Family Stories

William J. Smith Biography

from Marion County, Kentucky – Biographies

William J. Smith

William J. Smith was born June 27, 1844, and is the first of five sons and one daughter born to James R. and Elizabeth (O’Bryan) Smith.  James R. Smith was born July 16, 1820, in Marion County.  He was an active and substantial farmer and slave-holder, and is still living.  His father, Joseph Smith, married Sarah Peterson.  Mrs. Elizabeth Smith was born September 20, 1822, in Marion County, and is a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Knicheloc) O’Bryan, who were born, respectively, in Maryland and Nelson County, Kentucky.  William O’Bryan was an early settler of Marion County, and a leading and representative farmer and slave owner.  William J. Smith, who was born in west Marion County, received his early training on a farm.  November 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Tenth Kentucky Federal Infantry, and participated in all the battles in which the regiment was engaged from Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge to Jonesboro, North Carolina.  He was a brave and true soldier, always ready for duty when called; was wounded at Missionary Ridge and was discharged in December, 1864, at Louisville.  After his return home he attended St. Mary’s College, and also spent one year on the farm.  In May, 1867, he entered the store of T. J. Smith as a salesman, served three years, after which he became a partner.  In 1876 he took entire control, while he has met with success ever since.  He is the owner of two fine store rooms at Loretto, also a good farm of seventy-six acres, with a fine residence at the station; also another farm of 200 acres, immediately west of the station, which is mostly under cultivation; also runs a blacksmith shop; is a breeder of thoroughbred race horses (Hairpin, among them, sired Kingpin), fine saddle horses, also is owner of a fine Blackhawk Jack.  Mr. Smith married August 30, 1870, to Nancy Ballard, a daughter of George L. and Letitia(Cissell) Ballard, natives of Nelson County.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith are parents of the following children:  James A., Willie J., Anna Bell, George P., Mary Clara, Phillip R., Mary Jennie, Mary Teresa.  Mr. Smith, formerly a Democrat, cast his first presidential vote for George B. MacClellan; after he became a Republican, his first vote was for James G. Blaine.  He has served two terms as police judge, and is now a justice of the peace.  With his wife he is a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

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