JOSEPH B. SMITH
Two Biographies on Different dates
Vernon Banner - April 9, 1884
AMONG THE PEOPLE
Joseph B. Smith
Nearly half a century ago, while the trace of the red men still lingered among our hills, and the hardy pioneer reared his rude
cabin, and scores of emigrants were pouring in from all quarters, among the throng was a lad of thirteen years, who had walked most of the way from the
Empire State, and stopped in the wilds of Jennings county, determined to grow up with the country, and his name was Joseph B. Smith, the subject of this
sketch. He was born in Steuben County, New York, October 21st, 1823, hence he is now nearly 61 years old. His father's team was weak, and the wagon small,
several to ride, so Joseph and William walked most of the long tedious journey from New York to Vernon. Joseph meant business at the start, and that has
been the watch word ever since. He immediately hired to Sam Polley, in Vernon, in Vernon, to work in his tavern at $8 a month, and he managed to save most
of his wages. As times have changed, extravagance has increased, for some of our boys get $18 a month, and spend it as fast as they get it.
When young Smith was 20 years old he bought his first land-30 acres for $200-and felt greatly elated at his success. All young men
stand the same chance, or better, to buy land as he did, and his course should be taken as a pattern for young men. He cleared and cultivated his land in
summer and worked at coopering in winter, and was very judicious in the management of his affairs. This is what they call making every edge cut.
He was married to Miss Sarah L. Curtis May 17, 1846. She lived three years after this and died, and in 1853 Mr. Smith married Amelia
Paybody, of Vernon, who died August 27, 1879. Amelia was a great sufferer, being confined to her bed by affliction for sixteen long tedious years in succession.
All the medical skill of the country was brought to bear on the case and all the kindness humanity could invent was bestowed upon her, but nothing brought
permanent relief, till removed by the hand of death to the "Sweet by and by," where pain and affliction are unknown. August 20th 1883, Mr. Smith was married
to Mrs. Mary F. Crosley, of Indianapolis, who is his present worthy wife. She is 42 years old, and was raised in Washington, Penn., and taught school there
5 years. She is an accomplished christian lady and a worthy member of the Presbyterian church.
J.B. Smith was deprived of education in his youth, but has a large amounnt of what we call mother wit, and nature has endowed him with
excellent business qualities. He has made the education of his children a specialty of his life. His daughter Maud is a college graduate, and has a fine
musical talent well cultivated.
He now owns 1400 acres of land, with 700 acres in meadow and has two hay presses, and other property in proportion. He employs ten
men and does a vast amount of business. He is indeed a friend to the poor. He has the best of live stock and all of his machinery is well selected. His
beautiful residence, overlooking Queensville, shows taste and neatness and is a complete Christian home. His center table abounds with the best selection
of reading matter.
Mr. Smith was elected Commissioner in 1873, and again in 1876 and again in 1879, and filled the office well. He joined the Christian
church in 1853, and has continued a faithful member ever since, and is a constant Sunday school worker, having been Superintendent 16 yrs. in succession
without missing any school. He is prompt and punctual in the performance of religious duties as well as in business matters. He has done a large share towards
making our County Sunday School Convention interesting, having filled the office of President one term.
To be rich, a practical Christian, a faithful Suday School worker, a friend to the poor, a sound Republican and a good county officer
are more excellent qualities than we often find combined in one man.
Long may he live and flourish, and his good examples be imitated, are the best wishes of the NEEDMORE BLADE.
JOSEPH BENNETT SMITH
From the 1897 illustrated Business Directory by the Banner Plain Dealer
Residence of Joseph Bennett Smith
A Pioneer of Jennings County, and One of its Most Prominent Farmers
At the ripe age of seventy-four, still vigorous in mind and body, a sonspicuous example of the results of right living and right thinking,
Joseph Bennett Smith, one of the pioneers of Jennings county and one of its most substantial farmers, is to-day passing his declining years among the community with
whom he has dwelt for more than four decades, honored, respected and esteemed. Mr. Smith comes of New England stock, his father, Thomas Smith, having been a native
of Connecticut, and his mother, Phoebe L. (Johnson) Smith, a native of Rhode Isalnd. At the age of thirteen our subject emigrated with his parents from Steuben county,
New York, to Indiana, settling in Jennings county, where the elder Smith took up a claim.
The journey from the east to the, at that time, wild and unsettled portion of the country known as the Northwest Territory, was performed by
means of an emigrant wagon, but young Smith, being a vigorous and active lad, disdained the use of the vehicle in which the family traveled and made the entire distance
on foot. Up to the age of twenty-one the young man worked on his father's farm, performing his full share of the labor faithfully and dutifully, but on the day he
attained his majority he purchased with his savings thirty acres of land five and a half miles north of Vernon and entered vigorously upon its cultivation. By means of
untiring industry and an intelligent use of his talents as an agriculturist, Mr. Smith added to his propety until he found himself the possessor of one hundred and
seventy-five acres of productive land. In 1865, finding an advantageous opportunity to dispose of his farm, he sold it in its entirety and purchased his present estate
of one thousand acres, the second largest farm in Jennings county. Since that time he has devoted himself to its cultivation and improvement, and being progressive in
his ideas and forehanded in his methods the result of thirty odd years of intelligent effort is seen in as fine a farm as it is possible to encounter in this section of
the United States. While Mr. Smith has followed agriculture in a general way, he has made a specialty of raising hay for market, and is known as one of the largest
shippers of this commodity in Southeastern Indiana. He has also given particular attention to the raising of fine stock, shorthorn cattle being his favorite breed. An
idea of the extent of Mr. Smith's agricultural interests may be obtained from the statement that it requires from six to twenty men and twelve teams to properly carry
on the work of the farm.
Up to the year 1854, Mr. Smith had always been a Democrat in politics, his first vote being cast for James K. Polk. Since that date however, he
has been allied with the Republican party, and during his earlier years he was quite active in political matters. He served as county commissioner for two terms, in
all six years, and gave a faithful account of his stewardship in this capacity. Having always been of the belief that the interests of the farming community were to be
promoted through the medium of county fairs, Mr. Smith has devoted time and money to these enterprises for thirty years past, and at different times has served as president
of three county agricultural associations; he has also continuously represented Jennings county in the state agricultural society. In church work and matters pertaining
to religion, he has been a staunch and diligent laborer since his early manhood. He is the president of Jennings County Sunday-school Association, and for the past forty
years has taught the young ladies class in the christian Church at Queensville. He is a member of the Odd Fellows order and has been affiliated with the order for forty
Mr. Smith has been three times married. By his first wife he had two children, both of them died. His second wife was Amelia Paybody, a daughter
of Dr. Ezra Fitch Pabody, who was a lineal descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Mayflower fame, being immortalized by Longfellow in his "Courtship of Miles
Standish." To this union five children were born, all of whom are living. They are Maud M. (thel), of Washington D.C., Grace D. (Blythe) and Clifford P. Smith, who lives
at Mason City, Ia., the latter being a representative lawyer of that place. Charlotte resides at Indianapolis and Harry W. remains under the parental roof. Mr. Smith's
present wife was Miss Mary F. Crosby, of Indianapolis.
Mr. Smith lives in a handsome and comfortable home, planned and built by himself in 1868. It is fitted up with every modern convenience, the barn
and outbuildings being likewise equipped in an up-to-date matter.
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