This article is part of a limited series that will trace the genealogy of some of Madison County’s better-known citizens. The series is modeled on the popular NBC television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” The series is intended to show the value of researching genealogy by using the Anderson Public Library, 111 E. 12th St.
With the exception of a great-grandfather, Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, his sister and brothers are the first members of his family to be born in Indiana.
Kevin’s father, Carl Thurman Smith, was born in Hannibal, Mo. in 1915. His parents were Oley Milton Smith and Mary Ethel Penn Smith. The couple had moved at least twice before coming to Hannibal.
They started out by living across the Mississippi River in Pike County, Ill. and had moved to northeastern Oklahoma for several years before moving to Hannibal. Mary Ethel’s parents, William and Mary Penn, always lived in the same area, moving along with the young couple. In each of those places, Oley made his living as a carpenter. They would later move to Kansas City, Kan., where they lived for the rest of their lives. Oley worked in the real estate business and they raised seven children.
When we talked to Kevin Smith about his genealogy, he told us that he didn’t know who his grandfather’s parents were. While we were unable to find definite proof, we believe that Oley Milton Smith was born in Ralls County, Mo., a county south of Hannibal and northwest of St. Louis. His father and grandfather were Missouri pioneers, coming to northeast Missouri during the 1830s.
Oley’s grandfather, John Smith, was born in Kentucky in 1801. He and his wife, Martha, began migrating west by settling in southern Indiana in the late 1820s. In 1830, they had twin sons, Johnathan and Jeremiah, and another son, Milton, a year later. The family moved to Pike County, Mo., where they were farmers for several generations.