From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 408-410
John M. Smith, ex-county commissioner and a gallant veteran of the late Civil war, is a native of Ohio, born in the county of Preble on the 13th day of January, 1848, a son of Atchison and Melissa (Tumbleson) Smith, and when eight months old he was brought by his parents to Huntington county, Indiana, and with the exception of his period of service in the army, his life has been spent within the limits of Union township. Like all country boys, he was reared to agricultural pursuits, received his education in the common schools and early learned to place a proper estimate upon honest toil and frugal living. When the somber clouds of rebellion cast their baneful shadows over the country, threatening to disrupt the Union and make wreck of our free institutions, young Smith, when but sixteen years of age, tendered his services to the government, enlisting December 2, 1863, in Company D, One Hundred and Thirtieth Indiana Infantry. He was mustered in at Kokomo for the three years service, the regiment being assigned to the army under Gen. Sherman in Georgia. His military experience included some of the bloodiest scenes of the celebrated Atlanta campaign, and his first introduction to war in all its reality was at the battle of Buzzards' Roost, February 25-27, 1864, the first serious engagement of that celebrated campaign. Then followed the long and toilsome march to Atlanta, with its record of daily engagements, including the heavy battles at Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Pine Ridge, Culp's Farm, siege of Atlanta, Lovejoy's Station, Dalton, and later was with his command in the army under Gen. Thomas at the battle of Nashville, Tennessee. After the defeat of Hood the regiment was a part of the expedition under Gen. Schofield to Kinston, North Carolina, and rejoined the army of Gen. Sherman. He also took part in numerous minor engagements and skirmishes, through all of which he passed without receiving a wound or being taken prisoner.
At the expiration of his term of service, December 2, 1865, the date of his discharge, Mr. Smith returned to Huntington county, and, after recuperating for a season, resumed the pursuit of agriculture with his father on the home farm. Subsequently he was employed elsewhere as a farm hand, and then leased the homestead and began business upon his own responsibility.
On the 4th day of November, 1875, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Sophia Strock, who was born in Holmes county, Ohio, the daughter of Benjamin and Margaret Strock.
As a farmer Mr. Smith has met with most gratifying success, and in due time found himself the possessor of a home of his own, to which he has since made large and valuable additions. At the present time he is one of the most extensive farmers of Union, owning one hundred and ninety-eight acres in the home place and one hundred acres in section eleven, making in all two hundred and ninety-eight acres, of which two hundred and forty acres are under cultivation.
Mr. Smith is an up-to-date agriculturist, carrying on farming with the latest and most approved appliances, studying carefully how to retain the productiveness of the soil and sparing neither time nor reasonable expense in adding and keeping up improvements. In the matter of stock raising he has also met with success, keeping only the best breeds of cattle and hogs and paying considerable attention to horses.
A Republican in politics, Mr. Smith has for a number of years been a leader of his party in Union township, and in recognition of his services as such he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners in the fall of 1894. In the discharge of his official functions he exercised such prudence and good judgment in behalf of the people's interest that, at the expiration of his first term, he was honored by being chosen his own successor.
Mr. Smith rightly considers the office of commissioner one of the most responsible within the power of the public to bestow, and he acquitted himself accordingly during the period of his incumbency. His record reflected great credit upon himself, and the people, irrespective of party, expressed themselves as highly pleased with the manner in which he discharged the duties incumbent upon him as guardian of their material interests.
In the private walks of life Mr. Smith enjoys in a marked degree the respect of the people of his community, his attractive social qualities making him popular with all classes. Affable and courteous in demeanor, he impresses all with whom he comes in contact, not only as a man of great force of character, but as possessing the finer qualities which mark the true gentleman. He is a member of LaFontaine Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Huntington, and also belongs to General Slack Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in both of which organizations he is highly respected. With his wife he is identified with the Church of God, both being active workers in the congregation with which they worship.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of ten children, whose names are as follows: Ethel, Raymond F., Bert A., Clyde W., Roscoe E., Lena A., Harvey E., Edna M., Clara E., and Anna M., the last named dying in infancy. Mr. Smith's parents were both natives of Ohio, and were born as follows: The father in Guernsey county, January 25, 1825, and the mother in Preble county, June 6, 1829. They were married in Preble county, Ohio, on May 4, 1846, and in 1848 moved to Huntington county, Indiana, and settled on land in Union township which he had purchased the year previous. He only resided on this farm about three years, after which he made two or three other changes, but made Union township his home until 1886, when he moved to the city of Huntington, where he died, October 17, 1889. His widow still survives and resides in the old home in Huntington. She is the mother of four children, viz: John M.; James W., deceased; Elizabeth J. deceased; and Mahlon F., of Huntington, who is a teacher.