genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893, p225.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
AUGUSTUS M. SMITH. One of the extensive land-owners of Christian County, and one of the early settlers, is the gentlest man whose history we will proceed to briefly trace. His home is located on section 15, South Fork Township. His birth occurred in Washington, D. C., January 11, 1836, his parents being Justus and Catherine (Hartner) Smith, who were both natives of Germany. In 1828 the father crossed the Atlantic on a sailing-vessel, which consumed nine weeks in making the voyage. He was a baker by trade, and after his arrival in America located in Washington, where he worked at his calling for a few years. In 1835 he came to Illinois by stage and located in Greene County, where he began working on a farm by the month, receiving $8 or $9 for his services. He continued to make his home in Greene County until 1844, when he came to Christian County and bought an eighty-acre tract of school land in South Fork Township. He erected a log cabin and proceeded to develop a good farm from the wild prairie. Though he commenced life without any capital, he was in good circumstances at the time of his death, which occurred in March, 1877. His wife, who died two years previous, lies buried by her husband in Bethany Cemetery.

 Our subject is one of a family of six children and is the only son. His sister Johanna is the widow of Thomas Melugin, and is a resident of Edinburg, Ill.; Mary is deceased; Catherine is the wife of John Jysey, a farmer of this township; Elizabeth became the wife of Charles Hanna, who is also engaged in farming in South Fork Township; and Polly is deceased.

 Mr. Smith of this sketch was only an infant when he was brought by his parents to Illinois, and with them came to Christian County when eight years of age. He grew to manhood on his father's farm in South Fork Township, and attended the winter term of school in the nearest schoolhouse, which was about a mile and a-half from his home. The school advantages of that early day were extremely meager, and his education has been mainly acquired since reaching adult years. He remained with his father until twenty-two years of age, when he started on his own account as a farmer on forty acres of raw prairie land, which was given him by his father. On this place he lived for about eight years, and, having made many improvements upon it, he then sold it to good advantage and moved to Taylorville, where he made his home for a year. His next business venture was the purchase of one hundred and sixty-four acres on section 15, South Fork Township, the farm on which he now resides. He has extended his possessions considerably in later years, and is now the fortunate owner of nearly seven hundred acres of well-cultivated and valuable land. He is engaged in raising general farm products, and also deals considerably in stock. The marriage of Mr. Smith took place on the 20th of May, 1863, when Miss Elmira Adams became his wife. Two children have been born of their union: Lizzie, the wife of William Taylor, a well-to-do farmer of South Fork Township; and Bessie, who died when three years of age. Politically, Mr. Smith is a Democrat, and takes a great interest in political and general affairs. Though not desirous of official honors, he has served his township as Supervisor. He is a worthy man and patriotic citizen, who is devoted to the promotion of all enterprises which have for their object the good of the community and the progress of his fellow-men.


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