May 8, 2010

Soapy's son James.

See May 15, 2010.


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Soapy and Mary's son, James Luther Smith (known later as Joseph J. Smith) has always been a mystery to my side of the family. Thanks to Jim Caraway, Mike Moriaty, his daughter Tia and Gay Mathis, his story is developing nicely.

The old family trees, mostly produced by my uncle Joseph Jefferson Smith, indicate that he was born James Luther Smith, however Jim Caraway, his grandson, and others states that his middle name was Joseph.


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1900 census

The 1900 census for St. Louis shows that James was born in November of 1893, however his birth date is believed to be November 27, 1889. It is common for census records to be mistaken as they are copied by hand from the census takers original notes. For instance, this one shows that the father, "Soapy," was born in Kentucky. The dates of the other children, Jefferson and Mary Eva are wrong as well. Was this the fault of the mother, Mary or the census taker?


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1910 census


On the 1910 census James is not listed. Mary's son Jefferson, his wife Ethel and their son, Joseph Jefferson Smith are listed. Jefferson is employed as a copy editor of a St. Louis newspaper.

Mary has married John P. Little and Mary Eva, her daughter is listed, working as a salesperson in a department store.



On the draft registration card filled out and signed by him on May 5, 1917 for the First World War, he lists himself in the following way.

  • James Joseph Smith
  • born November 27, 1889 in Denver, Colorado.
  • residing at St. Trenton College in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
  • He claimed exemption on the grounds that he was a "theological student."

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Draft registration
May 5, 1917


























































































Please, if you see any mistakes that need correction do not hesitate to let me know! If you have additional information we crave it!


Many many thanks to Jim Caraway for all his expertise on his grandfather James. To Mike and Tia Moriaty, for the use of their wonderful family photographs and their family history expertise. And to good friend and top-notch researcher and genealogist, Gay Mathis for the wonderful and fact filled documents.










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