Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
William A. Smith, M.D.


Portrait of William A. Smith, M.D.

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WILLIAM A. SMITH, M.D. One of the older men and physicians in Lovington, Dr. Smith belongs to a family that have experienced pioneer life in its many interesting, as well as trying aspects. His father was Nicholas C. Smith, who was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1784. From there he went to Westmoreland County, Pa., at an early age, and while there he learned the carpenter's trade and on the breaking out of the Patriot's War in 1812, he enlisted in the regular army for five years, and after the battle of Lake Erie he was transferred to the Western frontier. He was one of the first of fifty white men who ever set foot in Rock Island and assisted in erecting the Block House in that place and afterward erected another at Prairie du Chien, Wis. After his time of enlistment had expired he returned and settled in Davis County, Ind., where he was married late in the year 1823, to Miss Margaret Boos, who was born near Wheeling, W.Va., and was of Swiss and German ancestry.

After the marriage of our subject's parents they lived in Davis County, until the winter of 1830-31, when they removed to Parke County, Ind., and there continued to reside until the winter of 1836-37. They then removed to Montgomery County, Ind., at which place the father of the family died in the winter of 1849. Our subject's mother died in Tippecanoe County, Ind., about 1862. They were the parents of four sons and five daughters, our subject being the eldest of the family. He was born in Davis County, Ind., September 24, 1825.

Up to the age of twenty, Dr. Smith made his home under the parental roof. At that age he went to Tippecanoe County, Ind., and August 16, 1846, he enlisted in Company K, in the regiment of Mounted Rifles and served through the Mexican War. At the end of the war he returned to Tippecanoe County and entered the employ of a gentleman by the name of Black who was engaged in the tanning business. Thus occupied he continued there until the spring of 1849, when, July 3, he was married in Clinton County, Ind., to Miss Sarah A. Stinson, who was born in Ohio, September 10, 1839. They settled in Tippecanoe County and there they continued to live until the spring of 1860, when the Doctor came to Sidney, Champaign County, this State.

Long having had a taste for medicine, but never having had an opportunity to gratify his inclination in that direction, in the winter of 1849, he embraced a chance which offered itself to begin reading medicine under Dr. Moses Baker, and continued with him until 1857. At that time he attended a course of lectures at the Rush Medical College in Chicago, remaining in that city during the winter of 1857-58. In the spring of 1858 he entered upon the practice of his profession at Odells Corners, in Tippecanoe County, Ind., remaining there until the spring of 1860, when he went to Sidney. Here he remained for one year but in the spring of 1861, removed to Newman, Douglas County, this State, and practiced there until 1878, with the exception of one year (1873) which he passed at Kansas Station, this State. In 1878, he removed to Ellis, Ellis County, Kan., and there made his home for two years, but Indiana re-asserting her old claim over his affection and loyalty, he returned and settled in Parke County. He remained in that county until 1885 when he came to Lovington, making his advent here in April of the last named year. Being one of the older practitioners, he here enjoys a confidence and regard that many of the younger men could hardly expect to have attained so soon, however able and worthy they may be.

Dr. Smith is the father of six living children whose names are respectively James C., Alice, Moses B., Anna G., Emma E. and Eva. The eldest son is a railroad man being engaged as a conductor on a railroad in Kansas. Alice is the wife of B.G. Bills; Moses B. is also a railroad conductor; Emma E. is the wife of Walter Liston of Decatur, this State, while Anna G. and Eva still complete the family circle and give a tone of freshness and youth to the social circle that would otherwise be marked by the sedateness of advanced years. One child was taken away from them in girlhood, Julia C. was but fifteen years of age when she died and her decease was a great blow to her parents and friends for she was at the loveliest period of budding womanhood, and promised to be a woman of whom her parents might well be proud.

Mrs. Smith is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and has been so connected for many years. The Doctor is liberal in his religious belief. He has for many years been a Mason, having been so made in Laruramie Lodge, Tippecanoe County, Ind., in 1849. He was conspicuously engaged in the Mexican War, during which he took part in all the engagements under Gen. Scott from the landing of Vera Cruz to the capture of the City of Mexico, at which his company was the first to enter the gates of the city after its capture on the morning of September 14, 1847. After having performed heroic service his regiment was discharged by special Act of Congress August 28, 1848.

While in Ellis County, Kan., Dr. Smith met with serious reverses on account of failure of crops. He had invested much of his money in a tract of land, but having sustained such heavy losses in other directions he was compelled to dispose of his land at a great sacrifice. In spite of the fact that he had at this time passed his youth, he set about retrieving his losses and with an indomitable will and energy succeeded in a great degree in so doing. He is now in the possession of a good practice in Lovington and is much loved among the people of that place.

In connection with this sketch a lithographic portrait of Dr. Smith is presented to our readers.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 267/268

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb