Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
ISAAC NEWTON SMITH. In many respects the career of the late Isaac Newton Smith, for a period of thirty years one of the progressive business men of Springfield, is peculiarly instructive in that it shows what a well defined purpose, supplemented by correct principles and high ideals, can accomplish when rightly and intelligently applied, even in the face of obstacles. A native of the Hoosier state, he spent the major portion of his life in Missouri, where he devoted over thirty years to the insurance business and became one of the most efficient and widely known insurance men in the southern part of the state. The last days of his busy career were devoted, in a large measure, to the promoting of the electric railway between Springfield and Joplin and he was president of this company. But he was a man who was not only noted for his large success in material affairs, having found time to take an active interest in church work and was one of the most potent members of the Presbyterian denomination in this section of the state. In short, he was a successful, useful and honorable man and his record might be studied with profit by many.
Mr. Smith was born, February 27, 1847, in Miami county, Indiana. He was a son of George and Rosa (Dilsaver) Smith, the father a native of Virginia and the mother was born in Ohio, and there she grew to womanhood. George Smith was brought to Ohio by his parents when he was a child and grew up in that state and he and his wife were educated in the rural subscription schools and were married and established their home, but later removed to Miami county, Indiana, on a farm and devoted their lives to agricultural pursuits. Their family consisted of twelve children, three of whom are still living.
Isaac N. Smith grew up on the farm and he had little chance to obtain an education, but improved such as he had and in later life became a well informed man through contact with the world and much home reading; in fact, he was a fine sample of the self-made man for which America is noted. He left home when about seventeen years old, being compelled to make his own way. He was ambitious to go through school and obtain a high education, but the opportunity never presented itself. At the age of nineteen, he came to St. Louis where he worked at different employments in order to get a start, later became a bridge builder. Then he came to Webster county, this state, purchasing a farm near Marshfield, and while operating this he studied architecture and made some advancement, drawing plans for buildings and in the general preliminary work of an architect. About thirty- two years ago he went into the insurance business and this proved to be his chief life Work. He started at Marshfield and remained there until 1884, when he removed to Springfield, continuing the same business. He was with the Mutual Life all the while, and he was district manager of this company the rest of his life. He was very successful from the first and the company regarded him as one of their most faithful, industrious and trustworthy employees. About twenty years ago he received a handsome cup, given by the company, for writing the most insurance in a given period. This was won over hundreds of competitors and it shows his ability in this field of endeavor. At the time of his death he was president of the new traction line between Springfield and Joplin and was doing much to make the project a success; in fact, his close application in this enterprise hastened the closing of his earthly career.
Mr. Smith was married, November 25, 1875, to Margaret E. Butcher, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her birth occurring February 9, 1852. She is a daughter of Stephen and Maria (LeKeux) Butcher. The father was born in England, near London, in the year 1802, and there he grew to manhood and married Maria LeKeux in 1847, and they subsequently immigrated to America, locating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His wife was also a native of England. Mr. Butcher received a good education in his native land, traveled extensively and followed the sea for six years. Mr. Butcher enlisted in the Civil war, in 1861, serving the full time enlisted in a Missouri cavalry regiment. He was in several battles, including the battle of Wilson's Creek, was a very faithful soldier and a strong Union man. His family consisted of five children, three of whom are still living, namely: Margaret E., who became the wife of Mr. Smith of this memoir; Mrs. Mary F. King, and Stephen H. Mrs. Smith grew to womanhood in Pittsburgh, where she was given excellent educational advantages, and she engaged in teaching for a while after leaving school.
Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, named as follows: Lucian L., who married Lallah Smith, is claim agent for the Frisco railroad; Mable married Charles F. Bishop, and they live in Quincy, Illinois; Ada married John J. Tooker, and they live in Boonville, Missouri.
Politically, Mr. Smith was a Republican and a great worker for his party. Fraternally he belonged to the Masonic Order. He was one of the leading members of Calvary Presbyterian church for many years and was active in church work. He was chairman of its board of trustees and was most efficient in this capacity. He was a devoted Christian, with marked administrative ability and was enthusiastically devoted to the service of the church.
The substantial Smith residence is on Benton, avenue, and there the summons came for Mr. Smith to close his earthly account and take up his work on a higher plane of being, March 10, 1914.
Springfield-Greene County Library