Benjamin L. Smith biography

BENJAMIN L. SMITH, who is engaged in general agricultural and horticultural pursuits in Montague county, was born in Overton county, Tennessee, November 13, 1849, representing one of the old families of that state. His grandfather, Benjamin Smith, was a miller of Tennessee and followed that pursuit throughout his active business career. He died at the ripe old age of one hundred and four years. He sold all of his property in Tennessee and removed to Missouri, where his last days were spent. He held membership in the Baptist church, and long survived his wife, who passed away at the age of eighty-eight years. Their children were: Patsy, Claburn, Elam, John, David, William, Charles, James, Sarah and others whose names are forgotten.

Claburn Smith was born in Tennessee, and after arriving at years of maturity wedded Sally Sway, a native of Georgia. They removed to Missouri, settling in Lawrence county, where Claburn Smith rented land for nine years. He then came to Texas, settling first in Hill county and later in Grayson county. His residence in this state covered four years and he was then called to his final home in 1884. He belonged to the Missionary Baptist church. His wife survived him until 1886, and died in Montague county at the age of sixty-seven years, having found a good home among her children after the death of her husband. She, too, was a Baptist in religious faith. They had two daughters and four sons: Mary, deceased; Letitia C., the wife of John Wines; Benjamin L.; George of Missouri; John, who died in the Indian Territory; and Charles of Oklahoma.

Benjamin L. Smith was born in Tennessee and removed with his parents to Missouri, where he was reared and began farming on his won account, residing in that state until 1876, when he became a resident of Hill county, Texas. There he rented land and raised a crop, after which he spent three years in Grayson county, and in 1881 came to Montague county, living on a rented farm for one years. He then purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which few improvements had been made, but he repaired the house and began the further cultivation of the farm, remaining thereon for three years. After selling that property he bought an interest in the cotton gin at Dye, becoming a partner of L. J. Parr, the relation being maintained for seven years. In the meantime he bought one hundred and twenty-two acres of land, which forms a part of his present homestead, and he has added to this two other surveys, making a total holding of four hundred and ninety-two acres. He rents the tillable land and he has large pastures. Of the home farm one hundred and twenty acres is under cultivation, and on another farm an equal amount is cultivated. He has three tenants and his farm work is carefully conducted under his supervision. He has given much attention to fruit culture with good success, his land being particularly adapted to horticultural pursuits. He now has over thirteen acres in orchard. When he bought the farm it had only a few peach and apple trees upon it, but he soon planted more fruit and has always had a good supply for his family. He set out new orchards and now all are producing good annual crops, the sale of which brings him a very gratifying income. He also raises some stock and cereals and he has been quite successful in each undertaking.

In 1874 occurred the marriage of Mr. Smith and Miss Louisa Bynum, who was born in Arkansas, March 2, 1856, a daughter of Calvin and Mary (Rogers) Bynum, both natives of Tennessee, where they married. They removed to Arkansas and later to Missouri, where they remained until the death of the wife. In 1899 Mr. Bynum came to Texas and found a good home among his children. He was a saddler by trade and followed that pursuit in early life, but later gave his attention to farming. He served in the Federal army during the Civil war and was three times captured, but each time managed to make his escape. During much of his service he was stationed at Huntsville, Arkansas. He belonged to the Baptist church, in the work of which he took an active interest, and he died in 1902. His children were: Jasper, now in Missouri; Mrs. Sarah Seamons; James, in the west; Louisa; Mrs. Martha Settles; John of Montague county; and Mrs. Hulda Petree.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have eight children: Arthur, who was born in Missouri and now follows farming in Texas; Rosa, who was born in this state and is the wife of T. Anderson; Albert, who is operating the homestead farm; Cora, the wife of James Newton, who is farming on the old home place; C. J., Enoch, Nolia and Corbett, all at home. The parents are faithful members of the Christian church and Mr. Smith is a stalwart Democrat. His advancement in business life has come as the direct result of his own labor, perseverance and capable management. Nearly all that he possesses has been acquired since he came to Montague county. When he removed to Texas he had a small team of horses and wagon thirty dollars in money with which to supply the necessities of life for his wife, one child and himself. Hard work was before him, but he did not falter and his untiring industry and perseverance have at length been crowned with success.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 588-590.