Oregon Pioneer Biographies



Michael Smith


MICHAEL SMITH, was born in Illinois 24 March 1812. On 9 April 1835 he married MARY E. GREEN(E), born 18 April 1816 in Kentucky, the daughter of REYNOLDS GREEN(E) and FRANCIS HALL.

On 11 May 1852 Michael, his wife, 2 sons and 1 daughter left Van Buren County, Iowa as members of a wagon train of about 25 wagons en route to Oregon (see "Lafayette Spencer's Oregon Trail Diary"). Mr. Spencer's diary has created a family mystery, as he lists 2 sons and 1 dau. on the train. At the time they left Iowa, Michael and Mary had 5 sons and 2 daughters living. If Mr. Spencer's count was correct, then we surmise that Michael probably brought the 3 oldest children on this trip, with the others following with another family member later. The 3 children that accompanied them were:

The entire family was together later. Those left behind in Iowa were: OLIVER THOMAS (8 years old), MICHAEL GREEN (6 years old), LAFAYETTE (3 years old) and MARY ELLEN SMITH (less than 2 years old).

A number of people on this train died, including MICHAEL SMITH, who died 18 September 1852, the day after they had reached the Burnt River in Oregon Territory. Michael was buried that morning one hour after he died and the wagon train traveled another 10 miles that day.

The train reached Portland on 26 October 1852. Mary may have stayed near Portland that first winter, as Michael and Mary's youngest child ADAM ASBURY SMITH, was born just 3 months later near Gaston, OR. Shortly after that the family had located in the Willamette Valley near Albany.

On August 23, 1855, MARY E. GREEN(E) SMITH, married MARTIN WERTS, they had 3 daughters:

MARY died at Tangent, OR, 28 December 1903, and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery at Albany, Oregon.

The oldest child of MICHAEL and MARY SMITH, and one we know accompanied them on the trip to Oregon was, WILLIAM JAMES SMITH. WILLIAM, was born at Kanesville, Van Buren County, Iowa, on 1 April 1837.

The family had settled near the VINCENT WATSON family who had arrived in Oregon in 1847. In 1855, WILLIAM SMITH and one of VINCENT WATSON'S son's HENRY WATSON, joined the "First Regiment, Oregon Mounted Volunteers" and served together in Company "H" at the Battle of Walla Walla during the Yakima Indian War of 1855-56.

On 21 November 1861 at Albany, WILLIAM JAMES SMITH, married MINERVA JANE WATSON, the youngest daughter of VINCENT and MARY 'BRODERICK' WATSON. William and Minerva stayed in this area until about 1878 when they moved to Umatilla County where they remained until 1895. That year they returned to the Tangent area for good.

WILLIAM SMITH and MINERVA WATSON, had the following children:


WILLIAM SMITH and MINERVA WATSON, farmed near the Calipooya River between Tangent and Albany until his death, 7 May 1914. Minerva died 26 Aug. 1926. They are both buried in the Riverside Cemetery, in Albany, Oregon.


Submitted by Richard Smith -, Greatgrandson of William and Minerva, Grandson of Ivan Watson Smith, May 27, 1998.

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