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Peter Smith

Born - Wednesday, June 2, 1819

Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England

Married -1849

Rock County, Wisconsin

Died - Tuesday, April 30, 1912

Nemaha County, Nebraska

Burial - Linden cemetery, Nemaha County, Nebraska


Buried - Linden Cemetery - Nemaha County, Nebraska




Death of Pioneer


Peter Smith was born in Gloucester England, June 2, 1819 and came to this country when a young man. After working a few years in Wisconsin, he earned enough to procure forty acres of land and money to send to the fatherland for the sweetheart who had promised to be his helpmate soon as he could earn the means to bring her over. She came to Milwaukee and with an ox team was brought the 75 miles to Rock county, where they were married in 1849.

In 1858 they with their three children moved to Leavenworth, county, Kansas. Mr. Smith being an abolitionist, the safety of himself and family was threatened and one day as he was returning from the post office a band of ruffians attacked him and gave him such a cruel beating that blood ran over his boot tops. He crawled home and was confined to his bed for some time but taunts and threats continued till he recovered barely enough to move when he left home in the night, not daring to be seen in the day light. All bruised and nearly discouraged he made his way, on foot mostly, to Brownsville. Soon as he was able he went to work to get money to bring his family to this land of the free. About one year after he came he was able to go by boat down and bring his family and few worldly possessions to Nemaha County, Nebraska. He bought 120 acres of government for $108, but before he settled on that the homestead law came into effect and he took the farm in Lafayette precinct which he owned until his death.

He, with his wife and daughter, moved to Auburn about 18 years ago, where Mrs. Smith died soon after.

He leaves three sons, Isaac of Custer county, Thomas of Brock, David of South Auburn and one daughter, Lucretia, who has been such a comfort to him and so faithfully administered to his life.

His life has been a checkered one. He never lost courage, but patiently did his work his hands found to do, till at 6:10, April 30, 1912, he peacefully passed to the great beyond where the good wife and one daughter await him.

Funeral at Baptist church in Auburn; interment in Linden cemetery.

The Brock Bulletin


May 9, 1912






Uncle Peter Smith

Has Passed Beyond






Something of the Life History of a Remarkable

Man Who Was Closely Associated  With The

Development of Nemaha County



Uncle Peter Smith is dead!

After almost ninety-three years of labor in the vineyard, he has

heard the last call of the Master and has gone to claim the

reward of the faithful servant.


When the long winter had ended and the spring came, and the

trees that he loved so well were laden with their wreath of bloom;

the call that he had answered as boy and man so many, many

times in the spring of years long gone, summoned him, and he

might have been at work in his garden, planting the seeds with

tenderness and care, and dreaming doubtless of the days when

the full strength of manhood was his and he had first turned the

soil of his homestead on the virgin prairies of Nebraska.

And thus it was that almost up to the time that death called him,

this venerable man retained his faculties and the spirit of industry

that had been so marvelously exemplified in the activities of a life

that covered the greater part of a century.


Mr. Smith died at his home in this city on last Tuesday, after an

illness of about a week. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he had

been in very good health and on the Sunday on which he was taken

sick he was able to attend services at the Baptist church as was his

custom. He had contracted a slight cold which resulted in pneumonia

and he succumbed to the effects thereof.


Peter Smith was born in Gloster, England, June 2, 1819, and was

92 years, 10 months and 28 days of age at the time of his death.

He grew to manhood in England and came to the United States

in 1846. He located first in Rock county, Wisconsin, and there,

in 1849 he was married to Miss Eliza Blake. They lived in

Wisconsin until 1855, when they came west and settled first in

Kansas. Shortly after his arrival the border ruffian warfare

broke out and brought to Mr. Smith and his family many exciting

experiences. On account of his free state views, being an ardent

abolitionist, he was marked for persecution by the pro-slavery

adherents. He was a man who had the courage of his convictions

and was finally made the subject of personal violence by the

ruffians. They attacked him and while some covered him with

revolvers others beat him in a terrible manner and was finally

allowed to escape with his life only upon giving his promise to

leave the country. As soon as he was able to do so, he made his

way to the Missouri river and boarded a boat that landed him

at Brownville. There he found opportunities awaiting him and sent for

his family. In the years that followed, Mr. Smith was closely identified

with the up building of this county.


The story of his association with the agricultural interest of this county is

best told by quoting from a recent article written by Mr. J. R. Huffman

and published in the Nebraska Farmer.


"When he set out to the west of Brownville, through Nemaha county,

he had just $2.50 in cash. In what is now Lafayette precinct he found

land that looked good to him and he purchased 120 acres from the

government for $108. Before he could get located, however, the

homestead law was passed and he homesteaded the 160-acre farm

where he reared his children to manhood and womanhood. Only a

few weeks ago he gave the last of the pre-empted land to a son.

Men are very scarce in this county who now own their original

homestead, but Mr. Smith is one who does.


He has passed through the hardships of the early days here. For

three years he lived without a team; even oxen were a luxury. He

sold corn for 10 cents per bushel, wheat for 25 cents in trade or

20 cents cash. He planted trees and put substantial farm buildings

on his homestead in spite of grasshoppers and drought. Slowly

he and his faithful wife labored side by side. The fruit trees began

to yield rich fruits; the grove produced timber for buildings and

fuel; the prairies responded with bountiful harvests; the roses

bloomed in the garden.


When people come to see the rich Nemaha valley and those who

developed it a hundred old neighbors point to this grand old man,

now in his ninety-third year, who has lived to see railroads on

each side of his farm, the telephone in almost every home in

the county, rural free delivery of mail to every farm, and the

automobile snorting like a demon carrying the "second generation"

at the rate of forty miles an hour over the trail made by he and his

oxen a half century ago.


Seventeen years ago last August Mr. and Mrs. Smith left the farm

and moved to this city. A few months later his wife died and since

then he has made his home with his daughter, Miss Lucretia Smith,

who tenderly and lovingly ministered to the wants of her aged

parent and brought peace and comfort to his declining years.

The deceased is survived by four children: Isaac Smith of

Custer county, Nebraska, Thomas A. Smith, who lives near Brock,

David Smith, who lives on the home place near this city and

Miss Lucretia Smith. He is also survived by eight grand-children

and two great-grandchildren. 






John B. Loveless and Isaac Smith Both

Remember the Incident


John B. Loveless of Union was in the city last Thursday to

attend the funeral of Peter Smith. Mr. Loveless was an

eye witness to the assault that was made on Mr. Smith by

border ruffians, which assault compelled Mr. Smith to

leave Kansas and come to Nebraska. Mr. Smith's son,

Isaac, who now lives in Custer county, Nebraska, also

distinctly remembers seeing his father covered with

blood after the assault. These men are both able to tell

thrilling stories of the things they actually saw during

that exciting period in Kansas.

It is almost impossible for people living in this western

country today, to realize that such things could have

happened, all of which makes descriptions by such

men as Mr. Loveless and Mr. Smith doubly interesting.


Nemaha County Herald


May 3, 1912





Wife - Eliza (Blake) Smith

Born - 1822 - England

Died - Tuesday, January 1,1895

Nemaha County, Nebraska

Burial - Linden cemetery, Nemaha County, Nebraska



Son - Isaac Smith

Born - February 27,1851

Rock County, Wisconsin


Daughter - Mary A. (Smith) Niebel

Born - 1853 - Wisconsin

Died - June 18, 1882

Burial - Linden cemetery, Nemaha County, Nebraska

Husband - John Niebel

Son - Thomas A. Smith

Born - January 29, 1855

Rock County, Wisconsin

Son - David Smith

Born - December 4, 1859

Brownville, Nemaha County, Nebraska

Daughter - Lucretia Smith

Born - February 25,1865

Brownville, Nemaha County, Nebraska



Father - Smith - Born -England

Mother -Unknown- Born -England

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