Based on the available personal, public and government records, this person was born with the name Devier James Lamphere, probably in Jefferson County, New York. His birth parents have not been identified to date. He may have been adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith before 1843, when the Smith family moved to Dodge County, Wisconsin.
A Smith Family Bible provides the birth date of Devier J. Smith as 7 May 1842. He married Abigail Vaux on 4 April 1861 in Dodge County, Wisconsin. The available private records indicate they lived in Dodge County, Wisconsin until about 1868, when they moved to Bedford County, Iowa.
A newspaper article, published in the Wano, Kansas Plain Dealer newspaper, was published in about 1887. The article said:
was born in Jefferson County, N.Y., in 1839. Moved from there with his parents at the age of four years to Dodge county, Wis., when that state was a territory. Resided there for twenty-three years, being engaged in farming and hotel-keeping. Moved from there to Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa, and engaged in farming and the livery business. From there moved to Andrew county, Mo., where he lived one year, and then to Concordia, Cloud county, Kansas. Remained there six years in the livery business and then handled cattle for three years there; also traded and speculated for three years at that place. April 1, '85, he moved to McCook, Neb.; bought out John Dunbar, built a barn and started a livery. April 27, '85, he came up the valley with Mr. Dunbar, and located the land that he now owns. Two of his children have land contiguous to his. He and Mr. Dunbar slept on the present site of Wano when there was not a roof to cover them. May 8, '85, he commenced building on his land, and came here to reside permanently November 5 of that year and has been here since. He and the other members of his family have about seventy acres of breaking done, and four thousand dollars worth of improvements made. Has apples and all kinds of small fruits growing that are doing well. Has raised two crops, one fair and from the sod in '85, and a splendid one in '86. Mr. Smith has been all over this state and several others, and says Kansas is the grandest state in the Union, and Cheyenne county the banner county in Kansas, and predicts a grand future for it. He is one of the best farmers in the county, and is noted for his thrift, economy and common sense. The PLAIN DEALER wished him all imaginable success."
Some miscellaneous Wisconsin Court records, online at the http://www.rootsweb.com/~wiwaupac/Misc/M1.htm web site, contains this information:
NAME = SMITH, Devier J. [changed from] LAMPHIER, Devier
COUNTY = Dodge
SOURCE = Priv
DATE = 1866/Mar/21
This is a list of name changes that were recorded in Wisconsin County courts. The database says -
" The name changes transcribed here were found in the following resource books: Laws of Wisconsin Territory, General Acts Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin, Private & Local Laws Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin and Acts & Resolves Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin. It is best to check the source given, as some of the records indicate the place of residence, the parent's name and why there was a name change."
In the 1870 US Census, this family resided in Benton township, Taylor County, Iowa [National Archives Microfilm Series M593, Roll 421, Page 13, dwelling #207, family #207]. The family included:
* Devier Smith -- age 30, male, white, a farmer, $10,000 in real property, $800 in personal property, born New York
* Abbie Smith -- age 26, female, white, keeping house, born NY
* Della Smith -- age 8, female, white, at home, born WI, attended school
* David Smith -- age 6, male, white, at home, born WI, attended school
* Mary Smith -- age 4, female, white, at home, born WI
After 1870, the family moved to Andrew County, Missouri, and then to Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas by 1875. A biography of D.J. Smith in a newspaper (the Plain Dealer in Wano, Kansas, no date available) says he was a farmer and hotel-keeper in Wisconsin, a farmer and in the livery business in Iowa and Missouri, and handled cattle in Missouri.
Devier J. Smith's adoptive father, Ranslow Smith, died before February 1875, and Devier J. Lamphere, alias Devier J. Smith, is prominent in the will and the court records in Andrew County, Missouri. The estate was finally settled in September 1885.
In the 1875 Kansas State Census, this family resided in Lincoln township, Cloud County, Kansas (1875 Kansas State Census. Microfilm reel K-4, page 12, line 38. Kansas State Historical Society). The household included:
* D.J. Smith - age 35, male, white, livery and sale stable, $750 in real property, $1155 in personal property, born NY, moved from MO
* Abbie A. Smith - age 30, female, white, milliner, $340 in personal property, born NY, moved from MO
* D A Smith - age 13, female, white, born WI, moved from MO
* D.D. Smith - age 11, male, white, born WI, moved from MO
* M A Smith - age 8, female, white, born MO, moved from WI
In the 1880 US census, there are two entries for this family. The D.J. Smith family was listed in Shannon township, Pottawatomie County, Kansas The full record can be found on National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 393, Page 243D, dwelling #125, family #125 [also on FHL Microfilm 1,254,393, page 243D]. The household included:
* D.J. Smith -- white, male, age 41, married, no occupation, born NY, father and mother born NY
* Abba A. Smith -- white, female, age 37, wife, married, keeping house, born NY, father born England, mother born NY
* David D. Smith -- white, male, age 16, son, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Mami Smith -- white, female, age 14, daughter, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* E. Kearnes -- white, male, age 21, single, born IA
* Jos. P. Vaux -- white, male, age 35, brother-in-law, single, born NY, father born England, mother born NY
Abagail A. Smith headed a family listed in Blue Rapids township, Marshall County, Kansas. The full census record can be found in National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 388, Page 205C, dwelling #57, family #65 [also FHL Microfilm 1,254,388, page 205C]. The household included:
* Abagail A. Smith -- white, female, age 36, married, keeps house, born NY, father born England, mother born NY
* Della Smith -- white, female, age 18, daughter, single, at home, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Mary A. Smith -- white, female, age 14, daughter, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Samuel Vaux -- white, male, age 65, father-in-law, married, without occupation, born England, father and mother born England
* Mary A. Vaux -- white, female, age 65, mother, married, without occupation, born NY father born VT, mother born NH
* Orpha Woodward -- white, female, age 17, niece, single, at home, born WI, father born VT, mother born NY.
In the 1885 Kansas State Census, this family resided in Clyde township, Clay County, Kansas (1885 Kansas State Census. Microfilm reel K-23, page 35, line 10. Kansas State Historical Society). The household included:
* D.J. Smith - age 46, male, white, married, a speculator, born Ohio, moved from WI
* Abby A. Smith - age 41, female, white, married, born NY, moved from WI
* Della Smith - age 23, female, white, a music teacher, born WI, moved from WI
* D.D. Smith - age 21, male, white, a livery keeper, born WI, moved from WI
* Matie Smith - age 18, female, white, a music teacher, born WI, moved from WI
On April 1, 1885, they bought a farm from John Dunbar in McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska. They built a barn and started the Blue Front livery stable which was run by son David Devier Smith.
On April 27, 1885, Davier J. Smith went up the Republican River valley with Mr. Dunbar and located the land he owned near Wano, Cheyenne, Kansas. He started building on the land on May 8, 1885, and resided permanently there on November 5 on a place called Spring Ranch. He and the two children had about 70 acres of breaking sod done, and about $4,000 of improvements were made. They grew apples and all sorts of small fruits. At one point in his career, D.J. Smith sold hair tonic for $2 a bottle (see the advertisement below). As part of his livery business, D.J. Smith patented a harness rack on 1 December 1885 while in Wano. The newspaper article notes that DJ was noted for his thrift and common sense.
Devier J. Smith of McCook, Nebraska was granted United State Patent Number 331,565, dated December 1, 1885, titled "Harness-Rack." The first paragraph of the Patent specifications says:
"Be it known that I, DEVIER JAMES SMITH, a citizen of the United States, residing at McCook, in the county of Red Willow and State of Nebraska, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Harness-Racks;"
The witnesses that signed the application are Matthias L. Loucks and George Laverty. The accompanying figure includes the signatures of Devier J. Smith, Loucks and Laverty.
A Bible entry reads:
"Spring Ranch, Cheyenne Co, Kans. I wrote the Marriages, Births and Deaths of our Little Daughter & son this 10th day of Nov 1889. This is the Sabath, I have written a letter to my Dear Wife in National City California a Daughter and son-in-law there with a Granson and Son and Daughter and Daughter-in-law in McCook Nebraska. Myself on the Ranch alone. have read a number of Chapters in this good book today it does my Heart good to read the Holy Bible. May we all praise the Lord forever is my prayer, Devier J. Smith".
Several personal letters tell of their life in the 1888 to 1893 time period, including selling Spring Ranch.
Devier J. Smith died in 1894 in McCook, Red Willow, Nebraska. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in McCook, the gravestone says "D. J. Smith, 1839-1894" (according to the book "Cemetery Recorsds of Red Willow County, Nebraska" compiled by Robert T. Ray, published by the Southwest Nebraska Genealogical Society in 197? (accessed at LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake city, call number 978.2843 V3r).
An obituary was published in the McCook, Nebraska "McCook Times-Democrat" newspaper (no date given for transcription at http://www.nesgs.org/~swngs/newspaper/1894_democrat.htm). It read:
"Obituaries-D.J. Smith-Devier J. Smith died Tuesday May 1st, 1894, at the St. Charles Hotel, of heart disease, aged 52 years. Mr. Smith was born in Dodge County, Wisconsin, in May, 1842 and has been in the livery business in this city for several years. He was taken sick last Friday evening and gradually became weaker until death relieved his suffering. The funeral services were held in the M.E. church Wednesday afternoon, Rev. A.W. Coffman officiating and the remains interred in the cemetery at this place under the auspices of the A.O.U.W. lodge of which order he was a member. He leaves a wife and three children, all grown. David D., who took charge of the stable a short time ago, being the only one of the family here, the others live elsewhere. D.D. Smith wishes to thank those who kindly rendered their aid in his time of need. Friday 4 May 1894"
A summons for the heirs of Devier J. Smith was published on page 8 of the McCook (Nebraska) Tribune newspaper on 7 June 1901 and three weeks following. It read (accessed on the Library of Congress Chronicling asmerica website):
"SUMMONS BY PUBLICATION
"Abbie Smith, David D. Smith, Leva Smith, Matie Chenery, Della Carringer, ----- Carringer, husband of Della Carringer, whose first name is unknown to plaintiff, as heirs at law of Devier J. Smith, deceased, defendants, will take notice that John E. Kelley has filed his petition in the District court of Red Willow County, Nebraska, the object and prayer of which is to foreclose a lien for the delinquent taxes legally assessed and levied on lot number seven (7) in block number thirty (30) in the original town of McCook, in said county, for the years 1891, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, for which taxes said lot was sold to the said John E. Kelley, by the treasurer of said county on September 24, 1900, at a private tax sale. There is now due plaintiff on said tax sale the sum of $29.12, with 20 percent interest thereon from September 24, 1900, and an attorney's fee equal to ten percent of the amount of the decree entered herein, and plaintiff prays for a decree that the defendants be required to pay said sum or that said premises be sold to satisfy the said amount due for taxes, attorney's fees and the costs of this action. You are required to answer said petition on or before Monday the 15th day of July, A.D. 1901.
"John E. Kelley, Plaintiff.
"McCook, Nebraska, May 29, 1901."
Abigail (Vaux) Smith came to California after her daughter Della's first child was born in 1889, and may have not returned to her husband. She lived with her daughter Della in 1903 in San Diego. She lived in Los Angeles, California in 1920 when her son David died, and came to San Diego and lived with her daughter Della before her death in 1931.