Perhaps nothing else is so well calculated to inspire the present generation with justifiable local pride, with love of country and home, and with exalted ideals of conduct, as a study of the lives of those who have made the great Middle West what it is today – a marvel of wealth, industry, and high civilization. Among the earlier residents of Union township – where he owns farms aggregating two hundred and sixty acres, with a beautiful home farm of eighty-five acres located three miles west of the city of Burlington – is Andrew Smith, who was born in Burlington on the 5th day of January, 1841, a son of Peter and Anna Smith. His father, who was born in Germany on the banks of the classic Rhine, married in his native land, and thence came to the United States in 1835, locating first in Cincinnati, where he remained until 1839. Thence he came West and took up his residence in what is now the city of Burlington, finding temporary employment in the new settlement as a butcher. This occupation, however, he shortly afterward abandoned for the life of the farm, and after conducting agricultural operations in the vicinity of the city for a few years, bought a tract of two hundred acres on the Lower Augusta road. There and at the homestead now occupied by his son, our subject, he resided until 1866, when he retired from active life and removed to Burlington, where his demise occurred on Jan. 15, 1890, his own death having been preceded by that of his wife, who died in 1879. They were among the early members of the Catholic church in this portion of Iowa, becoming identified with St. John's church on its organization, and were among the chief contributors to the fund for building the first house of worship as well as later edifices. They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom survived to mature years.
Andrew Smith is the youngest son of the family of which he is a member, two sisters, however, being younger than he. While a boy he devoted himself to securing an education, but was compelled to be content with only a modicum of formal learning, as in the primitive country schools of those pioneer days the session lasted as a rule but four months out of each year. Moreover, when but ten years of age he began to bear a share of the hard work of the farm. Thus he received the best of training in what was to be the work of his life, and while yet a young man relieved his father of the work so that the latter might retire.
On April 23, 1869, he wedded Miss Kate Fritz, who died a few years later, leaving three children; Edward, a farmer of Union township; Anna, who died at Peoria, Ill., while a sister in a convent at that place; and Andrew T., also engaged in farming in Union township. After his marriage Mr. Smith began operating the home farm independently, having purchased it of his father, and this has ever since been the place of his residence. He has constantly improved the home and surroundings, making it one of the most notable country residences in this vicinity, and has from time to time added to his real estate holdings until he ranks among the leading land owners of Union township.
On Nov. 9, 1875, he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Fischer, who was born March 1, 1855, a daughter of Joseph and Matilda (Schalder) Fischer. Mrs. Smith's parents were born and reared in Germany, and there celebrated their marriage, coming to America and to Des Moines county in the year 1854. The father was engaged in the dairy business at Burlington for a period of about six years, at the end of which time he removed to Flint River township, and there continued to reside until the time of his death, which was 1864. Both parents were devoted members of the Catholic church. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born twelve children, of whom three sons and five daughters survive, as follows; Joseph, now a farmer of Union township; Matilda, wife of Albert Swallow; and Anna, Henry C., Minnie, Carl, Leah, and Elsie. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the members of their family are identified with the Catholic church, and have given largely of their means for its support and for the building of the new church structure. In political life Mr. Smith, as was also his father before him, is a worker for Democratic success, and while he has never aspired to the honor of public preferment in the shape of official position, he has for many years acted as director of the schools. In this capacity he has done much for the cause of education, and his work has met with the approval of the people in the highest degree. His life has been crowned with success in many ways, for by good judgment and enterprise he has become the possessor of wealth, while at the same time his social disposition, loyalty, and uprightness have won him respect and widespread esteem.