Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 503-05.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Mrs. Lucy Brown Smith

Mrs. Lucy Brown Smith, the well known and popular postmaster of Sioux Rapids, was born January 7, 1861, at Hillsboro, Montgomery county, Illinois, a daughter of Newton G. and Euphemia (Grantham) Brown.  Her father was a native of North Carolina, while the mother was a native of Illinois and a daughter of William Grantham, who was a famous preacher and circuit rider at an early day, receiving his license as a minister from Peter Cartwright.  He died at the very venerable age of ninety-six years.  All of the name of Grantham in this country are descended from three brothers who came from England long prior to the Revolutionary war.  They settled in three different colonics—Massachusetts, Virginia and Georgia.  Dr. Grantham, of Illinois, was descended from the brother who settled in Massachusetts.  The Grantham family in Virginia numbered several notable members, including a prominent lawyer who was born and reared there.


Mrs. Smith is descended from the Georgia branch of the family.  Her grandfather was born in Cobb county, that state. January 21, 1809, and at that point his younger brother spent his entire life, dying there at an advanced age during the period of the Civil war.  At the close of hostilities his widow, Mrs. Mary Grantham, removed to Wichita, Kansas, where her sons. J. W. and J. R, Grantham lived.  She died in Wichita .some time later.  William and Susanna Grantham, the grandparents, had a family of nine children: Thomas, Euphemia, Cynthia, Rachel, Olive, Sarah, lsabelle, John and Enoch.  There were seven Grantham brothers who fought bravely for the independence of the colonies, who were cousins of William Grantham, Sr., the great-grandfather of Mrs. Smith.  He was born July 27, 1773, in Georgia, and married Miss Elizabeth Harrison, a native of North Carolina, born July 11, 1776, their marriage being celebrated in 1793.  Although William Grantham, Sr., was only three years of age at the time of the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, he distinctly remembered many of the stern events which occurred during the struggle for American independence that followed.  He was married in Cobb county, Georgia, and continued to reside there until 1802, when with his wife and three small children he crossed the mountains and settled in what was then Christian but afterward became Henderson county, Kentucky.  The family home was maintained at that place until 1828 and during that time other children were added to the household until they were parents of eight sons and five daughters.  Five of the children married in Kentucky, but all removed to Illinois about the same time.  William Grantham, the grandfather, left Kentucky and went to Illinois, where he was married to Susanna Mann, who was born June 22, 1810.


In the paternal line Mrs. Lucy Brown Smith was a grand-daughter of John and Sarah (Cabe) Brown.  That family came of Protestant Scotch-Irish ancestry.  John Brown had twelve children, the eldest being William Brown, while the others were:  Newton, Livia, John, James, Jehu, Julia, Caroline, Martha, Jemima, Katherine and Sarah.


The birth of Newton G. Brown occurred in Hillsboro, North Carolina, in 1822, and he was a youth of fourteen years when he arrived in Illinois in 1836.  After attaining his majority he married Euphemia Grantham and they made their home in Hillsboro, Illinois, where they conducted a hotel for a number of years.  In 1864 Mr. Brown purchased the American House and was its proprietor for a long period.  He died in 1870 at the age of fifty-seven years, while the mother later became a resident of Sioux Rapids, Iowa, and here passed away in 1895 when sixty-two years of age.  In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Brown were six children, of whom John and William died in infancy.  Mrs. Smith has one brother and two sisters still living, namely:  Thomas B., a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, married Laura Glenn and has one child, Junius G.  Dora is .the wife of C. A. Freeland, living in Hillsboro, Illinois, and they have seven children: Ora J., the wife of Howard Shelton; Frances, the wife of Orin Denton; La Rue Brown, the widow of .J. C. Lindberg; Norman L., who married May Kortkamp; Frank B., who married Lena C. Hutchins; Lucy Caroline, the widow of Joseph Tiftin: and Olive Grace, at home.  Olive, Mrs. Smith's younger sister, is the wife of Thomas M. Murdock, cashier of the Sioux Rapids Hank, and they have three children, Frank N., Margaret K. and June Brown.


Mrs. Smith was educated in Hillsboro (Ill) Academy, which was then known far and wide as the greatest seat of learning in the state.  Prior to her marriage she served as assistant in the Hillsboro postoffice [sic] under her brother, Thomas B., who was acting as postmaster at that place.  On the 24th of October, 1885, she gave her hand in marriage to J. M. Smith, who was a son of Henry C. and Rose (Wood) Smith, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, but were married, however, in Montgomery county, Illinois.   J. M. Smith was also educated in the Hillsboro Academy and following their marriage they settled in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Mr. Smith was engaged in business for about three years.  He died there May 27, 1887, at the comparatively early age of thirty-eight years, and his death was deeply regretted by many friends, for he possessed many attractive social qualities that gained him warm regard.


Mrs. Smith remained in Arkansas for about two years after her husband's death and in l889 returned to her home in Illinois, where she remained for about one year.  In I890 she went to Colorado, where she continued for about a year and a half and then came to Sioux Rapids, where she was employed in the store of her brother, Thomas B. Brown.  She continued thus busily engaged until 1897, when she became assistant in the postoffice and filled that position for three years and then, after a year's intermission, she was appointed postmaster, her first commission being dated March 15, 1902.  Four years later she was reappointed in 1906 and is now acceptably filling the office, discharging her duties with credit to herself and satisfaction to the general public.  She possesses good business ability and, moreover, is faithful and accurate in all of the work that devolves upon her in this connection.  She has gained many friends during her residence here and is held in the highest esteem throughout the entire community.  Mrs. Smith is an active member of the Congregational church and also belongs to the Buena Vista Chapter, No. 309, Eastern Star.  She is interested in the work of the Crittenton Home and is a member of the local board of the Iowa Home Finding Society.