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Below is a family biography included in The History of DeKalb County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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J. J. and W. R. Smith, of the firm of Smith Bros., the well known proprietors of a general store of Smithville, established their house in the fall of 1877. They are the sons of William S. and Catherine J. (Tippitt) Smith. The father was of English-Irish descent, born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1823. His father, John Y. Smith, was a native of Virginia, and located in Wilson County when a small boy. He died in 1865. William S. married in 1842, and settled in the Eleventh District, where he became the possessor of 175 acres of land. He was a farmer and stock raiser. In 1876 he moved to Trousdale County, near Hunter’s Point, where he now owns 250 acres. His wife was also born in Wilson County in 1826, of English-Dutch origin. They had eight children, seven of whom are living, our subjects being the second and third. J. J. was born in 1845, and was educated at the New Middleton Academy, under the management of Profs. J. P. Hamilton and N. J. Finney. At his majority he began teaching, first near Statesville, Wilson County. In 1873 the two brothers took charge of the Fulton Academy, at Smithville, remaining two years. They commenced with twenty pupils, and closed with one hundred and thirty; the average was eighty-six, which is the largest average of any school ever taught in the county. It was the only time that the county ever received the Peabody fund. In January the brothers went to Sparta, where for fifteen months they had charge of the Nourse Academy, at the end of which time J. J. returned to Smithville, resuming his professional duties in the institute. After another fifteen months, each teaching in a different place, they formed a partnership in Smithville, in the mercantile business, in which they have since been engaged. J. J., while teaching in Smithville, August 26, 1873, married Lollie, daughter of James T. Hayes. Mrs. Smith was born in De Kalb County in 1854. They have one child, Effie. W. R. Smith was born October, 1848, in Wilson County, and educated at Shop Springs. At the age of twenty-one he began teaching at Round Top, in his native county. In 1873 he joined his brother, as above mentioned. At Sparta, August 25, 1875, he wedded Miss Cannie Hayes, a sister of Mrs. J. J. Smith. To their union Aubery has been born. As instructors these gentlemen were all that could be desired. As merchants they have been successful, receiving an extensive and liberal patronage, which has been gained by their honorable transactions and courtesy. In politics, both are Democrats. J. J. is a Royal Arch Mason, and W. R. has taken the first degree. Both families are members of the Missionary Baptist Church.

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This family biography is one of 45 biographies included in The History of DeKalb County, Tennessee published in 1887.  The History of Dekalb County was included within The History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren & White Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren, White Counties of Tennessee

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