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  Genealogy: Family Histories

Jeremiah Smith Family

Last Revised 01/23/2015

by Fred H. Keller, Village Historian

published November 23, 2010, Retrospect, Living Sussex Sun

Jeremiah Smith, 1820-1910, a Lisbon pioneer

Jeremiah Smith was born Nov. 5, 1829, in Sussex County, England, one of seven children to John and Sarah Smith. When Jeremiah was 19 years old he left England for the United States. The rest of the family did not follow him to the New World, but generally lived out their lives in England.

Prior to Jeremiah coming to the United States many people from Sussex, England, had immigrated to the U. S. and in particular included in those people was the Weaver family.

When Jeremiah Smith sailed from England it was on the Silas Richards boat commanded by Capt. J. Welch, sailing out of London on April 7, 1849, and landing gin New York on May 25. He only had about $10 to his name when he arrived but by June 22, he was in the Town of Lisbon and was taken in by settlers who had already arrived from his native country. He worked his first year in Lisbon earning roughly $2 per week doing farm work.

In May of 1850, he secured a 40-acres for $1.25 per acre. This claim is today sort of northwest of the present day Lighthouse Baptist Church on Howard Lane in the Town of Lisbon. He built a 13- by 20-foot home which is just a little larger than a one-car garage. He used oxen to clear parts of his land and planted crops, most notably wheat. The rich soil gave him a good crop the first year.

He lived four years as a bachelor and became a member of the Sussex St. Alban's Church. It is possible that he met his wife here who was the daughter of the very first woman settler in Lisbon Melinda Weaver. He married Ann Rebecca Weaver at St. Alban's wooden church on Nov. 8, 1854. He was 24 years old and she was 19. Ann was born in New York on Jan. 25, 1835 and was only 2 years old when she arrived with her parents Melinda and John to Lisbon in 1837.

Jeremiah and Ann Smith had 10 children: Frank, Daniel, Caroline, George, William, Charles, Ruth, Thomas, Sarah and Jeremiah. However the last two born died in infancy.

Little did they know that their son, William and great-grandson, Roy Stier, would become fire chiefs for the Sussex Fire Department. William served as chief from 1924-1928 and again from 1929-1935. Steir was a charter member in 1922 and served as chief from 1948-1951. Collectively they both served more than 50 years on the Sussex Fire Department and collectively served 13 years as chief.

Jeremiah Smith was a staunch Democrat and frequently held elected positions. He served as Lisbon Town Supervisor for a number of years, a judge and served nine years as school director for the Lisbon Sixteen School. He ran numerous times for the Waukesha County coroner and served at least six years. He had a political snippet once saying that if a Republican died while he was coroner he would see that he was properly buried, "In the nearest pasture with a rock showing where the grave was."

On of his great contributions to Lisbon-Sussex is a scrapbook he kept from 1866-1910. It included 192 pages of newspaper clippings from the area. I was able to copy the original scrapbook in 1983. Smith made a copy for the Waukesha County Historical Society, a copy for himself, one for the Sussex-Lisbon Historical Society and one for the Pauline Haass Public Library.

A slip of a clipping in 1897 noted that Jeremiah was suffering from neurologic rheumatism. He died on Jan. 8, 1910. His wife later died on April 24, 1922. Both are buried at St. Alban's God's Acre Cemetery.

Jeremiah Smith's scrap book

Jeremiah F. Smith, born in Sussex, England on Nov. 3, 1829, arrived in Lisbon June 21, 1849. When he left London on April 7, 1849, he had just $10 to his name.

By 1850, he had his homestead claim off of Howard Lane and Highway 164. He married Ann Rebecca Weaver, a daughter of the very first woman settler to come to Lisbon, Melinda Warren Weaver (Mrs. John Weaver).

The wedding on Nov. 8, 1854, produced 10 children, eight of which lived.

In 1866, he started a scrapbook with clippings that continued until his death on Jan. 8, 1910. He had something of an eventful life, as he was frequently involved in politics, most notably serving as the Waukesha County Coroner.

Recently, a distant relative of his, Robert Hardiman of New Jersey, was in and out of Lisbon to bury his father and take care of his estate. He came to the Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society and asked about his heritage. He was informed that he is related to James Weaver, called the Father of both Lisbon and Sussex, and his mother was Mary Hardiman Weaver. He was also closely related to some of the great men of the area, Walter Hardiman and Milo, his son, who were farm raised in Lisbon but became higgly involved in business, politics, the Sussex Fire Department and local politics.

In going over the available information on the extended Hardiman family, a very important book was the 192 page Jeremiah Smith scrapbook. The following is a series of news clippings that he found in the scrapbook.

1886, unknown publication

Isiah Hardiman lost a valuable horse last week, being frightened by a picket gate.

May 28, 1887, probably Waukesha Free Press

Mrs. I. Hardiman, who is seriously sick and confined to her room, got a scare last Saturday afternoon. It appears that Miss Wileden, her help, was starting the fire in the cook stove, using kerosene for that purpose, when the can exploded, throwing the contents over her and the accompanying room and all was one sheet of fire. She shrieked, and ran over to the pump. Mr. Hardiman, who was nearby in the yard, hearing the report and shrieks and seeing the fire , took in the situation with commendable presence of mind and seized a carpet and wrapped her up in it, severely burning himself in the operation. The fire alarm being help soon arrived and the fire was subdued. Had it not been for Mr. Hardiman's presence, the house and the contents and Mrs. Hardiman must have been burned. Miss Wileden, a lovely young lady, is very badly burned. She is at this writing in critical condition. Dr. Rice was telephoned and was soon in attendance. A word to all. Never use kerosene to start a fire.

July 30, 1887, probably Waukesha Free Press

Mrs. Isaiah Hardiman did not gain in health and strength as fast as her friends would wish. It is a son that has recently arrived to make a noise in their house.

June 2, 1888, Free Press

Isiah Hardiman's team broke down a hitching post and took a run west from his place (Sussex.)

Jan. 17, 1891, Free Press

Mrs. Isaiah Hardiman died Sunday, Jan. 11 after a long and painful illness. She was much esteemed by all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance for her estimable and ladylike qualities. Ten years ago, Mr. Hardiman went back to England, married her and brought her to this country. Her life here has been a painful one, from long and continued sickness which she has borne with great fortitude. We with many others regretting her departure due say, rest sister, rest in peace, free from pain. The deceased had a brother and family come out here from the old country, who live near. She leaves a devoted husband and a bright little boy to mourn an irreplaceable loss.

Feb. 3, 1891, Free Press

Isaiah Hardiman, since the death of his wife, has broken up housekeeping and will live with his brother.

Records show that Isaiah served as the Sussex Ashlar Lodge leader in 1882, and his brother, Stephen, in 1982-93.

Both are buried at the St. Alban's cemetery, with their wives and some children.

Now the scrapbook maker, Jeremiah Smith, is also buried at this cemetery, with his wife and some children.

Retrospect, Jan. 7, 2015: Smith kept valuable records, clippings

In the recent Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society acquisition of the papers/photos of former Sussex resident Audrey Jean Stier Schlegel of Santa Cruz, California, there was a big part of the treasure trove that concerned a little/big man of Lisbon, Jeremiah Smith.

He was born in Sussex, England, on Nov. 5, 1829, and, at age 20, left his family in England and came to the United States and Lisbon Township in Waukesha County. The trip took him 75 days, April 7-June 21, 1849, to arrive in Milwaukee and then a walk out to Lisbon.

In May 1850, he claimed 40 acres at $1.25 per acre off Highway 164, near the present-day Menomonee Falls Saddle Club. He would later get an additional 20 acres. On Nov. 8, 1854, he married Ann Rebecca Weaver and they would have 10 children.

Jeremiah Smith would serve as a Lisbon Town Board member, Justice of the Peace, school board director and coroner of Waukesha County.

However, besides these endeavors, he kept a scrapbook from the mid-1860s to his death in 1910. It amounted to 192 very large pages of clippings, neatly arranged. He was always looking for Lisbon happenings and when he entered them into his scrapbook, they were enhanced with a listing of what newspaper they came from and the date.

Some years ago, his original scrapbook was made available and three copies were made and hard-covered. One copy went to the Waukesha County Historical Society, one to the research center of the Sussex library and the final copy to the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society research center.To make it extra valuable, the Waukesha County Historical Society indexed this scrapbook so if one is looking up a particular family, you can find it.

The following is a series of Jeremiah Smith newspaper family clippings with their origin and date.

October 1880: Newspaper unlisted

Sussex Died at the home of her son-in-law, Jeremiah Smith, on Sunday, Oct. 24, 1880, Mrs. Melinda Weaver, widow of the late John Weaver. Mrs. Weaver was born in the town of Augusta, Onida County, New York, on Feb. 2, 1813. Her father was Daniel Warren, an old revolutionary and a relative of the celebrated Gen. Joe Warren, who fell pierced by English bullets when fighting for and defending freedom's cause.


Mr. Jeremiah Smith, our (Waukesha) Coroner and an old resident of Lisbon, was making calls about town last Wednesday. He has not yet decided to have an inquest over the victim in the bottle.

1886: Waukesha Free Press

Coroner Smith was in Waukesha during the week with an armful of papers to serve on the Sheriff.

July 30, 1887: Waukesha Free Press

On the evening of July 4, two balloons fell in the neighborhood, one on the Jere Smith winter wheat field and one on the adjoining farm. They were sent up from Oconomowoc or its environs. If persons sending up these things would attach a postal card directed to themselves with instructions for the finder to state where found and mail the same, it would be quite pleasant and maybe somewhat scientific.

Dec. 16, 1888: Waukesha Free Press

As Jeremiah Smith and Daniel Weaver of Sussex were returning from Milwaukee recently, their wagon, loaded with coal, was upset and badly demolished. The men escaped injury.

March 22, 1890: Free Press

Jeremiah Smith has been confined to the house for some time painfully afflicted with rheumatism.

June 14, 1890: Free Press

William Weaver and wife and Jeremiah Smith and wife went to North Lake to attend the funeral of Hoit Barnes' only son.

Feb. 28, 1891: Free Press

Geo. Barnes had a horse badly kicked by another horse. Jeremiah Smith sewed up the wound Wednesday morning.

June 4, 1891: Waukesha Dispatch

Hon. Jeremiah Smith of Lisbon, who is one of the grand old gentlemen of Waukesha County, called at the Dispatch office Monday and congratulated this paper on its bright, newsy appearance. Mr. Smith is a pioneer of Waukesha County and a Democratic convention could not proceed without him.

July 29, 1891: Cedarburg News

Mr. Jerry Smith and wife, of Waukesha County, paid us a pleasant visit last Sunday. Mrs. Smith wanted to see the Cedarburg Firemen's Parade and was well pleased with it. The old people left here about 8 p.m. with a 25-mile ride across country before them. We trust that they arrived safely at home.




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