An American Family History

Eliza Fox Smith

Eliza in Sioux City, Iowa
in the Early 1920s

Eliza and Twyla Mae Larson
feeding chickens.
Eliza Maryon Donald
Eliza with Donald and Maryon White in Denver, Colorado about 1940

Eliza on the Larson's Front Porch.

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

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

Eliza Fox Smith was born in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa on October 18, 1865 just at the end of the Civil War. Her parents were John Newton Fox and Sarah Jane Ricketts. She was probably named for her father's mother, Eliza Yerkes Fox. She was listed in the 1870 census as Liva age five.

According to the 1940 census, she attended school until the 8th grade.

She married Josiah Allen Smith in 1886 when she was 21 years old. Their children and family life are described in detail in the section on Josiah and Eliza Smith and in the Wind in the Willow.

She was very serious, introverted, and religious and was a member of the Baptist church and attended the Methodist church. She had a habit of singing hymns while she worked. "She knew every verse of every hymn in the Baptist hymnal. She had a pleasant voice and really loved to sing."

Besides raising her family, she worked in restaurants, cooked, washed and cleaned at the Ouller Farm, and worked in the laundry of a Catholic hospital in Sioux City. After she left her husband for the second time, she moved around visiting or living with her children.

Her grandson, Bill Smith remembered that

Grandma had beautiful geraniums in the south window of their living/bedroom on the first floor. . .[and] prepared good meals when we lived with them . . . The main words that I remember Grandma saying were "Tut tut" and "dinner (lunch or supper as the case was) is ready Joe" and there would occasionally be pork and sometimes fried chicken, corn on the cob and watermelon in the summer, fresh milk when the cow had a calf, always home made bread, lettuce with salt on it in the summer, plenty of coleslaw, often custard pie and always sugar cookies in a large jar. Grandma kept her butter and milk in a pail lowered into a very deep well about 25 feet south of the house. She kept house and did a lot of canning. Canned goods were kept in a dugout cellar about 50 feet south of the house. . .Grandma didn't walk outside much. I remember her reciting me on my arithmetic and I knew she was smart.

Her granddaughter Maryon White wrote

Twyla [Smith White] said one time that Eliza's idea of a bed time story was to tell you about the Voluska (sic) axe murders! Poor Eliza was always afraid and managed to instill this fear into some of her children and grandchildren.

Eliza divorced her husband, Josiah, but remarried him about 1930 and then left again about 1935. After she left the second time, she lived out of a suitcase for about 15 years and moved from family to family.

When her grandson, Donald White completed the 8th grade in June of 1940, he worked the Smith ranch He had Eliza's support and she moved there to keep house for him. For all the time Eliza and Donald were on the ranch, she was an interested and helpful adviser. 

At the time of the 1940 census, she was living with the Larsons.

In 1946, she was in Milwaukee and fell and broke her hip. She was in a complete body cast for several months and never fully recovered

She died at age 82 in her sleep at the home of her daughter, Augusta Smith Larson in Sac City, Iowa on May 16, 1947. She was buried in Moorcroft, Wyoming  next to her husband, Josiah Smith.

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
  • Children of:
    John Newton Fox and
    Sarah Jane Ricketts
  • Clara Fox Wood
  • Eliza Fox Smith
  • Bonham Fox
  • Merrit Fox
  • Orpha Fox
  • Etta Fox O'Dea
  • Mae Fox McKelvey

    Isabelle Solinger
    and R. Groves
  • Edward Groves
  • Isabelle Solinger
    and John Shelton
  • Clyde D. Sheldon
  • Leonard William Shelton
  • Maud May Shelton Netherow
  • Thomas Del Shelton
    John Fox and
    Isabelle Solinger
  • Earl Fox
  • Eliza surrounded by her grandchildren
    at Black Park in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid 1920s. The tall girl in the back may be Hazel. The others must be Elmer and Harry's kids.

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

    Eliza at the Larson's house
    in Sac City, Iowa bout 1947
    Wyoming was admitted into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.

    Eliza, Donald MaryonEliza with her grandchildren Maryon and Donald White Easter Sunday before church




    Mayflower Line

  • Samuel Fuller
  • Hannah Fuller Bonham
  • Hezekiah Bonham
  • Amariah Bonham
  • Christian Bonham Fox
  • Bonham Fox
  • Levi Fox
  • John Newton Fox
  • Eliza Fox Smith
  • John Elmer Smith
  • Virginia Smith Miller
  • Funeral Services for Mrs. E. Smith Here on Saturday
    Funeral services for Mrs. Eliza Smith, who had passed away the previous day in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Raymond Larson, were held from the Farber and Otteman Funeral home at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.

    Rev. Roy Cox, pastor of the First Methodist Church in Sac City was in charge. Music was furnished by Mrs. P. A. Lauterbach and Mrs. Wayne Irwin with Ray Holtz at the piano.The body was sent to Moorcroft, Wyoming where burial was made.

    Eliza Fox daughter of John and Sadah (sic) Fox was born at Chariton, Iowa, October 18, 1865 and passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Raymond Larson in Sac City Iowa on May 16th, 1947.

    She departed this life peacefully during her sleep to be awakened only on that distant shore by the call of the Master.

    On May 6, 1886 she was married to Josiah Smith. To this union nine children were born. Her husband and two of the children, Mrs. Perry Hanley and Harry Wm. Smith preceded her in death.

    She joined the Baptist Church when she was quite young, but has attended the Methodist Church in this community with her daughter and family and was a member of the "Win-One" Sunday School of the Methodist Church. For several years she has made her home with Mrs. Raymond Larson of Sac City.

    She is survived by her seven children, Elmer Smith of Hawthorne, California; Mrs. Bertha Kimsey, Mrs. Ethel Taylor, and Byron Smith of Moorcroft, Wyoming; Mrs. Gusta Larson of Sac City; Jack Smith of Portland, Oregon; and Mrs. Twla (sic) White of Spokane, Washington. Also two sisters, Miss Orpha Fox and Mrs. May McClevy (sic) of Des Moines, Iowa, and one brother, Barney (sic) Fox of Bushyhead, Oklahoma, besides 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


    DNA match with other descendant in this line.
    Hezekiah Bonham
    Amariah Bonham
    Christian Bonham Fox
    Bonham Fox
    Levi Fox
    John Newton Fox
    Eliza Fox Smith
    John Elmer Smith
    Virginia Smith Miller

    DNA match with other descendant in this line.
    Isaac Ricketts
    Sarah Jane Ricketts Fox
    Eliza Fox Smith
    John Elmer Smith
    Virginia Smith Miller

    DNA match with other descendant in this line.
    William Walton
    Thomas Walton
    Caleb Walton
    Mary Walton Yerkes
    Josiah Yerkes
    Joshua Yerkes
    Josiah Yerkes
    Eliza Yerkes Fox

    John Newton Fox
    Eliza Fox Smith
    John Elmer Smith
    Virginia Smith Miller

    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
    An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
    an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
    As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.