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JOSIAH SMITH

SMITH, JOHNSON, TAYLOR, WIDAMAN, RODIECK, GOOKIN, HOOPES, KEAGLE, DOWNARD, MYERS

Posted By: Nancee Seifert (email)
Date: 3/31/2008 at 15:48:36

Josiah Smith was born in Tennesee about 1825 and died September 16, 1880
in Lucas County, Iowa

Josiah Smith was a veteran of the Mexican American War and the Civil
War. He enlisted in the Mexican war on November 7, 1847 when he was 23
years old at Knoxville, Tennessee. He served as a private under Captain
John S. Shavers in Company C, the 5th Regiment of the Tennessee
Volunteers (McClelland’s Tennessee Infantry). He was honorably
discharged on July 20, 1848 at Memphis, Tennessee. He participated in
several skirmishes and obtained a land warrant for his service which he
later sold. (1888 Declaration for Mexican War Pensions)

Josiah also served in the Civil War. Information from military records
is that Josiah Smith enlisted for twelve months when he was 38. He
enlisted in the Confederate 5th Cavalry in Decatur, Tennessee on
November 1, 1861. His horse was valued at $160 and he received $48 pay
for November and $24.40 in the following months.

He served under Captain George W. McKenzie in Company B or C Regiment of
the Tennessee Cavalry. He was taken prisoner twice by the North. The
first time was August 30, 1864 when he appears on register of prisoners
of war at Knoxville, Tennessee. He took an oath on the 31st and was sent
to Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 13, 1864. He was captured a few
weeks later on September 25th at Meigs County, Tennessee and appears on
a roll of deserters from the rebel army. The second time he took an oath
on September 26, to not return south of the Ohio River and was released.
Prisoners who took the oath were classified by the North as Rebel Deserter

Charles Johnson, described the Smith family's Civil War experiences in a
1983 letter to Bill Smith: “The fighting was around and near to their
home (Tennessee). They had saved one hog to have for meat. They would
shut it up every evening. One evening they went to find the hog and
found only the skin and other uneatable parts. The Union Soldiers had
taken the rest of the hog.”

The story of the hog was also remembered by Ethel Smith Taylor who
remembered their Aunt Ellen relating the same story at a family
gathering near Russell, Iowa. Their son, Josiah Allen Smith, told his
children that the Union soldiers put the hog on pole to carry it away.
(Bill Smith’s notes)

Their grandson, Bryan Smith, related the story of the hog to Bill Smith
in a 1980 letter. “Dad (Josiah Allen, Jr.) remembered when Union
soldiers butchered their last hog. Said one of the tiny kids to [the]
Union Soldier, ‘Ain’t you afraid of my pap. Soldier replied No. We would
like mighty well to get our hands on your pap.”

Bill Smith recalled another story about Si hiding in a stove when the
Union soldiers were looking for him.

Another story told by Charles Johnson was that “as Nancy Ann and one of
her sisters were getting water, a bullet hit the ground right between
them. She didn’t know whether it was shot at them or was a stray. A
cousin told me a slightly different version of the same incident, it
being that the family had been unable to leave the house for 3 days
because of fighting so close-and the girls went for water because their
supply was gone. As they were getting the water someone shot a hole in
the bucket.”

“Josiah Allen told a story (from Bill Smith’s notes) of seeing musket
balls roll in the field near their house in Tennessee during the Civil
War, and of the children searching for them later. Josiah Allen (Jr.)
indicated that the place where they lived was where Sherman started his
march to the sea.”

In about 1865 the family moved away from Tennessee to Tazewell County,
Illinois according to Mary Ellen Smith Widaman’s obituary. They moved
because Josiah had signed an oath not to return south of the Ohio River.
Charles Johnson described the move. “He (Josiah) told her mother (Sarah)
to sell everything they had, taking nothing but gold, no Confederate
money, and to take the children and make her way to Illinois, and this
she did. I don’t recall what their mode of transportation was, but it
was my impression that they did quite a lot of walking. Anyway her
father (Josiah) eventually met the family in Illinois.”

Charles Johnson wrote “I talked with my brother and a cousin. They both
said they recalled grandmother telling that Sarah Smith and her children
made the move to Illinois in a covered wagon and a team of horses, but
the children walked a great deal of the time.”

Bryan Smith said in a 1980 letter, “Grandmother in [a] large group
packed grub to last [and] came down [the] Tennessee river up Mississippi
to Burlinglin, IA. They were classed as refugees [and went] west on [a]
refugee train [and] were kicked off at [a] so called Refugee house
[which was the] Open Prairie. Several Old girls greased [the] rails on
[the] grade with rotten butter [and] they had stalled [the] train till
[the] crew got [the] rails cleaned and sanded ??they were picked up. Our
folks settled in Lucas county.”

Connie Rodieck, Nancy Ann Smith Wilson’s granddaughter, said her aunt,
Velma Gookin, remembered that the “Josiah and Sarah Smith Family left
Tennessee because the war was getting close and their home was burned,
so they escaped by boat up the Mississippi River to Illinois.”

Bryan Smith, according to Bill Smith’s notes, “mentioned that Si was not
home much. Si sent for his family to come north from Tennessee. Sarah
and the kids came down the Tennessee River on a flatboat.”
A story from Velma Hoopes Keagle was that one day Josiah took his dog to
church and when the preacher asked him to take it out he said, “if the
church isn’t good enough for my dog, it isn’t good enough for me either”
and he left.

Another story from Clell Downard said that when he was working on a
threshing crew a a worker made an insulting remark about women. Si,
being a chivalrous southerner took offense and whipped them all.

In a 1980 letter, Bryan Smith said he and was in Corydon, Iowa the day
the James gang robbed the bank.

In the application for Sarah’s Mexican War Widows’ pension there is an
oath from a neighbor. “I Abraham S. Myers being duly sworn an oath say I
was well acquainted with Josiah Smith late of Lucas County Iowa and am
well acquainted with his surviving widow Sarah Smith, Said Josiah Smith
died about 8 or 9 years ago. I helped to dig his grave and saw his body
just before he was buried. His widow Sarah Smith had no property of any
description at the date of death of her said husband and has been wholly
dependent on her son for support ever since and is now wholly dependent
on her ?? for support her son George is of age and not legally liable
for her support. She has three daughters...two of them being quite young
the other one of age.”


 

Lucas Documents maintained by Ann Selvig.
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