George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) online

. (page 98 of 98)
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born in Henry county, Virginia, May 28, 1751, and died August 20,
1825. He was a captain in the Revolutionary war. His son, John Pace,
was born January 1, 1787, and died October 11, 1823. He was the father
of Sallie Martin Pace, the mother of Prof. Smith. John Pace married
Nancy Alexander who was born March 13, 1793, and died September
9, 1844, and from this marriage there were born eight children Milly,
Lucy, Greenville, Sally, Frances, Robert, Julia and Elizabeth. Sally M.
Pace, the fourth child, married Stephen Smith, and they became the
parents of nine children : Thomas, Greenville, Nancy, Edward, James,
William, John, George and Martha.

The Alexanders were prominent people in Virginia. They were
of Scotch descent and belonged to the "Campbell Clan." John Alex-
ander married Maryart Gleason in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1735. They
came to Nottingham, Chester county, Pennsylvania, and from there to
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and hence to Berkley county, Virginia. Two
nephews of John Alexander moved to Mecklenberg county, N. C.,
and they and their descendants took part in the Mecklenberg Declaration
of Independence, in May, 1775, five Alexanders signing that document.

Captain John Alexander was born in Berkley county, Virginia, in
1741, and moved to Kentucky in 1805. His oldest child, Thomas, mar-
ried Mollie Ramey, and their daughter, Nancy, married John Pace, the
son of Captain John Pace.

Stephen Smith and his wife and two children moved from Cvtmber-
land county, Kentucky, and settled nine miles east of White Hall in
Greene county, Illinois, in the year 1840. The homestead was seven
miles north and some west of Greenfield. Here they lived a full half
century and reared a large and respectable family of nine children. The
oldest, Thomas Alexander, grew up to the occupation of farming. He
taught school and at the breaking out of the Civil war enlisted in Com-
pany D, 32d regiment, Illinois infantry, whose colonel was Dr. John
Logan of Carlinville, Illinois, a cousin of Gen. John A. Logan. He be-
came first lieutenant and acting captain. He resigned when Sherman
started to the sea. He is now living near Willows, Glenn county, Cali-
fornia. Greenville T., second son, was a sergeant in Company D, 32nd
regiment, Illinos infantry. He marched with Sherman to the sea and
in the Grand Review in Washington. He died in 1877 of disease con-
tracted in the army. Nancy Jane married James Sanders, a musician,
in the above company and regiment. She lives in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Edward Bonaparte served in Company C, 133d regiment, Illinois in-
fantry. He lives in White Hall, Illinois. James Turner is a retired


farmer living in Greenfield, Illinois. William Fountain is a business
man of Roodhouse, Illinois. John Clayton is a traveling salesman; he
lives at "Willows, California. George Washington is head of the depart-
ment of History and Civics in the State Normal University, Carbon-
dale. Martha Belle married Thomas Ashburn ; she lives in Decatur,

George was a lad of seven or eight when the war was in progress.
He was deeply interested in the outcome of the conflict, and remembers
the presence of soldiers in the neighborhood sent by the authorities to
arrest deserters and rebel sympathizers. He attended the country schools
and has a very warm place in his memory for his teachers, among whom
he recalls Miss Winnie Season, Miss Sarah Mason, Captain John Parks
and Esquire Richard Short. The school house was on the corner of
his father's farm and was therefore easy of access.

In the fall of 1874 he entered Blackburn University, Carlinville, Illi-
nois, where he pursued advanced studies for one year when he was
obliged to sever his connection with the school and devote himself to
teaching. After teaching for a couple of years he returned to college,
but was obliged to return to teaching, after another year in college.
But his love of study kept him at work, and within a few years he
was able to pass successfully the state examination for life certificate.
Prof. Smith is very proud of this certificate of professional attainment,
more particularly since it was issued by the Hon. Henry Raab.

Prof. Smith had now taught in several of the best rural schools in
the county, and in the fall of 1883 he was called to the principalship
of the White Hall High School. At the end of this year he was elected
to the superintendency of the Perry Pike county schools. Before
taking up his new duties in Perry he was married to Miss Nellie Adams,
a popular teacher of White Hall.

Miss Nellie Adams was a direct descendant of Gov. William Brad-
ford of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Governor Bradford's son by his sec-
ond wife was Major Wm. Bradford, whose third son, Thomas, married
Anne Fitch, daughter of the Rev. James Fitch of Norwich, Connecticut.
Major Bradford's son was Lieutenant James Bradford. His daughter,
Sarah Bradford, married Joseph Adams of Canterbury, Connecticut.
From this marriage came James Adams who married Jerusha Knight.
They had two sons, James Adams and Elisha Adams. Elisha Adams
married Clarisa Cook. From this union there were thirteen children.
On January 27, 1809, there was born to this marriage twin sons, Ed-
ward and Edwin Ruthven Adams. Edwin married Ellen Parsons of
Chardon, Ohio. The Parsons were a numerous family in northeastern
Ohio. Nellie Adams was therefore the ninth generation removed from
Governor Bradford of Plymouth. The Adamses lived in Canterbury,
Connecticut; later in Landaff, New Hampshire, and still later at Rut-
land, Vermont. From the latter place Edwin and his wife came to
White Hall, Greene county, in 1856, where Nellie Adams was born,
August 7, 1862.

The year's work in Perry was very successful and Prof. Smith was
retained at an increase in salary, but on July 24, 1885, Mrs. Smith died,
leaving a son, Clyde Leon.

Prof. Smith did not return to Perry. He resigned the work there
and taught in White Hall the coming year. In the spring of 1886 he
was elected, superntendent of the city schools of White Hall, which posi-
tion he held four years. During the six years he was in the White Hall
schools he was closely associated with Prof. David Felmley, superintend-
ent of the Carrollton schools, and with county superintendent of schools,


Mr. Win. J. Roberts, and he feels greatly indebted to these men for
sympathy and encouragement in his work.

In 1890 Prof. Smith was elected to the position of training teacher in
the Southern Illinois State Normal Universty at Carbondale. On June
16, 1888, he was married to Miss Nettie Caroline Adams, a sister to his
former wife. In the fall of 1890 they took up their work in the Normal
where for twenty-two years Prof. Smith has been a valuable member of
the faculty. He held the position of training teacher for seven years
and was then transferred to the Department of History and Geography.
Later the work in Geography was given to Prof. F. H. Colyer who had
been associated in the work with Prof. Smith.

In 1894 Prof. Smith arranged the topics for the Course of Study for
the schools of Illinois. Later he published Notes on United States His-
tory to accompany the course of study. In 1906 he published the first
text on Illinois History, a work of unusual merit. Prof. Smith has been
a director in the State Historical Society for the past ten years and
has contributed to the work of that organization.

No person has done more for the community in which he has lived.
He has always been found in the front ranks of all movements looking
toward a better community life. He has been an elder in the Christian
church for nearly twenty years; has been superintendent of the Bible
School, assisted with the music, and in other ways contributed to the
on-going of the work. For fifteen years he was a director in the local
building and Loan Association, and for the past nine years he has
served on the city Board of Education. Within this period the schools
have made great progress. Salaries have been nearly doubled, the
number of teachers increased, and new buildings erected. Domestic
science, manual training, music and art have been placed in the curric-

Prof. Smith has done a valuable work in the county institutes. He
finds time to do a few weeks' work each year and his work is always

At the last meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Normal University
Prof. Smith was made "Dean of Men," a position of honor and respon-
sibility. He has been secretary of the faculty for the past seventeen
years. He is greatly esteemed by faculty and students.

Prof, and Mrs. Smith have three children : Helen Christine, Eugene
Russell and Frances Adams. Helen has just finished the course in the
Normal. Russell is a student in the Tennessee Military Institute at
Sweetwater, Tenn., while Frances is in the fourth grade in the Training
School of the Normal. Clyde, the oldest son, married Miss Mary Powers
of Owensboro, Kentucky, and is a prominent young business man in

Prof. Smith is in the prime of life and looks forward to many years
of useful service to his family and to the world in which he lives.

vol. ni 4 1


Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) → online text (page 98 of 98)