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Below is a family biography included in The History of McDonald County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Dr. Benjamin F. Smith, Sr., of South West City, Mo., was born in Ross County, Ohio, on August 25, 1820. His father, George Smith, who was a native of Delaware, died in Ross County, Ohio, in 1884, aged ninety-four years. The latter was a weaver by trade, and years ago he traded on the rivers, running produce down to New Orleans. The subject of this sketch received a common school education, and attended two courses of lectures in 1844-45 at Willoughby Medical University, on the shore of Lake Erie, Ohio. This institution was removed to Columbus, Ohio, in 1846, and the name changed to Starling Medical University. Dr. Smith afterward returned to this school, and graduated in February, 1850. Prior to this he had located at Williamsport, Ohio, where he continued to practice his profession until 1867, when he came to McDonald County, locating one mile north of the site on which South West City now stands. Here he has practiced his profession very successfully, and has also been engaged in farming. Within the last few years failing eyesight has caused him to abandon the greater part of his practice. He has been three times married, first on December 20, 1845, to Rhoda Betts, a daughter of Thomas Betts. Mrs. Smith died in 1849, leaving two children, Rusilla and Cynthia. In 1851 Dr. Smith wedded Sarah Radcliff, a daughter of Benjamin Radcliff, by whom he is the father of six children, of whom five, Laura, George W., Benjamin F., William F. and Sallie, are living. Dr. Smith’s second wife was gored to death by a cow on September 1, 1868, and on March 4, 1869, he married Matilda B. Radcliff, a sister of his second wife. Five children have been born to this union: James B., Patrick H., Jennie, Hattie and John.

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This family biography is one of 82 biographies included in The History of McDonald County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: McDonald County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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