An American Family History

Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox
Part 1


Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Sunnyside, Lincoln County, Kansas
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa
Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa
Baseman Township, Carleton County, Minnesota
Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa
Moorcroft, Crook County, Wyoming

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

The McCurdy Farm

The Grandchildren
Irene Vera White Rickard 1909
Hazel Izetta Smith Hamilton 1910
Dorothy Arline Kimsey Smith 1911
Joseph Elmer Smith 1914
Bonnie E. Smith 1914
Ralph Smith 1916
James Smith 1917
Robert Gills Smith 1917
Mina Lee Kimsey Keef 1918
Virginia Maxine Smith Miller 1919
Beulah B. Smith 1919
Donald Dee Kimsey 1920
Harold Smith 1920
Norman Bertrand Smith 1921
Mildred Smith 1921
Lee Roy Smith 1923
Robert Jack Smith 1923
Mae Smith 1924
Doris Dean Taylor Montegna 1924
Maryon Kathleen White 1924
Donald William White 1925
William Bryan Smith 1925
Azalea Smith 1926
Twyla Mae Larson King 1926
Harry W. Smith 1928
Marjorie Ann Taylor 1931
Joan Grace Smith Irwin 1931
James Luther Taylor 1933
Ruth Louise Taylor McPhillips1937
Robert Smith before 1937
William Martin Smith 1938
James Smith 1940
Kathryn Smith D'Angelo abt. 1942
Marjorie Ann White 1943

Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County, Iowa.

This is the first home built near Wright, Minnesota.

Jack, Twyla and Gus in front of the Red Oak home.

Bryan and Jack in their Keller Uniforms "Bryan has the best chorus girl pose.

Josiah Allen Smith and Eliza Fox were married May 6, 1886 in Chariton, Lucas County Iowa. According to their son, Bryan Smith, “Eliza kept her and Josiah’s wedding certificate above the headboard of their bed."

Soon after Josiah and Eliza were married, they homesteaded in Sunnyside, Lincoln County, Kansas. They lived in a sod dugout there from 1887 to 1889. 

Their first two children were born in Kansas. Mary Grace Smith White Hanley was born February 19,1887. John Elmer Smith were born on January 27, 1889.

There were “too many snakes and not enough water" so they returned to Iowa and settled in Chariton in 1890.

When they first moved back to Iowa, the family lived on the McCurdy Farm fourteen miles south of Chariton. During this time Josiah worked on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota.

From 1884 to 1885 they rented the Braden Farm. Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey was born October 21, 1890. Harry William Smith was born March 6, 1892. Ethel Edith Smith Taylor was born August 20, 1894.

They were members of the Mt. Carmel United Evangelical Church in Benton Township and the children attended Sunday School there.

The family moved to Chariton in 1896. Augusta Lena Smith Larson was born June 8, 1898.

In 1900 the List of Heads of Families and Children taken September 13, 1900 at Benton Center No. 4 (Myers School) included Grace age thirteen, Elmer age eleven, Bertha, age nine, Harry age eight, and Ethel age six. The 1901 list added Bryan age five.  

The family also appeared in the 1900 census in Benton Township. The household consisted of Josiah age 40 who was a farmer, Eliza J. age 35, Mary G. age 13, Elmer J. age 11, Bertha age 9, Harry age 7, Ethel age 5, Bryan age 3 and Gusty age 1.

Andrew Jack Smith was born June 20, 1901. Twyla Mae Smith White was born December 31, 1904.

The story of the quilt of three feathers told by Bryan Smith came from this period,  Elmer, Harry and Bryan

slept together at the house in Chariton, Iowa. [Bryan] was less than twelve years during that period. They had one blanket which had only three feathers in it. Harry took two of the feathers,. . .Elmer got one and [Bryan] didn’t get any.

In 1907 Josiah and Eliza moved to Red Oak, Montgomery County, Iowa and lived at 203 South Second Street at the edge of  “Russian Town." They moved to Fuller farm for about a year. It was owned by the Hayes family. After that, they moved to a dairy farm. Josiah did carpentry work on these farms and Eliza worked in restaurants.

Back Row- Gus, Bryan, Grace, Elmer, Bertha and Harry
Front Row: Twyla, Eliza, Josiah, Ethel, Jack
Taken about 1908

About this time the older children had begun to marry and set up their own households. Mary Grace married in 1907 and her daughter Vera was born in 1909. Bertha married in 1908 and her daughter, Dorothy was born in 1911. John Elmer married in 1909 and his oldest, Hazel was born in 1910 and Joseph was born in 1914. Harry married about 1913 and his oldest Bonnie was born in 1914.

At the time of the 1910 census the family was Red Oak. The household at that time consisted of Josiah, Eliza, Ethel, Bryan, Gusta, Andy and Twyla. Grace was in Jordan, South Dakota, Elmer was in Montgomery County, Iowa, and Bertha was in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

After Red, Oak, Josiah bought 220 acres of wild land in Minnesota where he cut timber. Harry and his wife, Bess, were already in Wright. Their children Ralph, James, Harold, Beulah, Mildred and Mae were born there. His granddaughter Maryon, White, wrote, that Josiah

bought what he thought was a good piece of land and when the snow melted, it turned out to be a big field full of stumps.  Harry and Josiah built a fairly nice house for the family.

While they were living in Wright, Josiah told Bryan, who was about fourteen or fifteen, it was time to move out. Maryon said

Eliza quickly gathered some food together and a bit of money she had saved, and sent Jack down the road after Bryan.

He made it to Red Oak where Ethel was working in a bank and worked for a farmer.

Eliza left Minnesota and Josiah and she divorced. Eliza moved first to Red Oak, Iowa, Montgomery County, with the five youngest children and then to Sioux City where Grace lived. 

The five youngest children, Bryan, Ethel, Augusta, Jack, and Twyla lived by themselves in Red Oak. When World War I started, Jack lied about his age and joined up and Bryan soon followed. Augusta went to Des Moines to live with Eliza and Twyla was sent to Wyoming to live with Bertha.

Bryan and Jack

Twyla and Jack

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

The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. It gave an applicant 160 acres of undeveloped land outside of the original colonies. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the United States could file an application. They had to live on the land and make improvements to receive title.
The Rosebud Indian Reservation is located in south-central South Dakota and is home of the "Sicangu Lakota Oyate" or "Burnt Thigh People" of the Great Plains.

Grace and Twyla

Grace & Bertha

Josiah and Eliza's home in Chariton. It burned in the 1970s.

Ethel and Bess Lukhart

Gus, Eliza and Ethel standing, Twyla is seated in front of the second house in Wright.

Ethel and Bertha in Wyoming

Gus, Jack, Twyla, Bryan, and Ethel about 1919.
Go to Part 2


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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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