Monday, November 28, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Obituary of Lydia (Griggs) Smith (1808-1889)

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 Lydia Normore (Griggs) Smith  (1808-1889), who died in Dodge County, Wisconsin.  
The obituary was published in the Dodge County (Wis.) Citizen newspaper on 31 October 1889 (Volume 33, number 14, page 3, accessed on microfilm at the Beaver Dam (Wis.) Community Library). It reads:

"SMITH -- At her home, Burnett, Dodge County, Wis., October 24, 1889, MRS. LYDIA NORMORE SMITH, aged 80 years, 9 months and 27 days.

"The deceased survived her husband, Lyman Smith, only two months and twelve days. Mrs. Smith was the daughter of Daniel Griggs and Lydia Normore Griggs, and was born in Salisbury, Herkimer County, N.Y., Dec. 27, 1808. When she was eight years old her parents moved to Smithville, Jefferson Co., N.Y. On Dec. 25, 1837, she was married to Lyman Smith. They moved to Koshkonong, Wis., in 1842, to Rolling Prairie in 1844, and to Burnett in 1845, where she has lived over forty-four years.

"Her husband was the first and only postmaster at Burnett, since the first establishment of the office there, and he distributed the mail matter sent over from Beaver Dam, before there was any post office there. At his death Mr. Smith was said to be the oldest consecutive postmaster in the United States, with possibly one exception. This made Mrs. Smith well acquainted with all the people of the town, and no woman in Burnett ever bore the scrutiny of daily intercourse with greater credit, or had a larger number of desirable xxxxx, attached friends. She was a member of the Baptist church, and a practical, every day Christian. Of marked individual character loving truth and speaking it plainly, she was distinguished for a large measure of good common sense, for generous hospitality, and was always ready to help those in want or trouble, and took a deep interest in the welfare of the community. Her home was the general rendezvous of preachers, teachers, lecturers and concertists, and no honest wayfarer was ever turned away unfed, or uncomforted, from her door. Her contemporary pioneers, respected and honored her, and the younger generation loved and revered her.

"Three children survive -- Mrs. S.M. Booth, of Chicago, Mrs. F.E. Lawrence, of Burnett, and Mr. W.D. Smith, of Chicago to mourn the loss of a devoted mother. She was a model wife, mother, neighbor and citizen, and the large number of sincere mourners who filled the church at her funeral, last Sabbath afternoon, and look the last farewell with tearful eyes, attested the high regard and strong affection in which she was held by her neighbors and acquaintances.

"The funeral was held from the Free Will Baptist Church, Burnett, last Sunday, Rev. G.F. Lanfield, of Beaver Dam, officiating."

This obituary follows the obituary for her husband, Lyman Dwight Smith, posted last week in Amanuensis Monday - the Obituary of Lyman Dwight Smith (1807-1889).  The obituaries provide an excellent, but short, family history, including birth dates and birth places, and a migration date to Wisconsin.  Lydia's obituary provides the married names of her surviving children, Mrs. S.M. (Sherman M.) (Augusta Ann Smith) Booth, Mrs. F.E. (Francis E.) (Delia F. Smith) Lawrence, and Mr. W.D. (Willis D.) Smith. 

Perhaps one of their descendants will see this post and learn something more about their ancestry, or have more information about the Smith brothers in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

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