R. Benson Smith
That success in this life is not dependent upon either influence or inherited wealth is fully demonstrated by the career of R. Benson Smith, who by his own unaided efforts has acquired sufficient property to yield him an adequate competence for the remainder of his life, although he has not yet reached the turning point ordinarily termed "middle age."
Born in the western part of Canada, May 16, 1873, he is a son of Thomas and Jane (Graham) Smith, both of whom were natives of Canada but of Irish parentage. They came across the border line in 1875 and located in Denison township, Crawford county, Iowa, where they resided for fourteen years and then removed to Paradise township, the father having always followed the vocation of farming.
Unto them six children were born, of whom four are living, as follows: Sarah, who married Howard Cole and lives in Denison; R. Benson; Deborah, who became the wife of H. W. Logsdon; John W., who holds a government position in Oakland, California. Anna E. married W. E. Cole and died in Denison in 1907; and Melissa married Theodore McCramer and is also deceased. They were the two oldest. The father died in the spring of 1894 and was interred in the Denison cemetery. The mother's demise occurred in 1910.
R. Benson Smith was but two years old when he was brought to Crawford county by his parents and his initial education was obtained in the public schools, one year being spent in the Dow City school. Thrown upon his own resources at an early age he decided to take up farming as his life work, his first venture being on a rented farm in Paradise township. Eventually he purchased eighty acres of land in Union township and by unabating thrift and industry he has been enabled to increase his holdings gradually until at the present time he owns two hundred and eighty acres of highly improved farm land, which he devotes to general farming and stock-raising, making a specialty of stock feeding.
Mr. Smith has been twice married, his first wife having been Miss Lily E. Morris, a native of Crawford county, by whom he had one child, Ethel, who is now living on the home farm. Mrs. Smith passed away in 1900.
In 1907 Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Sherman, who was born in Carroll county, and they are the parents of three children, one of whom survive, Robert and Mabel, twins, who are deceased; and Hope, who was born December 26, 1910.
The political allegiance of Mr. Smith is given to the republican party, but he has never sought nor desired public office. He takes an active interest in all matters pertaining to local affairs and is one of the directors of the school board. In religion he holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and is one of its ardent and earnest workers. His present prosperity is due entirely to his own labor and perseverance and he therefore deserves commendation as a self-made and successful business man who holds the respect and kindly consideration of everyone in his section of the county.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.