SMITH, JOHN - Sangamon County farmers are not only noted for their skill in agricultural work, but for their abounding hospitality. They welcome their guests with a cordiality that savors of the Southern States before the war. One of the older farms, who have passed through many phases of life there, is John Smith, of Section 12, Williams Township. He was born in Sangamon County, March 14, 1837, a son of Philip Smith and his excellent wife, Rebecca (Hendricks) Smith, the former born May 13, 1813, in Montgomery County, N.C., and the latter in Kentucky.
Philip Smith was a farmer and came to Illinois with his father, who bore the same name, in 1822. They located in what is now Cooper Township, Sangamon County, but later settled in Williams Township. In the latter home the younger Philip Smith spent the remainder of his life and there his ten children were born. Four of them still survive: John; Henry, of Kansas; Laura, wife of George Ash, of Williams Township, and Mrs. Mary Dolan, of Williamsville. Philip Smith, Jr., was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and was ever ready to prove his devotion to his country and his family. Both he and his wife died at an advanced age.
John Smith grew up in Williams Township, learning to farm and studying in the little log school house of his neighborhood. While he was assisting his father, the war broke out. While he felt he was needed at home, at last he could not longer resist the call of his country, enlisting in Company C, One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry as did his brother, William, and a brother-in-law, Mr. Tuttle. The latter lost his life at the Siege of Vicksburg, in which Mr. Smith also participated, but with less fatal results. Mr. Smith was also in a number of other engagements, including that at Jackson, Miss. At the close of the war, he returned to Sangamon County and resumed his farming, which he has since continued. He now resides on the old farm place of seventy-nine acres, which he owns.
In 1864 Mr. Smith was married to Martha Williams, born in Indiana, October 3, 1841, and a son and daughter were born to them: Ida Belle, who later died, and Ulysses F., who is a resident of Springfield. Mrs. Smith died at Quincy, Ill. On October 8, 1874, Mr. Smith married Amanda Yocom, born near Williamsville, in Sangamon County, October 18, 1842. She is a daughter of George Yocom, born in Kentucky, who at an early day came to Sangamon County, and there continued to farm up to his death. She was one of nine children, four sons and five daughters, of whom three sons and two daughters survive. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Alice, wife of Taylor Mathias, of Dawson; Maggie, wife of Frank Brest, a farmer of Buffalo Hart; LeRoy, at home, and Lorin, a farmer of Illiopolis. There are eighteen grandchildren in the family. In addition to his homestead of seventy-nine acres, Mr. Smith owns forty acres of land in Logan County.
Having served his country so bravely in its time of need, Mr. Smith is now enjoying pleasant associations as a member of the G.A.R. He and his wife are charming, pleasant people, who have friends all over the county. They have reared a family of whom any parents might well be proud, and enjoy their society and that of the grandchildren who are growing up to carry on the name. Both in war and in peace Mr. Smith has proven himself a loyal, brave citizen, and one who never shrunk from the duty that lay before him.