George A. Smith and Son

Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
Volume IV
Chicago and New York

GEORGE A. SMITH, honored physician, who has given the best years of his life to his professional work in the City of Clinton, represents the second of three generations of the family who have been conspicuous in the life and affairs of this section of Iowa since pioneer times.

His father was John Henry Henry Smith, who was born and grew up in Albany County, New York, where his parents lived in a German community, being of German ancestry. His father was a wagon maker by trade. John Henry Smith as a young man went to Illinois, where in 1851 he married Emily Cooley, who was born at Hartford, Connecticut, daughter of Thomas and Ann (Kennedy) Cooley. Thomas Cooley had charge of the United States Arsenal at Hartford and
during the early '40s moved west to Kane County, Illinois, and subsequently to Blackhawk County, Iowa, and died at Waterloo. John Henry Smith was a pioneer railroad man in Illinois, an das a locomotive engineer piloted some of the first trains over the Chicago & Northwestern Railway to Dixon. On coming to Clinton County, Iowa, he took up Government land and engaged in farming. When the Civil war broke out he recruited Company A of the Sixteenth Iowa Volunteers, served as its first captain and won various promotions until he was a lieutenant-colonel when the war ended. He was at the Grand
Review in Washington in 1865. He had suffered much during his active army service and while confined in southern prisons, and instead of engaging in farming after the war he established a flouring mill at Comanche. Later he was appointed to a position in the United States Internal Revenue Bureau.

His last years were spent on a small fruit farm in Comanche Township.

John Henry Smith was a fine type of the Iowa pioneer, a man of undoubted patriotism and exalted character. In 1865 he was elected a member of the State Senate, continuing in that position for many years, and he had served on the first board of supervisors of Clinton County when the county was organized. His wife died in 1893.

Their son, Dr. George A. Smith, was born in Center Township, Clinton County, Iowa, July 6, 1854. The public schools of his native county gave him his early training and in 1881 he was graduated from the School of Medicine of the University of Iowa. For nearly fifty years he has practiced medicine and performed the routine of services of the devoted doctor. After four years in his home locality of Comanche he moved to Clinton, in 1885. He has enjoyed the complete respect of members of his profession, and has a large following of admiring friends all over the county. For five years he conducted a drug store in addition to his medical practice. He has been a factor in politics, though not a candidate for office. He was school director from 1897 to 1903, United States examining surgeon in 1891, was physician to the board of health in 1895-96, and in 1902 and in 1903 was city physician.
During the Spanish-American war he was appointed by President McKinley a brigade surgeon, with the rank of major. He had command of the Field Hospital of the Second Division of the Third Army Corps at Chickamauga, Georgia, and was ordered to Havana to open a reception hospital for General Fitzhugh Lee's command, but was prevented from carrying out this duty by typhoid fever. He is a member of the Clinton County, Iowa State and American Medical
Associations, the Second District Medical Society, is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, charter member of the Clinton Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was one of the organizers of Lodge No. 199, B. P. O. Elks.

Doctor Smith married, October 4, 1882, M. Nettie Ireland, daughter of A. B. and Mary (Cady) Ireland. A. B. Ireland was an Iowa pioneer, coming out to the territory and locating at Belle View in 1847. In 1849 he went to California in search of gold, and on returning to Iowa in 1852 settled in Comanche. He was a member of the medical profession and one of the first to practice in Clinton County. He succeeded John Henry Smith as senator from the district. Doctor and Mrs. Smith had two children: Mabel Ireland, born September 8, 1884, wife of Carlos G. Tredway, of Saint Louis; and Homer Ireland, born July 7, 1890, who represents the third generation of the family in Clinton County and is a prominent attorney.

Contributed by Debbie Clough Gerischer
Iowa History Project