Monday, July 29, 2013

William M. SMITH (1832 - 1905)

       Entering into rest 11 Aug 1905, a husband of 54 years, father of 12 children (10 surviving at the time of his passing) with approximately 16 gandchildren (to date document supported information), other family (still to discover) and  undoubtedly numerous friends; a William M SMITH of Capron, Boone, Illinois was interned at Capron Cemetery.  That's just the glimpse into this 2nd great-grandfather's life.  How I got there is the fun of genealogy research.
       As I stated in my blog for Charles E. SMITH, William's youngest son, I had just got a new laptop and started perusing through my research and stumbled upon the FindAGrave website.  A query on Charles and Mattie brought up his memorial and those of his parents, William and Jane, and links to some of their children.  What elation to learn more about this family line and even more excitement after Internet discoveries gave me more information on this family.  With all the difficulties I had in finding information on this family, I wondered if they were just invisible, but they weren't - I just needed patience.  Here's what I know so far.
      William was born in Scotland, the exact location is not confirmed yet.  I have him in Moonzie, Perth and Angus County.  He got married in Scotland to Jane.  There first child, a son John, was born in Forfar, Scotland.  Three years later, William, Jane, and John are leaving on the ship Westpoint from Liverpool, England to New York City.  Finding work in Forfar at that time appears to be difficult, but what did William see to bring him to America?  Did he have family?  On the passenger list it says that he paid for his passage.  So where did he get the money?  He had to travel from Scotland to England and stay and wait for a ship to go, he would need money for all that, right?  There are other SMITH's and MELVILLE's listed on the ship, are they related?  Leaving around 30 Jun 1855 their arrival to Castle Garden Immigration Center, NYC on 11 Aug 1855 must have been muggy considering the time of year.  I don't know where they went once they left the center, but they might have stayed around New York city for awhile, because they don't arrive in Chicago until 1856, I deduce this since his next son William is born in Cook County, Illinois, in 1857.
       The 1870 federal census places him in Cook County, Illinois farming and Helen, James, George, Jennie, Alexander, and Robert are part of the family.  In 1880 federal census the family has relocated to Boone County, Illinois, and William is still farming.  Two more children have come along, Albert and Charles.  While John, George and Jennie have gotten married and started families of their own.  At the turn of the century, the 1900 federal census, no relocation has occurred.  The Smith family is still living on their farm in Boone County, Illinois.  This aligns with what Uncle Dale told me about the Smith family owning farmland in the northern part of the state.
       Five years later, William entered into rest at 73 years of age.  There is no obituary attached to his FindAGrave memorial and nothing was found at  I know there is more to discover on William - why he came, what did he do in New York, how did they get to Chicago, where is he in 1860, what kind of farmer was he, how much land did he have, who are his parents and siblings.  I could go on, but I think that's good for now.

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