COMPENDIUM OF BIOGRAPHY
Henry County, Indiana
Surnames in this biography are: Smith, Crum, Monroe, Allison, Cunningham, Evans, Mills, Cook, Needham, True
ROBERT A. SMITH. M. D.
The medical profession in Henry County is well represented by Dr. Smith, who has advanced steadily to a position of prominence as the result of his thorough understanding of medical principles and the ability with which he applies his professional knowledge to the needs of suffering humanity. He was born in Hancock County this state, on the 13th of April. 1843, and is the son of Isaac and Catherine (Crum) Smith. The grandfather of the subject was a native of England, but upon the outbreak of hostilities between the mother country and the American colonies he came at once to this country and offered his services in behalf of the latter and nobly assisted them in gaining their freedom. He was a mere boy at that time, but was manly in thought and deed. Soon after the dose of the Revolutionary struggle he went to Virginia and there married a Miss Monroe, a relative of the late President James Monroe. He learned the trade of a brick and stonemason and for a number of years worked at that occupation. Subsequently be removed to Preble County, Ohio, where he spent the remainder of his days, in that Ohio home. Isaac M., the father of the subject, was born and reared. Being left an orphan at an early age he accompanied an older sister to Indiana at a time when the greater part of the state was wild and unimproved and before the territory had been admitted to the Union. They located in Fayette County and there the subjectís father was employed upon a farm until the time of his marriage, about 1830. He then concluded to locate in Hancock County, this state, and in pursuit of that purpose followed an old Indian trail until he had reached a place that suited him. He there entered eighty acres of land and added to it from time to time as he was able until he finally possessed a quarter section of good land. At the out start he was compelled to live in his wagon, but later built him a hut, covered with bark and with a quilt for a door. This was not a very secure lodging and sometimes the wolves howled in a fearful manner around him at night. However, they persevered and gradually brought the place up to a high standard of excellence. He was a deacon in the Christian church, in which faith he passed away in 1898 at the age of ninety-eight years; his widow died in 1900 at the age of eighty-seven years. To them were born twelve children, of whom Dr. Smith, the subject, was the fifth in order of birth. The subject of this review was reared upon his fatherís farm and attended the country schools of his neighborhood until he was about sixteen years old. At that time the country was in the midst of the terrible civil strife which was threatening the very life of the republic and the subject volunteered his service in his countryís defense. He enlisted in the Fifty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under the immediate command of Capt. Robert Allison. The regiment rendezvoused at Richmond, Wayne County, and were from there sent to Indianapolis and later to Louisville, Kentucky. They engaged the enemy at Shiloh April 6 and 7, 1862, and again at Stone River in a hard-fought battle in which the Fifty-seventh bore an honorable part. Next they were engaged at Mission Ridge, and then followed the Atlanta campaign. During this latter the regiment was under fire for one hundred and five days and were then at the siege and fall of Atlanta. The Fourth Army Corps, of which the Fifty-seventh Regiment was a part, was engaged in looking after General Hoodís army and became engaged in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Subsequently they were transported to Port Lavaca, Texas, to look after Maximilian and upon the completion of that duty received their honorable discharge at Indianapolis in July 1865, after a service of nearly four years. During all this service the subject was never in a hospital as a patient. As a boy Robert A. Smith never had much of a liking for the farm and had frequently importuned his father to give him his freedom that he might engage in some other occupation. During the war he was for a time employed in the division medical directorís office and here took quite a liking to the science of medicine, finally determining to make its practice his life work. On his return home he entered the office of Dr. H. S. Cunningham now of Indianapolis, and afterward entered the Ohio Medical College, graduating from that institution in the spring of 1870. Upon his graduation he at once entered upon the active practice at Grant City, Henry County, and remained at that place five years. In 1875 he located in Greensboro, this county, and has here since remained. In 1898 he formed a partnership with his son. Dr. G. H. Smith, and they have together been engaged in the practice since that time. The subject has always enjoyed a large share of the public patronage and though he has lost large sums of money in the way of security debts, he has been fairly successful in general results. In 1867 Dr. Smith was united in. marriage to Miss Mary J. Evans, of Greenville, Ohio. She is a native of England and received a very complete education. This union was a most pleasant one and resulted in the birth of the following children: One died in infancy; Catherine E. is the wife of Seth Mills; Dr. George H., who married Miss Laura Cook, is president of the Psycho-Medical Society of Indiana; Nettie E. is the wife of Frank A. Needham. The mother of these children died in 1898 and in 1901 the Doctor was married to Miss Flora True. In politics Dr. Smith is an ardent Republican and has taken a keen interest in public affairs. He was at one time the candidate of his party for the legislature and was elected coroner of Henry County, discharging the duties of the latter office in an able and satisfactory manner. Religiously he is a member of the Society of Friends. In his fraternal affiliations he is identified with the Masonic order, being a member of Blue Lodge No. 175, and the chapter, council and commandery at Knightstown of the Greensboro lodge he has served as worshipful master. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic. The results, which have followed the earnest efforts of Dr. Smith, are very gratifying. Starting in on the practice of his profession encumbered with a debt of almost fifteen hundred dollars, he has discharged every financial obligation and has come into possession of some fine farming property and other interests that place him in a very comfortable position financially. He is the owner of one of the best medical libraries in Henry County, besides much other good literature, and finds much pleasure in thus being enabled to come into touch with the best thoughts of all the past centuries. His reputation as a successful practitioner of medicine is not confined to his immediate locality and he has successfully treated some very difficult and dangerous cases. Because of his genial manners and high personal qualities he has won for himself a host of warm personal friends.