William G. Smith biography

WILLIAM G. SMITH, interested in general farming on sections 35 and 26, Harlem township, owns a valuable tract of land of two hundred acres. He was born in this township, December 4, 1870, on a farm adjoining his present place, his parents being Robert and Agnes (Greenlees) Smith, who are now living retired in Rockford. The former was born in Kintyre, Argyleshire, Scotland, August 22, 1824, and was a grandson of Daniel Smith, who removed from his native county of Aryshire to Arglyeshire, establishing his home in a sod house upon a tract of wild land. In the course of time, however, he improved a good farm there. Only two of his children ever came to America, Daniel and Mrs. Janet Brown, who made her home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Daniel Smith, the grandfather of William G. Smith, was born in Argyleshire, February 11, 1791, and in his youth assisted his father in the work of the farm. When he started out in life on his own account he rented land and was engaged in farming until his emigration to the new world. He wedded Mary Montgomery, who was born in Kintyre, January 12, 1793, and was a daughter of Robert Montgomery. The became the parents of nine children, and with their family they sailed for America in 1842 as passengers on the Gleaner, which weighed anchor at Campbelltown, and was the first ocean vessel that ever left that port. The voyage continued from the 4th of June until the 4th of July, when anchor was dropped in New York harbor. The family came at once, however, to Winnebago county by way of the Great Lakes to Chicago, and thence to Harlem township, where Daniel Smith purchased the land that has long been in possession of the family. His home was a log cabin, and the farm was purchased by Mr. Smith and his brother-in-law, James Montgomery, for five dollars an acre. Although many pioneer experiences fell to his lot Mr. Smith preserved in the work of developing the farm until there August 20, 1845, and his wife passed away on the old homestead, May 31, 1872.

Robert Smith was a youth of seventeen when the family crossed the Atlantic to the United State, and following his father’s death, the care of the home farm developed upon him. He conducted agricultural pursuits there for a long period, but is now living retired in Rockford, having acquired a handsome competence that enables him to rest from further business cares. In politics he has been a stanch republican since the organization of the party, and he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church. He was married in 1855 to Agnes Greenlees, who was a native of his home town, and a daughter of William and Martha (Harvey) Greenlees. This union was blessed with five children: Mary J., Martha, Agnes, the wife of ; William G., of this review, and Daniel A., who follows farming in Harlem township.

William G. Smith is indebted to the public school system for the educational privileges he enjoyed in his youth. He has always remained a resident of Harlem township, and lived with his parents until the fall of 1898, when he purchased his present farm. He now carries on general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising and both departments of his business are proving profitable, for he finds a ready sale on the market for the products of his fields, and also for the cattle, hogs and horses which he raises.

In November, 1898, was celebrated the marriage of William G. Smith and Miss Jane McEcheran, a daughter of John and , both of Caledonia township, Boone county, Illinois. They were natives of Argyleshire, Scotland, and became residents of Boone county in the ’40s. Mrs. Smith was born in Caledonia township, August 7, 1876, and her home has been blessed with one son, John R., who was born December 22, 1899. Mr. and Mrs. Smith attend the Willow Creek Presbyterian church at Argyle, and he is a republican in politics. He served as school director for several terms and is interested in local progress and improvement, but gives closest attention to his business affairs, wherein he has prospered. He is a young man of ambition, strong purpose and diligence, and it is with safety that his friends predict for him a successful future.

Source: Charles A. Church, Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1905), p. 455.