WILLIAM L. SMITH, senior member of the firm of Smith & Warner, merchants at Cooksville, has been a resident
of Blue Mound Township since the spring of 1857. When a lad of fifteen years old he came here with his parents,
Jacob T. and Eliza (Williams) Smith. The former was born in Jessamine County, Ky., and the latter in Clark County,
Ind. After marriage they settled in Floyd County, Ind., where they lived until April, 1857, then came to this county
and settled in Blue Mound Township. Here the father died in the spring of 1863; the mother is still living, and
resides in Cooksville. Their seven children included five boys and two girls.
The subject of this history, the eldest of his parents' family, was born in Floyd County, Ind., Aug. 27, 1842. He attended school in his native county until the time his parents removed to Illinois. He remained under the home roof until he reached his majority and in August, 1862, the Civil War being then in progress, enlisted as a soldier of the Union in Co. E, 94th Ill. Vol. Inf., and served until the close of the war, in the meantime being promoted Corporal. After leaving the army he at once returned to Blue Mound Township, and soon afterward commenced taking the census of Gridley, Money Creek and Towanda Townships.
When Mr. Smith was taking the census in Towanda Township an incident occurred which is worthy of mention. In the course of his travels he had occasion to call at a certain house where the people were expecting daily the return of a brother who had been recently discharged from the army. Mr. Smith, who had still retained a part of his old uniform, was taken for the brother, and as he approached the door a young lady, sister of the expected wanderer, rushed out to meet him ready to embrace him and bestow upon him the sisterly tokens of affection. Just as she reached him, however, she discovered her mistake, and to say that her cheeks were suffused with blushes would scarcely describe her situation. Mr. Smith who fully appreciated the joke, did his part in easing it off, and was cordially invited into the house by the father of the young lady, who had witnessed the occurrence and was rolling on the floor convulsed with laughter.
He afterward engaged in farming and carpentering and also dealt considerably in live stock, until 1883. He then decided to change his occupation and go into mercantile business in Cooksville. He formed a partnership with Hugh W. Warner, and they have operated since that time under the firm style of Smith & Warner. They carry a complete stock and are doing a profitable and steadily increasing trade.
Mr. Smith was married in Bloomington, Ill., on the 10th of March, 1870, to Miss Mary E. Powell, sister of the wife of Hugh W. Warner, of whom a sketch will be found in another part of this work. Mrs. Smith was born in Madison County, Ohio, July 14, 1845. Of this union there is one child, a daughter, Eliza, who was born March 20, 1871. Our subject was appointed Postmaster of Cooksville in February, 1884, which office he held until after the change in the administration. He is Republican in politics, and belongs to G. A. R. Post, No. 146, and also to the Masonic fraternity, Lexington Lodge No. 482. He has held the office of Township Clerk, and is a gentleman of sound judgment whose opinion is uniformly held in respect, and one who takes a genuine interest in the welfare of his county and community.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 575. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.