Newton Bateman.

Historical encyclopedia of Illinois online

. (page 156 of 207)
Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 156 of 207)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

early settlers of Chicago, and was elected one
of the first Trustees. He died in Galesburg,
January 22, 1858.

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Sisson are
the following: John Miller, died December 1,
1863; Mary E.. died April 4, 1863; Delia Abba;
Dora Eliza; Fanny Owen; Margaret Miller;
Helen McCall; and Anna Miller.


Judge Arthur A. Smith, for his sterling qual-
ities, is entitled to the respect and veneration
of every citizen. A life of duty well done is
always interesting, and commands universal

Judge Smith, son of Eratus and Martha
(Hulick) Smith, was born in Batavia, Clare-
mont County. Ohio. May 9, 1829. His father
was a New Bnglander by birth, a native of
Rhode Island; his mother, a native of Ohio.
The family removed to Illinois in the Fall of
1840. and settled upon a farm in Knox County.

Young Arthur spent his boyhood at the
paternal fireside, attending school and perform-
ing the customary duties of a farmer's son. On
account of the newness of the country and the
unsettled condition of the schools, his early
educational advantages were not the best; but
he had the ability and will to make the best
use possible of the means at his command, thus
laying a firm foundation for his future success.
After arriving in Knox County, he remained a



member of his fathers family until 1848, when
he became a student of the Preparatory De-
partment of Knox College, and afterwards en-
tered college, graduating with high honors in

Immediately thereafter, he commenced the
study of law under the instruction and super-
vision of Abraham Becker, an able practitioner
of Otsego County, New York. After remaining
with Mr. Becker for a year, he finished his
course in the office and under the tuition of
Hon. Julius Manning, of Peoria, Illinois, and
was admitted to the Ear in 1855. He opened
his first office in Galesburg, and continued in
active practice until the breaking out of the
Civil War. Inspired by a patriotic spirit, he
then left home and friends for his country's
service. With General A. C. Harding, of Mon-
mouth, Illinois, he organized the Eighty-thiid
Regiment of Illinois Infantry— General Hard-
ing being elected Colonel, and Judge Smith
Lieutenant Colonel. This regiment was mus-
tered in at Monmouth, August 21, 1802, and was
immediately ordered to Forts Henry and Don-
elson, where for a time, it performed guard
duty along the Cumberland. February 3, 1863,
the Confederate. Generals, Forrest, Wheeler,
and Wharton, with 8,000 men, made an attack
upon the Eighty-third Illinois, a company of
the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, and a section of the
guns of Flood's Battery. Colonel Harding com-
manded the post, and Colonel Smith the reg-

This engagement is regarded as one of the
greatest triumphs of the war. The Confeder-
ates were determined to capture Fort Donelson.
They surrounded it and demanded its surren-
der. The little Spartan band, with heroic faith,
resolved to stand their ground and die, if needs
be, in their country's cause. The Confederates
succeeded in capturing one gun of Flood's Bat-
tery. Colonel Smith proposed to recapture it,
and with the assistance of a few men, made
the attempt, but without success. The battle
raged until nightfall, and this little band of
patriots withstood this vastly superior force,
and at last, the rebels were forced to retreat.
The gunboats coming up. Colonel Smith was
ordered to go aboard and direct the fire. This
caused the rebels to abandon their plan of
taking Fort Donelson. General Lowe, the
commandant of Fort Henry, gave both Colonels
Harding and Smith great praise for their
bravery and meritorious conduct in this battle.

The following incident will show something
of the spirit and character of Colonel Smith as
a military man:

Lieutenant Gamble with six men was dis-
patched to guard a train going to Nashville.
He was attacked by rebel guerrillas, and both
he and his men were captured. They were
stripped of their shirts and arranged in line
for the final tragedy, with this tab attached to
each one: "Killed by Guerrillas." As the deadly
aim was taken. Gamble made a leap for liberty
and escaped. The others were butchered on the
spot. This act so outraged the feelings of
Colonel Smith that he issued orders that these

Inhuman butchers be captured, dead or alive.
Subsequently, they were captured — dead.

Lieutenant Gamble reached the camp in
safety. Subsequently, for meritorious service,
General Harding was made a Brigadier General,
and Colonel Smith was assigned to the com-
mand of the District of Tennessee, with head-
quarters at Clarksville. This position he held
until the close of the war, when in 1865, he wis
mustered out and brevetted with the rank and
title of Brigadier General.

With these well-earned honors. General
Smith returned to his home in Galesburg; but
soon thereafter left for Clarksville, Tennessee,
on a business venture with W. A. Peffer, after-
wards United States Senator for Kansas. In
this position, he did not remain long; for the
passions and animosities of the Southern peo-
ple had been so aroused against the North dur-
ing the rebellion, that it was extremely danger-
ous for a Northern man to attempt to live in
or pass through many sections of the South.
Frequently, under the cover of night. General
Smith was shot at, and he also received many
threatening letters. By the advice of friends,
he left Clarksville, and, in 1866, returned to
Galesburg, entering again upon the practice
of law, which he continued until 1867, when he
was appointed by Governor Oglesby Judge of
the Circuit Court to fill the unexpired term of
Judge John S. Thompson. In June, 1867, he
was elected to the same position, and for five
successive terms, he received the almost unani-
mous suffrages of the people for that office.
For the long period of twenty-nine years, he
sat on tlie bench as Circuit Judge, performing
his duty faithfully, wisely, and justly, with few
decisions of his reversed in the higher courts.
On account of ill health, he resigned two years
before the expiration of his last term of office.

In public and private life. Judge Smith has
shown himself to be a superior man. Rigid in-
tegrity, a sound judgment, prudence, and dis-
cretion are some of the elements of his char-
acter. As a lawyer, his reputation is estab-
lished for his fairness towards his opponent
and for his candor in speech and argument.
As a Judge, his impartiality and the justness
of his decisions were the predominating char-
acteristics. As a citizen, his views are broad,
liberal, and charitable, looking towards the im-
provement and welfare of his city, his State,
and his country. He is regarded as an upright
and trustworthy citizen, and is highly honored
for his services in the dark days of the rebel-
lion, and as a Judge of the Circuit Court.

Judge Smith's religious creed is not narrow.
He accords to every man the right of worship
as he pleases. Early, he was a member of the
Methodist church, but in later years, he has
been an attendant at the Congregational serv-
ice, though not a member of that church.

In politics, he is a staunch republican. He
is a believer in party principles more than m
party machinery. He was a member of the
Legislature in 1861, and worked faithfully for
the interests of his constituents. He is a mem-
ber of the G. A. R. ; member of the Loyal



Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 156 of 207)