"Our Friends on the Acres"
Cassius P. Smith
This week the inquiring reporter visited the farm of Cassius P. Smith which is located about five miles east of Postville. Mr. Smith, better known to his many friends as "Cash", is one of the pioneer farmers of Allamakee county.
He was born in Clayton county, near National, January 14, 1866, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Smith. When he was 12 years old he came to Allamakee county with his parents. He secured an education in the public schools of Clayton county, then continued his studies at Postville high school. When he was not occupied with his books, he aided his father with work on the homestead, which was just north of where Mr. Smith is living today. (This farm is now occupied by Mrs. L.B. Smith)
On January 17, 1888, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Lucy A. Webb. They made their home on the Smith homestead until fall when Mr. Smith purchased 45 acres of land from Charles Abel on October 26, 1888. The newlyweds moved immediately to their new property. Two children were born to their union - a son, Leighton, and a daughter, Esther. Leighton passed away May 20, 1924. Esther is the wife of Leon Chamberlain of Franklin township. Mrs. Smith passed away September 30, 1922.
A little early history of the Smith farm is of considerable interest. The original 45 acres was acquired from the state of Iowa by Jeremiah Prescott on January 3, 1862. In those days the hills and woods were well populated with deer. "Jeremiah's son often told an interesting story about his father," Mr. Smith related. "He said his father often took his gun in the morning and would go deer hunting before breakfast. As the story goes, he almost always returned with a deer." Mr. Prescott must have been a good carpenter. He sawed timber with which he constructed a frame house. It was sided with basswood with the floors also of basswood. The house is still in use today, although Mr. Smith moved it to the north of where it stood so many years. He uses it for a chicken house and it is still in fair condition.
Jeremiah Prescott sold the property on October 3, 1867 to George Lull, who in turn sold it to Truman and Melvinia Stoddard on March 9, 1869. The Stoddard's made it their home for five years, selling to Alpheus Abel on October 21, 1874. Eleven years later, Chas. A. Abel purchased the property from his father on April 24, 1885. It was Chas. A. Abel who sold it to Mr. Smith in 1888.
About 20 years ago Mr. Smith acquired 55 acres of land adjoining his property from Willis Evans. the history of this land goes back nearly 100 years and to list each owner since that time would be a matter for historians. Mr. Smith has an important document showing these changes of ownership, but probably the most interesting feature of this age-old document concerns the name on the top of the list. It was Elias Topliff who acquired the land from the United States government on September 4, 1841. From 1841 until Mr. Smith came into possession of the land, a total of 28 people had owned it at one time or another.
Although Mr. Smith will be 74 years old on January 14, he still does his share of the farm work. His grandson, Leslie Smith, assists him and together they work 153 acres. "We had 30 acres of corn last summer," Mr. Smith explained. Then he continued to talk about crops, saying, "I don't believe in those new fangled ideas about erosion. When I first took over the land it didn't produce very well, but by using fertilizer it has developed into rich soil. My crop last year was the best I ever had as the corn went 60 bushels to the acre. And the land is getting better all the time." Mr. Smith also had 20 acres of oats, five acres of soybeans and corn for fodder, as well as some other small acreages of grain. He has 14 Shorthorn cows, 10 brood sows and about 200 White Leghorn chickens.
One of the features of the farm is a ten-acre walnut grove, which yields many bushels of walnuts each fall. It is a popular place for picnics and Mr. Smith allows his friends to gather their winter supply of walnuts from the trees. During the World War he almost lost the trees at an order by the government, but at the last minute officials decided to spare his grove.
Living with him is his grandson, Leslie Smith, his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Carrie Smith, and his three-year-old great-granddaughter, Nola Enyart.
"I had quite a time when I built my house during the World War days," mr. Smith reminisced. "I came to Postville looking for a mason to lay the foundation, but after talking to several they all said they were so busy they wouldn't be able to get at it for many weeks. I told each one not to bother about it, then I went home to do the work myself. They all said I'd botch the job, but when it was completed the carpenter told me it was the best job he'd ever seen."
"Cash" Smith is just like that. He's a hard and capable worker, consequently he is admited and liked by everyone.
~Postville Herald, January 10, 1940
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