An American Family History

Harry William Smith

Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

harry bess
Harry and Bess in front of their home in Wright, Minnesota

Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

Harry William Smith was born March 6, 1892 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. His parents were Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox. He was nicknamed Hezekiah and was the rebel of the family. He was a mischievous boy. Maryon White related a story where his mother

Eliza had carefully nurtured some tomato plants (raised from seed) and one day told Harry that he had to set them out before he could go play. In an incredibly short time she spied him running down the road, and when she went out to the garden to check she discovered that he had disposed of the whole bunch of plants by carefully burying them upside down in individual "graves."

This is only one of the stories about Harry that are recorded in the Wind in the Willow.

In July, 1910 his sister, Ethel wrote a note to their brother, Elmer that Harry had been kicked by a horse and his leg was broken.

In February, 1911 his friend, John Farber sent him a postcard saying it was a photo of the skyscraper that he wanted.

About 1913 he married Bess Lukehart who was born in July, 1896 in Missouri. She was the daughter of James W. Lukehart and Elva F. Goody. 

They moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming where Harry got a job as a brakeman on a train. Their daughter, Bonnie E. Smith was born 1914 in Wyoming. 

They then moved to Minnesota to help Harry's father Josiah cut timber. Their next six children were born there: Ralph Smith in 1916, James Smith in 1917, Beulah B. Smith in 1919, Harold Smith in 1920, Mildred Smith in 1921 and Mae Smith in 1924. 

The family appeared in the 1920 census of Baseman Township, Carlton County, Minnesota. The family consisted of Harry W. age 27, his wife Bessie age 25, Bonnie E. age 6, Ralph age 4, James age three, Beulah age one and Harold who was less than one year. They were living next to Josiah Smith at the time.

They later settled in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska where the youngest two were born: Azalea Smith in 1926, and Harry W. Smith in 1928.

They were there at the time of the 1930 census. The household consisted of Harry age 38, Bessie age 35, Bonnie age 16, Ralph age 14, James age 13, Beulah age 12, Harold age 10, Mildred age 9, May age 6, Azalea age 4, and Harry W. age 2. Harry was working as a house painter. 

They were very poor according to oral family history. The family contacted tuberculosis and Harry and many of the children died from it. He died before 1947 when Eliza passed away. Bess moved with the remaining children to California according to his niece, Maryon White, or to Arizona according to Ethel Taylor.

Children of Josiah Smith, Jr.
and Eliza Fox
  • Mary Grace Smith White Hanley
  • John Elmer Smith
  • Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey
  • Harry William Smith
  • Ethel Edith Smith Taylor
  • Bryan Sewell Smith
  • Augusta Lena Smith Larson
  • Andrew Jack Smith
  • Twyla May Smith White
  • kidsBonnie, Buelah, James and Ralph

    Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and often deadly infectious disease. It was called consumption. It usually attacks the lungs and the symptoms are coughing blood, fever, night sweats, and weight loss.

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.