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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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R. C. Nesmith, attorney at law of Smithville, was born in De Kalb County in 1837, a son of William A. and Elizabeth M. (McDowell) Nesmith. The father is of Scotch-Irish descent, born in 1799, in York District, South Carolina. In 1809 with his father, William Nesmith, immigrated to Blount County, E. Tenn. A year later they went to northern Alabama, where for a number of years they lived among the Cherokee Indians. In 1824 he came to DeKalb County, and three years later married. He settled in the Nineteenth District, where he engaged in wagon making and farming. There were but two wagons in the county when he settled there. He has lived in various portions of the county, but for past few years has made his home in Smithville. From 1859 to 1862 he was county tax collector. He is the oldest living man in the county, and until the last seven years was unusually vigorous and active. He is rather eccentric, witty and humorous. He is now quite feeble. His wife was born in Wilson County in 1803, and died April, 1885. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom nine are living, our subject being the seventh. He attended the common schools but a short time. At the age of seventeen he began teaching, continuing four sessions. In 1862 he enlisted in Company G, Forty-fifth Tennessee Infantry. He was engaged in the battle of Murfreesboro, was captured and made prisoner of war. He was retained at Camp Douglas three months, then exchanged at City Point and rejoined his command at Tullahoma. In August, 1863, he returned home. After the war he farmed. In January, 1867, he began the study of law, under direction of his brother J. A., and April of the same year was admitted to the bar. In partnership with the above mentioned he began to practice. In 1870 he became a partner of Judge Robert Cantrell, now of Lebanon; the firm existed two years and changed to Nesmith & Smallman, who is now Judge M. D. Smallman, of McMinnville; the past two years he has had no partner. He is one of De Kalb County’s most talented and eminent lawyers, and has a fine chancery practice. He is a stanch Democrat, and a Master Mason. In 1865 he married Miss Mary J., daughter of James and Mary McDearmon, who was born in Wilson County in 1839. Mrs. Nesmith is an earnest and active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

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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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