An American Family History

Bryan Sewell Smith

World War I was a between the Entente and Central Powers alliances in Europe. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Bosnian-Serb and this activated alliances between all major European powers. The United States became involved in 1918 and the war ended on November 11, 1918.

Bryan and Jack with their
Keller and Keller Coworkers

Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County, Iowa.

Bryan Sewell Smith was born August 7, 1896 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. His parents were Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox. He was named for William Jennings Bryan, the presidential candidate. 

Bryan was forced to leave home when he was about fourteen years old. Many memories of and stories about Bryan are written in the Wind in the Willow.

He worked for Adams Express Company and Keller and Keller before he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918.

Bryan married Vivian Young on September 4, 1922 in Osceola, Iowa. Vivian was born on May 29, 1900 in  Wisconsin. Her parents were Harvey Young and Amy Foster.

Bryan and Vivian had three children: Robert Jack Smith, born in 1923, William Bryan (Bill) Smith,, born in 1925, and Joan Grace Smith Irwin, born in 1931. Robert and William were born in Red Oak, Iowa and Joan was born in Wyoming.

Moorcroft, Crook County, Wyoming

The family moved to Moorcroft, Wyoming in 1929 and lived on a ranch until 1937. Bryan was the first pumper hired by the True Oil Company in April, 1953 and was the first gauger to be employed by the Belle Fourche Pipeline Company. He retired from that company in 1963.

Moorcroft Oil Worker is Honored
The True Oil Co. honored its first annuitant under the company's retirement plan recently at the annual party for employees in Casper.

Bryan S. Smith of Moorcroft was presented a gold watch by H. A. Dave True Jr., firm president.

Smith was employed by True as a pumper in the Donkey Creek field near Moorcroft in April of 1953, the first pumper hired by the company. In October, 1957, Smith became the first gauger to be employed by Belle Forche Pipeline Co., a job he held with the company until his retirement December 31, 1963. Smith and his wife Vivian, reside in Moorcroft, where they intend to spend their retirement. They have three children; a daughter Joan, of Moorcroft; two sons, Jack, Rawlings; and Bill, Seattle Wash.

Bryan attended the 1982 family reunion in Sheridan, Wyoming and listed his special interest as "children large and small, especially my great grand children." At that time he lived in the Wyoming Home in Basin, Wyoming. Bryan died on May 25, 1984 at age 87 in Basin, Wyoming. Vivian died June 2, 1987 in Wyoming.
Children of Josiah Smith, Jr.
and Eliza Fox
  • Mary Grace Smith White Hanley
  • John Elmer Smith
  • Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey
  • Harry William Smith
  • Ethel Edith Smith Taylor
  • Bryan Sewell Smith
  • Augusta Lena Smith Larson
  • Andrew Jack Smith
  • Twyla May Smith White
  • Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

    Hazel (Bill's wife), Bryan holding Stephanie, and Bill Smith in 1955


    Wyoming was admitted into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.

    Bryan Sewell Smith
    Moorcroft - A graveside service and burial for Bryan Sewell Smith, 87, will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Moorcroft Cemetery with the Rev. Ren Adams officiating.

    Smith, a former longtime Moorcroft area resident, died Friday, May 25, at the Wyoming State Sanitarium in Basin.

    He was born Aug. 7, 1896, in Chariton, Iowa to Josiah and Eliza (Fox) Smith. After his education he moved to Red Oak, Iowa where he worked for Adams Express Co. and later for the Keller & Keller Livestock Exchange Agency. He lived in Sioux City, Iowa  for one year prior to enlisting with U.S. Army in 1918.

    After his honorable discharge he married Vivian Young on September 4, 1922, at Osceola, Iowa. He and his family moved to Wyoming in 1929, and settled on a ranch 15 miles east of Moorcroft. They lived there until 1937 when they moved into town for their children to attend school.

    Smith worked in the construction business, and later in the oil exploration industry. At the age of 65, he retired from True Oil Co.

    He and his wife lived in Moorcroft until the mid-1970's when they moved to the Wyoming Soldiers and Sailors Home in Buffalo.They have lived at the Wyoming Sanitarium at Basin for the last three years.

    Survivors include his wife Vivian of Basin; two sons, Jack of Rawlins and Bill of Vashon, Wash; one daughter JoAn (sic) Irwin of Seattle, Wash.; two sisters, Ethel Taylor of Sheridan and Twyla White of Spokane, Wash.; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and three sisters.

    Persons wishing to pay respects may do so from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday or from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Noecker Funeral Home which is in charge of arrangements.

    The News-Record, Gillette, Wyoming, May 27, 1984, p. 16

    Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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