Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Benjamin Smith

The dairy interests of Crawford county find a worthy representative in Benjamin Smith, who resides on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Denison township.

Mr. Smith was born in Peekskill, New York, on the 20th of July, 1863, his parents being Benjamin and Catharine (Ellis) Smith, also natives of the Empire state, but whose latter days were spent in Kansas. Ten children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith, as follows: Ida, the wife of Gilbert Lancaster, of Garrison, New York; Byron, residing in Golden, Colorado; Lois, who married Albert Cooper, of Portland, Oregon; Annie, the wife of Richard Hunter, of Abilene, Kansas; Benjamin, our subject; Adelia, also of Abilene; Franklin, a resident of Joplin, Missouri; Susan, the wife of Alexander Wilson, of Abilene, Kansas; Phoebe, who died in infancy; and Charles, of Oklahoma.

The early years of Benjamin Smith's life were spent in New York and Kansas, in the common schools of which states he acquired his education. Coming to Iowa with his parents in 1887 he located in Harlan, where his father had bought two hundred acres of land, in the cultivation of which he assisted, remaining at home until he was married. Subsequent to this event he worked as a farm hand for more than three years, at the end of which period he returned to Kansas, where his father owned eight hundred acres of land, one-half of which our subject rented.

After cultivating this for three years Mr. Smith came back to Iowa, locating upon one hundred and eighty acres of land which he rented in Shelby county. He operated this for three years and then rented one hundred and sixty acres elsewhere, upon which he resided for two years. At the end of that period he leased a four hundred-acre tract, which he cultivated for three years. During the time of his residence in the Hawkeye state he had accumulated the capital necessary to buy land, so moving to Crawford county in 1902, he purchased two hundred and eighty acres, in the cultivation of which he was engaged for seven years.

Disposing of his interests in 1909 he bought a quarter section in the northeastern part of Denison township. where he is now conducting an extensive dairy business, the majority of his cattle being shorthorns. This is one of the oldest farms in Denison township, as upon it was built the first frame house in Crawford county, which Mr. Smith has torn down during his residence here. The house was erected about 1856 and was entirely constructed of oak and walnut. Two years ago, while digging a cistern upon his homestead, Mr. Smith found two Indian skulls and a horseshoe, which he presented to the Rev. Mr. Frazee.

At Harlan, Iowa, on the 25th of March, 1888, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Annie Lorenzen, a daughter of Fred and Anna (Johnson) Lorenzen, natives of the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Migrating to Iowa many years ago Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzen first located in Davenport but are now residing in Pottawattamie county. They were the parents of eleven children, of whom Mrs. Smith is the eldest, the others being: Peter, a resident of Pottawattamie county, Ella, the wife of Henry Gertz, of Luverne, Rock county, Minnesota; Henry, who died in infancy; Herman, living in Shelby county, Iowa; George, a resident of the same county; Edward, also a resident of Shelby county; Laura, the wife of Earnest Bachman, of Pottawattamie county; and Ernest and Rudolph, deceased; and Mollie, also living in Pottawattamie county.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have become the parents of five children: Alma, the wife of Thomas Meade, of Portland, Oregon; Clarence Walter, also of Portland; and Harold, Ralph and Ruby, who is seven years of age, the last three all at home.

The family affiliate with the Methodist Episcopal church, while fraternally Mr. Smith is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America. In matters politic Mr. Smith gives his support to the candidates of the democratic party. Not being an office seeker, however, he does not actively participate in civic affairs, preferring to devote his attention to the advancement of his personal interests.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.