John  William  Smith

          Among the numerous children of  Henry C. Smith, one of the pioneer settlers of Moral township, perhaps none were better known or more highly esteemed than the late  John William Smith.  The hardest of the pioneer work in Shelby county had been done before his time, but he came onto the stage early enough to take part in the round-up which was to make this one of the finest agricultural regions in the state.  He belonged to what may be called the second generation and did his full share in developing the resources, improving the land, building roads and ditching, which were the advance agents of the great prosperity that has since visited Shelby county.  No family connection did more for Shelby township that the Smiths, whose ancestors came from North Carolina, when all this part of Indiana was a wilderness, covered by an unbroken forest of oak, maple, beech, elm and other hard-wood timber, which caused the first settlers to ponder in amazement on the problem of how to remove them.
          John William Smith was born on his father's farm in Moral township, Shelby county, Indiana, November 16, 1850.  As he grew up he received a fair education in the district schools, and was put through the hard discipline of farm work, during the long summer intervals.  He was married February 14, 1871, to  Sarah E. Ashworth, member of an old pioneer family, and just the kind of a woman to make a good wife for a farmer.  She was born in Moral township, March 18, 1855, and was a daughter of  John Wood and Martha (Arnold) Ashworth.  The latter was a native of North Carolina, and daughter of  Larkin and Faut (Sealey) Arnold, who made the trip overland and settled in Moral township when cabins were few and far between.  John Wood Ashworth came to Moral township some years later and bought the farm on which his daughter now lives, and on this place he ended his days in 1862, when thirty-seven years old.  His wife died in June 1908, at the age of eighty-two years.
          After his marriage Mr. Smith rented a farm in section 21, on which he resided for nine years, and then bought the farm which is at present occupied by his widow.  He owned one hundred acres, some of which had to be improved before suitable for modern cultivation.  After his death, which occurred in April, 1902, Mrs. Smith disposed of sixty acres, but still retains forty, as her homestead.  Mr. Smith was widely and favorable known, especially among the farming community, and was regarded by all as a good citizen, good family man, and a good neighbor.  He was a member of the Methodist Protestant church and all his life a supporter of moral causes.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith were the parents of fourteen children, of whom nine are living:  Elmore, who married  Mary Ella Boring, has four children,  Amy,  Glenn,  Gladys  and  OtisMyrtle, the second daughter, remains with her mother; Bertha, wife of  Elmore Boring, is a resident of Hancock county, and has two children,  Charles and  FernCordia, wife of  William Harvey Vernon, resides in Hancock county, and has five children,  Roy,  Meritt,  Anna,  Arthur  and  Dorothy;  Martha Elisabeth, wife of  Frank Gillespie, is a resident of Greenfield and has three children,  Audrey,  John Russell  and  Ruby;  the other children,  Kittie Lara,  Clarence  and  Mural, remain at their mother's home.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, p 831-832.
Contributed by Kathy Ridlen

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