Appendix L – The Smith Family

John William Smith

John W. Smith was a widower and a prosperous businessman ofWyoming,Stark County,Illinois, at the time of his marriage to Dora Ferguson.

Smith died15 JUN 1921 of "arterio icterosis with kidney and dropsy."  The obituary printed at the time follows:


Funeral services for the late John W. Smith were held from the home of his daughter, Mrs. Leroy Shullaw, on Friday afternoon, June 17, at2:30 with Rev. L.V. Harmon of theM.E. Church in charge.  Mrs. Dean Winn sang two beautiful solos, "One Sweetly Solemn Thought" and "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere," with Miss Louis Stratton as accompanist.  Interment was inWyoming Cemetery.


John W. Smith, son of Joseph and Rebecca (Parsons) Smith, was born near Wheeling, West Virginia, 25 JAN 1847, and passed away at his home in Wyoming, IL, Wednesday morning 15 JUN 1921, after an illness of about six months' duration, at the age of seventy-four years, four months, and twenty-one days.

His father was a native ofChillicothe,Ohio, and was one of the old river steamboat men.  His mother was a native ofVirginia.  At the age of three years he came toIllinois with his parents, who located in Marshall Co., where for sixteen years the father followed the occupation of farming. In the year 1865 the family moved to Valley township,Stark County, and in 1868 to Harvey County, Kansas, where the father died in 1884.

John W. Smith received his early education inMarshall County, coming toWyoming soon after his marriage and entering the employ of A.F. Bloomer, with whom he was associated in the lumber business for fifteen years or more, and where his industry and fidelity won for him the lasting respect of his employer and the community at large.

About the year 1883 he entered the mercantile business, buying out the dry goods and grocery business of Lyons and Son, and operating a store first on the North Side and later, when the center of business was in the downtown district, moving to the South Side, where he continued until 1910.

His first marriage was in 1866, to Miss Clarinda Pepper, of Tazewell Co., who died8 JUL 1894.  No children were born to this union.  On26 NOV 1895, he was united in marriage with Miss Dora E. Ferguson.  One daughter, Dorothy, now the wife of Leroy Shullaw, was born to them. Mrs. Smith's death occurred on29 JAN 1917, since which time he had made his home with his daughter.  Besides the daughter, he is survived by three grandsons, Robert, Wayne and Burton Shullaw.  He was the oldest of a family of eight children, four of whom, two brothers and two sisters, residing inKansas andOklahoma, survive.

John W. Smith was a man who, during the years of his activity, made his influence for good strongly felt.  Ever ready to sacrifice his own interests for those of the community, he filled many public offices of trust, among which were those of supervisor and assessor ofToulon townships; though in politics a staunch democrat, being elected to these offices in this strong republican community.  He repeatedly served as a member of the city council and as mayor for a number of terms.  He was also president of the Stark County Agricultural society for a great many years, and later acted as secretary of the society.  In all these offices he faithfully carried out to his utmost ability the wishes of his constituency, and labored unceasingly for the public welfare.  His love of home, his kindly disposition, his open-handed generosity and readiness at all times to serve his fellow man are qualities which endeared him to hundreds, among whom he will be greatly missed.  No call for assistance ever went unheeded when it was in his power to help.

Flowers, which he loved, were present in profusion at the funeral, attesting the respect in which he was held.  Those from out of town who attended the funeral were:  Miss Edna Estes, ofPeoria, Mr. and Mrs. Graham Evans, ofLafayette, Mrs. LouiseFerguson, ofGalesburg, and Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Sparr, ofRoseville, Ill.

Card of Thanks:

The family in this matter wishes to thank the friends for their kindly assistance and sympathy during the illness and death of their loved one, and to assure them of their appreciation.


Another account at the time of John's death indicates that during the last several months of his life, John suffered with dropsy.  His condition was serious for an extended period of time and he was in great pain.  On the night of his death15 JUN 1921, Dorothy and Roy had been up two or three times to give him medicine and, thinking that his condition remained about the same, returned to bed.  They woke up again at4:45 a.m. only to find that John had died.

"The body was not yet quite cold," according to the press statement issued at the time of his departure.


1920 census,Toulon twp.,Wyoming City,IL:

Roy Shullaw, 24, Clerk, general merchandise;

Dorothy, 23, wife;

John R., 3, son;

Wayne, one and four twelfths, son;

J.W. Smith, 72, father of Dorothy; self born inWest Virginia; father born inTennessee; and mother born inWest Virginia.


Middle name "William" obtained from Illinois Death Index.

Joseph Smith, John’s Father

In the1860 census, Joseph Smith lists himself as born inOhio, while inIllinois, his son John Smith, in 1920, lists his father as having been born inTennessee.  Joseph, obviously, "came fromOhio".  Possibly, he was born inTennessee.  Looks from the birthplaces of his older children, that he was married in Virginia.

1860 census for Marshall Co., IL (Steuben town, Sparland post office):

Joseph Smith, 39, b.Ohio, with real estate worth $90 and personal property worth $450;

R. Jane, 35, wife, b. in VA; (12 OCT 1824)

Sarah, 16, born in VA; (1844)

John, 14, born in VA; (25 JAN 1847)

Lewis, 11, born in VA; (1849)

Samuel, 9, born in IL; (1861)

Nancy, 7, born in IL; and (14 JUN 1852)

Joseph, 1, born in IL.  (SEP 1858)


We also have record of children Laura, Alfred and Mary.

It is interesting to note that Rebecca (Jane) names all her children after her own brothers and sisters, with the exception of Joseph, named after her husband.

A Lewis Parsons, 26, born inVirginia, is listed immediately following the Smith family in this census.


I received copies of deed records from Harvey Co.,Kansas, which show that a Joseph W. Smith, et al, purchased a lot in the city ofBurrton,Harvey Co., on18 SEP 1883 for $550.  Papers were filed 19 APR 1884.


Previously, on 13 DEC 1880, a Joseph W. Smith Jr. had purchased the west half of the southwest quarter of section three, township 22, range three west, Harvey Co.,Kansas for $800.  Papers were filed14 JUL 1881.


Joseph appears in the 1880 census for Turkey Creek, McPherson Co.,Kansas (page 508B).  His age is listed as 58 his occupation as farmer and his place of birth asOhio.  His father's birthplace is listed asEngland and his mother's birthplace is listed asVirginia.  Also listed in the household are his wife, Rebecca (55, VA), and children Joseph (21, IL), Alfred (16, IL), and Mary (12, IL).

Rebecca Jane Parsons Smith


Mayor Smith's friends sympathize with him in the loss by death of his mother atManchester, Oklahoma.  The following obituary is taken from the Manchester Journal:

Rebecca Jane Parsons was born12 OCT 1824 in Jackson Co.,West VA., and was at the time of her death, 16 APR 1909, 84 years, four months, and four days old.  She grew up to womanhood in the place of her birth and was married to Joseph W. Smith in 1844.  In 1849 they moved to Marshall Co., IL, and toMissouri in 1868, in 1876 they moved to

McPherson Co., KS.  She has been a resident ofManchester for the last 12 years making her home with her son, Joe W. Smith.  She was the mother of ten children of whom seven are now living.  She became a member of theMethodist Church early in life and was an earnest consistent Christian, a noble mother and a warm hearted friend loved and respected by all that knew her.  During her last sickness she was bedfast over six months and was a patient sufferer calmly awaiting the end.

Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Robinson at the Congregational church after which the remains were laid to rest in the IOOF cemetery."


A check of the soundex for the 1900 federal census forOklahoma, found Rebecca's son Joseph W. Smith, born inIllinois SEP 1858, 41 years old, living in Grant Co.,Manchester town with:

Hannsha Smith, his wife, 39, born July 1860 inCanada;

Earl V. Smith, 14, born SEP 1885, inKansas;

Vernal G. Smith, 12, born FEB 1888, inKansas;

Fred G. Smith, 2, born JUL 1897, inOklahoma; and

Grace M. Smith, niece, 16, born MAR 1884, inKansas.


Over in Wakita twp., Grant Co., OK, we find:

Rebecka Smith, 76, born OCT 1823, inOhio (error), living alone.

John Parsons, Rebecca Jane’s Father

A John Parson age 55 appears in the 1850 census for Jackson Co., VA (WV).  His age is listed as 55, his occupation as farmer and his place of birth asVirginia.  Also listed in the household are Sarah (50, VA),Adams (19, VA), Mary C. (14, VA), Samuel (13, VA), John (9, VA), Moses (8, VA), Grace (8, VA) and Rosetta (4, VA). 

Right next door is a Joseph Smith, age 29 born inOhio with household member Rebecca (25, VA) Sarah (7, VA), John (5, VA) and Lewis (1, VA).


The 1860 census for Marshall Co., IL (Steuben town, Sparland post office), lists the family of John and Sarah Parsons as well as the family of their daughter and son-in-law Joseph and R. (Rebecca) Jane Smith.

John Parsons, 67, farmer, b. Virginia, with a personal estate of $1,000;

Sarah, wife, 50 (error! should be 60 yrs.); b. inPennsylvania;

John, 19, son, b.Illinois; (John was a triplet, his brother Charley and sister Lidia must have died early)

M.H., 17, son (Moses);

M.G., 17, daughter (Grace); and

Lu.J.R, 16, daughter (Rosetta).

Nancy Parsons Hailey, Rebecca Jane’s Daughter

October 25, 2003

Hello, I saw your files at for Joseph W. Smith and Rebecca Jane Parsons.  I would be interested in learning where you got your information from for these two.  The reason I am interested is that they may be the parents of my great-great grandmother Nancy A. Smith.  Nancy was born onJun 14, 1852 in Macon Co., IL.  She married George W. Hailey in Carroll Co., MO onJan 9, 1873 and they had 8 children.  George served in the Civil War and recently I obtained his pension files.  Among the papers was some paperwork filed afterNancy's death (she was a widow and her daughter was applying to the government to cover some of her burial costs).  One of the papers identified Nancy's parents as J. W. Smith (born inOhio) and Rebecca Jane Persons (born inWheeling,VA).  Nancy and George were living inOklahoma at the time of their deaths.  One of the people who signed affidavits for George about the validity of his marriage was one Joseph W. Smith.  I figured because of his age at the time of the affidavit (age 59 in 1918) that he may have beenNancy's brother. 

I found a Joseph W. Smith who appears in the 1870 census for Cass Co., MO (Pleasant Hill, Twp).  His age is listed as 50, his occupation as farmer and his place of birth asOhio.   Also listed in his household are his wife, Rebecca (age 44, born in VA), and children Samuel, Nancy, Joseph, Laura, Alfred, and Mary.  The children Nancy and Joseph are the right age to be my great great grandmother and the Joseph Smith who signed the aforementioned affidavit.  What is also interesting is that my grandmother's notes indicated thatNancy had some siblings named Laura, Alfred and Mary.

I would be interested in what you think of all this.                              Carole Brace

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