most profitable farm land in all Blackford county. One year following
the completion of the drainage his soil produced five thousand bushels of potatoes,
and it also became famous for its crops of corn. In the fall of 1896, Mr. Smith and
family moved to Hartford City, and their home has since been in the county seat,
although he still owns the farm and looks after its cultivation. His city home is at
514 W. Kickapoo St.
In Washington township of Blackford county in 1877, Mr. Smith married Miss S.
Salome Watson. The Watson's were among the pioneers of Blackford county. She was
born in Washington township, March 6, 1861, was reared and educated there, getting
her schooling from what for many years has been known as the Watson schoolhouse.
Her parents were Daniel and Mary (Balsley) Watson, originally from Pennsylvania, and
Daniel Watson was born near Newark, Ohio, about 1820. The Watson's were originally,
Irish people, and in the old country followed the vocation of silk makers. After his
marriage to Miss Balsley, Daniel Watson moved to Indiana, took up land in Washinton
township and did the heavy work of an early settler in order to make a home out of the
wilderness, clearing off the forests and draining the land and eventually establishing
a good home. Mrs. Watson died there in 1870 at the age of forty-four. Daniel Watson
subsequently moved to Smith county, Kansas, where his death occured in April 1885, at
the age of sixty-five. He was a man of many estimable qualities, a democrat in poli-
tics and for some years a preacher in the Baptist church, but later inclined to the
faith of the Methodist denomination and died in that belief. His wife was always a
Baptist. There were eleven children in the Watson family, two of whom, the oldest and
the youngest, died in infancy, and the mother passed away at the birth of the last
child. Nine are still living, all have been married, and most of them have families
of their own.
The childen of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Smith are briefly mentioned as follows: Rena and
Charles both died in infancy. Cora, who was born February 28, 1882, and was educated
partly in the country and partly in Hartford City, took a course in the Muncie
Business College and is now employed as a bookkeeper. Frank E. Smith who was born
October 21, 1883, and was likewise educated in the Hartford City schools, spent five
years in selling oil and gas wells supplies through Indiana, and later went with his
company to manage their interests at Casey, Illinois, and subsequently to Bridgeport
in the same state, and in 1907, moved to Lawrenceville, Illinois, where he continued
in the oil and gas well supply business until 1912, at which date he purchased a
cigar store and billiard parlor in Lawrenceville and is now one of the successful
business men of that city; he has served as city clerk and is a member of the
Knights of Pythias, and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, is treasurer of the
Loyal Order of Moose, and belongs to the Woodmen of the World. Frank E. Smith married
Pearl, a daughter of Emerson Casterline of Hartford City, and who graduated from the
Hartford City high school with the class of 1904. Laura Smith, born June 21, 1889,
attended the public schools of Hartford City and graduated from the high school at
Elwood, and by her marriage to Clyde E. Mahan, of Elwood, has a son, Clyde J., born
October 11, 1912. Hazel F. Smith, born April 8, 1890 had her schooling in Hartford
City and Elwood is now the wife of Ralph B. Campbell, lives in Elwood, and has two
children, Jack B. and Daniel Watson. Basil Pearl, born November 15, 1891, completed
his schooling in the Elwood high school, took work as a clerk with the Illinois Oil
Supply Company, and later took up the commercial part of the glass jobbing trade for
the Mercer Lumber Company of Hartford City, and lives there and is unmarried. Mr.
Hiram Smith and his sons are republicans in politics, and the senior Mr. Smith is
affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and both he and his wife are
members of the Rebekah Order.
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