History of Clermont and Brown Counties


Mr. Francis M. Smith, retired merchant and real estate dealer, of Georgetown, Ohio, has for many years been one of the useful and prominent citizens of Brown county, where he was born, in 1844, his parents being Nicholas and Sallie (Spires) Smith.

The Smith family is one of the old established ones of Brown county and of Ohio. The grandfather of the subject of this review, Benjamin Smith, was a native of Maryland and moved to Kentucky some time prior to 1803, after which time he settled in Brown county, Ohio, four miles from Georgetown, in 1804. His death occurred soon after the close of the war of 1812.

Nicholas Smith was born in Mason county, Kentucky, in September, 1801, and died in 1876. He was a farmer and a justice of the peace for many years. His marriage to Miss Sallie Spires took place in 1825, and to them were born ten children.

  1. Benjamin C. was a farmer of Brown county, Ohio, now deceased.
  2. Alexander was a resident of Pike county, Illinois, now deceased.
  3. Richard was a member of the Forty-eight regiment, Company H, Ohio volunteers, and was killed at Pittsburg Landing, in 1862, when but a few months in the service.
  4. James G. enlisted in Company I, Forty-eighth Ohio volunteers and served five years. His death occurred soon after his return from the war.
  5. Sallie Ann, who was the wife of Samuel Remley, is deceased.
  6. Rebecca J., widow of William J. D. Boothby, lives in Brown county, Ohio.
  7. Mary Elizabeth, wife of Spence Wallace, who was a soldier in the Civil War, is deceased.
  8. Francis M., the subject of this mention.

Mrs. Sallie (Spires) Smith was of English descent and was born in Maryland, April 13, 1800, and died in 1887. She was brought to Ohio by her parents, in 1812. Her father served in the war of the Revolution.

Francis M. Smith obtained his education in the schools of Brown county and spent the days of his youth on the farm of his father. He desired to enter the army of the Civil war and volunteered, but was rejected on account of disability. He taught school for some years in Brown county, and then entered the mercantile business, in 1871, at Mt. Orab, and, in 1876, sold out and retired. In 1884 he established a mercantile business in Georgetown, where he continued until 1887. From 1890 to 1893 he was occupied in the real estate business in Columbus, Ohio, returning to Georgetown in 1893, entering again into the mercantile business. He continued in this line of work until 1906, when he retired from active life.

Mr. Smith has always taken an active interest in all worthy enterprise of the community in which he lives. He was one of the incorporators of the People's National Bank, of Georgetown, Ohio, and has been one of the directors and has held the office of vice-president of that bank since its organization, in 1903. He was one of the seven directors of what is now the Norfolk & Western Railway Company, for seven year, during its constructive period.

In 1867, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sarah E. Rice, who was born in Clermont county, Ohio, near Bethel, a daughter of Benjamin and Eliza (Swing) Rice. Mrs. Smith died in 1868.

In 1875, Mr. Smith became the husband of Mrs. Mary E. Cochran, who in maidenhood was Mary E. Richards, a native of Brown county, her birth occurring in 1842, and a daughter of James and Violet (Thompson) Richards. Mr. and Mrs. Richards were both natives of Brown county and were enterprising farmers. Of their large family but four are now living; Charles, a resident of Missouri, and James, who lives in Dakota; Amanda, wife of Rev. Hayward, of Mishawaka, Ind. and Minnie, wife of William Trisler, of near Des Moines, Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith had one child, Sallie Violet, who was born in Brown county, in June, 1876, and married Dr. J. N. Meyers, of Georgetown, Ohio. Mrs. Smith was the mother of two children by her former marriage to Mr. Cochran, of whom one is living, Peggie, who married George W. King, of Georgetown, Ohio. Mrs. Smith passed away in 1902 and was laid to rest in Georgetown cemetery. She was a life-long member of the Methodist church.

Mr. Smith's third marriage occurred September 17, 1907, when he wedded Miss Anna B. McKibben, who was born in Georgetown, Ohio, a daughter of Hervey and May J. (Young) McKibben. Mr. McKibben was born in Clermont county, Ohio, and was reared in Augusta Ky., and died when Mrs. Smith was a young child. Mrs. McKibben was born in Higginsport, Ohio, and died in 1907, in her seventy-ninth year. Mr. McKibben was a merchant of Georgetown and was clerk of the courts of Brown county on the Republican ticket. He was active in politics and held many township offices. He bought the red brick house on Grant avenue opposite the postoffice at a very early date and spent the great part of his life there. They had seven children grown to maturity:

  1. Mary L., who married J. R. Moore, an attorney of Georgetown, Ohio.
  2. Charles, deceased
  3. George L., who resides at Van Wert, Ohio.
  4. Grant W., who is in the insurance business at Georgetown, Ohio.
  5. Mrs. F. M. Smith
  6. Sallie, wife of T. C. Rapp, of Kokomo, Ind.
  7. Jeannette, wife of Mr. Cropper, a real estate dealer of Georgetown, Ohio.

Mrs. Smith is a graduate of the Georgetown High School and was for many years a teacher in the public schools of Georgetown. She is a member of the Methodist church and is a charter member of the Eastern Star.

Mr. Smith is a Republican in politics and was serving on the board of education at the time the present school house was erected and has held various township offices in Green township.

Mr. Smith is a man of upright life, who well represents the very best citizenship of this section, and is widely known and everywhere respected. He is self-made and from a small beginning has accumulated a goodly competence, owning besides his pretty home on North Main street, several tenant houses and a number of business houses. Mrs. Smith has assisted him materially in all of his enterprises and their home is one of ideal comfort.