An Ode to Major John B. Smith

[From "Grandma's Scrapbook" - Eliza May Campbell, Daws, Harrison 1881-1965.]  Contributed by Mary Lou Jacobson

From the family Bible of Mrs. Julia Wilson, where it has been preserved for many years comes this tribute to Major John B. Smith, Hamilton County veteran of the Mexican War, credited with the capture of Santa Anna's wooden leg.

An Ode To Major John B. Smith

To the hero, Major John B, Smith,
  This humble lay is tendered;
That when his form is 'neath the mould
  His deeds may be remembered.

Bold pioneer, of great and good,
  On Illinois soil !
To hear of all his noble deeds
  Would make your blood boil.

How, on the smitten Shiloh field,
  He fought the Southern foe,
And stood in the sight and saw cut down
  His trusty son, Monroe.

Not only was his valor shown
  On Shiloh's bloody spot,
But far away in Mexico
  Along with General Scott.

At Cerro Gordo's mountain pass
  The enemy hard pressed,
When Santa Anna wished to flee,
  His "wooden leg" he wrest.

It was amusing then to see
  Our hero's great surprise,
He boldly grasped him by the leg
  And thought him such a prize.

But ere he fastened him secure --
  Ere he began to beg.
Old Santa Anna sped away--
  Left him his "wooden leg" !

He settled in his younger days
  Down near old Ellis Mound
And by his fervent, earnest prayer
  Began a church to found.

The Baptists came from far and near
  To lend a helping hand,
And ere a dozen summers passed
  There lived a valiant band.

And now when grand old Major Smith
  Returns unto his flock
There's something deep down in each heart
  That's heard and felt to knock.

And say unto each weary soul:
  "Behold that noble clod,
Who led thy parents on and on
  And marshaled them to God"

Nor has he only led our souls,
  And pointed them to God,
But also those of our dear kin
  Who slumber 'neath the sod.

His gray locks shine today like
  Or diamonds in a row;
Each winter has for many years
  Bequeathed to him its snow.

With him the young may find advice,
  The old may be consoled,
The way-worn traveler be revived
  To hear his story told.

Still sacred to his trust he found ?
  Forever at his post,
Baptising in the name of God,
  The Son and Holy Ghost.

Oh, may each one who reads these lines
  Take courage once again
And bending firm unto his task,
  Be faithful to the end.
            --  Sylvester Hall


From: Legacy of Kin; Harold G. Felty:

1907 - 53   SMITH, Major John B.; Leader,  16 May 1907; aged 88 yrs.; d. 13 May 1907, in home in Thackeray.  Farmer & minister for 50 yrs. Married Margaret Crisel, 10 Oct 1852. Ch. all d. 1 son killed in the Civil War, Battle of Pittsburg Landing.  Married Margaret D. Myers, 10 Dec. 1876; 1 son, George Smith, now 29.  Major in Civil War.  1 of 5 remaining veterans of Mexican War in Hamilton Co.:  Sgt. James Hughes; Corp. now Col., H. W. Hall; Pvt. John Shasteen; Pvt. Philip Trammel.  Dahlgren Echo, 16 May 1907;  Thackeray News:  he captured Santa Anna's wooden leg on battlefield of Cerro Gordo, Mexico.  Interr. New Hope.

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