Biographical Sketch of Gertrude Smith
Gertrude Nellist Smith was born May 25, 1.899 in the village
of Cayton, Yorkshire, England. She was the daughter of Walter
Nellist, born I873 in Filey, England; and Hannah Margaret Hepworth,
born I875 in Cayton, England.
Gertrude was the second oldest child. She had an older sister,
Margaret, a younger brother, Walter, and a younger sister, Elizabeth.
Another younger sister, Agnes, died in infancy.
Gertrude's father was a market gardener and a part-time Methodist
minister. V/hen Gertrude was 12 years old her father left and immigrated to America, settling in Dubuque, Iowa. Gertrude, her
mother, brother, and sisters went to live with an aunt and uncle
in Scarborough, England, As soon as her father was settled, he
sent for the rest of the family to join him.
The family lived in Dubuque four years, then moved to a farm
north of Vinton in Benton County, Iowa, where her father operated
a dairy farm and milk route. Gertrude helped with farm chores
and also delivered milk.
Sometime after arriving in Benton County Gertrude met a young
man named Willard Smith and started dating him. As the relationship grew serious, Gertrude's father voiced his disapproval of
Willard as a husband for Gertrude because Gertrude planned to leave
the Methodist Church after marriage and join the Christian Church.
Willard was studying to become a minister in the Christian Church
and Gertrude thought she should belong to the same church. Gertrude's
father, who had been a part-time Methodist preacher, objected to
the difference in philosophy between the two churches, especially
the practice of baptism and communion. Because of the tension and
pressure from her father, Gertrude left home and went to live and
work for an elderly couple in Vinton, the Forresters. Mr. Forrester
was blind and Gertrude helped care for both Mr. and Mrs. Forrester.
Gertrude and Willard married when Gertrude was 26, They were
married in the home of Gertrude's parents at her father's insistence
and the father - daughter relationship was reconciled. Gertrude
then joined Willard at Johnson Bible College near NaEhville, Tennessee.
Willard had two years of school remaining and the young couple worked
for their room and board while there.
After Willard graduated they moved to Illinois where Willard
obtained a position as minister of a Christian Church. Five years
later George was born, and two years after that Gertrude's father
requested they return to Benton County as Gertrude's mother was very
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