Monday, December 5, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Obituary of George Smith (1812-1876) of Chicago, Illinois

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 George Smith (1812-1876), who died in Chicago, Illinois.  
The obituary was published in the Dodge County (Wisconsin) Citizen newspaper on 22 June 1876 (Volume 19, Number 45, Page 3, accessed on microfilm at the Beaver Dam (Wis.) Community Library). It reads:


"A dispatch was received Monday morning from Chicago, by Mayor Lander, stating that George Smith was dead, and that his body would be here on the evening train. We learn that it was his request that his body might be sent here in care of Mr. Lander. The funeral in the Baptist church Tuesday afternoon, and his remains deposited in the old cemetery, where his first wife was buried.

"Mr. Smith was born in Weston, Oneida County, New York, June 22d, 1812, making him, at his death, a few days less than 64 years of age. He came to Wisconsin in 1843, and settled at Lake Mills, but soon after moved to Watertown, where he engaged in building and running mills. In 1847 he came to Rolling Prairie, this county, and engaged in farming until 1851, when he came to Beaver Dam, purchased the mill property now owned by Dr. Hoyt which he ran until 1866. He then sold out and moved to Watertown and purchased a large mill which soon burned down, as did also his residence, by which he lost heavily. He soon sold his property there, moved to Dakota and bought a large grain farm, but the ill luck commenced at Watertown followed him to his new home. For two years the grass hoppers took all he raised, and last year the floods destroyed his entire crop, and last fall he left his farm to his creditors and came back to Chicago with comparatively nothing, where he lived up the time of his death, engaged, we believe, in the commission business. His sickness was of short duration, and the disease was jaundice. He leaves a wife, and daughter fifteen years of age, in Chicago. His son is still a resident of Dakota."

This obituary follows those for his brother, Lyman Dwight Smith, posted in Amanuensis Monday - the Obituary of Lyman Dwight Smith (1807-1889) and for Lyman's wife in Amanuensis Monday - Obituary of Lydia (Griggs) Smith (1808-1889).  The obituaries provide an excellent, but short, family history, including birth dates and birth places, and a migration date to Wisconsin.  George's obituary does not provide a name for his wives and children. 

From very basic research, George and his first wife, Mary --?--, had a son D'Estaing Smith (about 1837-before 1900) who married Catherine --?-- and they had two children.  George married (2) Matilda Ann --?--, and they had a daughter Carin Smith (about 1860-????). 

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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