|7 July, 1932 - The Enterprise|
PIONEER SETTLER ANSWERS LAST ROLL CALL
James M. Smith Well Known Early Day Character Passes Away At Age of 90 Years. Resident Since 1865.
DROVE STAGE COACH IN 60’s
Landed In State July 5, 1865 Died July 5, 1932. Civil War Veteran Of Entire War.
James Morsoen Smith, Civil War veteran and pioneer settler of the state, passed away July 5 at the home of Mrs. Anna Petersen in this city. He suffered no pain, but slipped away peacefully, lying down as “One who wraps the draperies of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams”.
Deceased was born in Plainfield, Ind. March 8, 1842 where he was reared to manhood. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted from Unionville, Mo. in Co. M 12th Missouri Cavalry, and served through the entire ware taking part in many of the major engagements. He was in the “Battle of Lookout Mountain" and as a remembrance of the event he cut a branch from a tree which he later had made into a cane which he still had in his possession at his death.
After the war he felt the urge of the west and landed in Florence, Nebr. July 5, 1865. It seems almost providential that he should pass away on July 5, 1932 just sixty seven years to a day from the time of his landing here. He came on the steamer Stephen Douglas which was laden with an engine and rails to be used in the construction of the Union Pacific railroad.
After landing in Florence he procured employment as stage coach driver between Omaha and Cuming City, there being no Blair at that time. This work he continued until the townsite of Blair was laid out when he became a citizen of Blair.
He was married to Sarah Catherine Benner at Ft. Calhoun Sept. 14, 1868, and to this union eight children were born, six of whom are still living; they are Mrs. Anna McCracken, Mrs. Clara Beardsley and Al Smith, all of Omaha; Mrs. Margaret Moraine of Eureka, California; Mrs. Mae Rose, Newton, Iowa and M. R. Smith of Soap Lake, Washington.
Living at that colorful age when the county and state was in its making, he became a part and parcel of it, a true Nebraska citizen, always ready to do what he could, typical in every way of those olden times.
After the death of his wife some twenty seven years ago, he spent much of his time at the soldiers home at Burkett, Nebr., but this spring he came to Blair to be near his old comrad, R. J. V. Hinchman, who just recently died. Again it seems that providence intervened, and he passed away in his old hometown, the town he loved so dearly where he had reared his family and lived the best part of his active life.
His last years were years of comfort and happiness, his children showered love and affection on him, his wish was theirs and they spared no efforts to add to his enjoyment, and his memory will live with them always.
In the passing the G.A.R. Post of Blair has lost another member. Few indeed is the number left. They are meeting, one by one, the only foe to which they must bow, but they are meeting it like real men.
~~~Obituaries courtesy of the Nebraska Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair, Nebraska Public Library~~~