Monday, November 21, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - the Obituary of Lyman Dwight Smith (1807-1889)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the obituary of Lyman Dwight Smith (1807-1889), who died in Dodge County, Wisconsin.  The obituary was published in the Dodge County Citizen newspaper (Volume 33, number 4, page 3) dated 22 August 1889 (accessed on microfilm at the Beaver Dam (Wis.) Public Library. It reads:

"SMITH -- At his home at Burnett, Wis., Aug. 12, 1889, of old age. Mr. LYMAN D. SMITH aged 82 years 3 months and 21 days.

"Lyman Dwight Smith died at his residence at Burnett Corners, at one o'clock of Monday morning, Aug. 12th. He was born in Rome, Oneida County, N.Y., Feb. 21, 1807. He removed from Smithville, Jefferson Co., New York, to Wisconsin, in May 1843. Removed to Rolling Prairie, this county, in 1845, and to Burnett in 1846. He was married to Lydia N. Griggs, at Smithville, N.Y., Dec. 27, 1837, making nearly 52 years of married life.

"During his 43 years of his life at Burnett, he served as Postmaster, and was undoubtedly the oldest Postmaster in the United States who served without a break, in so populous and wealthy community. Such was the confidence of his fellow citizens in his uprightness and integrity, that for a long period of time, year after year in succession, he was elected Town Treasurer. In him, one of the oldest and best known citizens of this section of the country has served his day and generation and departed this life.

"He was an affectionate husband, a kind father, a true neighbor, and a very honorable man. He leaves a wife, two daughters and one son, to mourn his death.

"He was buried from his own residence. A very large concourse of people assembled. The rooms were adorned with evergreens and flowers, and the casket was covered with the more beautiful. Rev. E.D. Lewis was called to officiate at the funeral."

According to the Old World Wisconsin report (see Finding the nuggets that solve the puzzle for details), Lyman Smith was the brother of Ranslow Smith (Devier Smith's adoptive father) and George Smith.  Before finding this obituary, I did not know Lyman Smith's birth date/place, nor his wife's maiden name, or their marriage date/place. 

From this information, I was able to identify their children in the U.S. census records:  Augusta Ann Smith (born 1840), Emmer Jane Smith (1842), Delia F. Smith (1847), Willis D. Smith (1852).  Perhaps one of their descendants will see this post and learn something more about their ancestry.

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