Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 443] is a highly respected resident of Perry township, this county. She was a daughter of Samuel Armstrong, and a grand-daughter of Alexander Armstrong, who was a citizen of Washington Co., Pa. She is the widow of the late William J. S. Smith, whose memory is still green with the citizens of Perry township.

Alexander Armstrong, after reaching maturity, bought a farm near New Castle, and married Catherine Taylor, who presented him in the course of their married life these children: Rebecca; Betsey E.; Marguerite; Samuel, the father of Mrs. Smith; John; Alexander, Jr.; and James. Mr. Armstrong continued to live on his farm, and supervise its cultivation until his death at the age of seventy-four.

Samuel Armstrong lived during the earlier years of his life in Washington County, and later he purchased 170 acres near Pleasant Hill, Perry township, Lawrence County. Being a man of practical ideas and good judgment, he soon surrounded himself with modern improvements, among which was a commodious new house where he lived until 1867, when he passed away at the age of seventy. His wife was Isabella Walker, a daughter of Robert Walker, a native Pennsylvanian, and the following children were the fruits of their union: Robert W.; Eliza J.; Margaret S.; Isabella B.; John A.; Samuel P.; James T.; and Rebecca Emeline, whose name figures as the title of this sketch.

William Smith

Our subject's husband, William J. S. Smith, was a son of John Smith, who married Elizabeth Stewart, a grandson of James Smith, who was an Irish linen manufacturer, and great-grandson of Richard Smith, who removed from Scotland to Ireland. He was a stanch Covenanter. John Smith came to America when a young man in 1822 and settled in Jefferson Co., New York, where he taught school some years; he afterwards became the proprietor of a farm near Bloomington, Ill.; his death took place at the age of seventy, at Morning Sun, Iowa. William John Stevely Smith, husband of Mrs. R. Emeline Smith, was born in Jefferson Co., N.Y., and spent his early boyhood days in Beaver Co., Pa., later removing with his parents to the State of Illinois. When a young man he was engaged as fireman on a steamer plying on the Mississippi River between Cairo and New Orleans. His subsequent history varies to a large extent from that of the ordinary individual, for he became fired by the wonderful stories of gold discoveries in the West, and although only a youth of eighteen years he turned his face toward the Golden Gate. Fortune was kind enough to smile on his endeavors, and he succeeded in accumulating a sufficient quantity of the precious metal to make him a wealthy man. He then bought a farm of 160 acres near Dixon, California, upon which some improvements had been made, which were continued by him with painstaking care; as a result of his foresight and excellent judgment he was able to dispose of his land at a considerable advance in price, his speculation proving entirely successful. He then returned to the home of his youth, and invested in 133 acres of land in Perry township, Lawrence County, and that property has continued to be the family home since that time. A large and comfortable house was erected, which was followed by a barn and other buildings necessary in carrying on a farm. Mr. Smith made a specialty of stock, and owned horses, cattle, sheep and hogs of excellent grades. When it came to expressing his preferences and exercising his right of suffrage in an election, he invariably voted the straight Republican ticket. His life closed at the age of sixty-eight. His first wife was Eliza Vance, and their children were: Nancy, Watson Vance, Ira S., and Ella E. By his later marriage to Rebecca E. Armstrong, there were added to the household these four children: Maggie, Leland S., Audley R., and John A.

Mrs. R. Emeline Smith, whose parentage and life has been outlined together with that of her husband's, is well known in the vicinity of her home as a woman of kindly impulses, and as one who is well-endowed by nature to be that greatest of blessings—a good mother; such a place in home life well filled is of more intrinsic worth than many a position more prominently before the public eye. The portrait of the late William John Stevely Smith is presented on a preceding page.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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