Smithland, on State Highway 49 twelve miles northeast of Jefferson in eastern Marion County, was named for John Frank Smith, who moved to the site in 1842, when it was still part of Cass County. An earlier Smithland site (or “old” Smithland) was located approximately three miles northeast of Jefferson and was drawn on surveys by the late 1830s. A post office for the “new” site of Smithland opened in 1850. In 1884 Smithland had an estimated population of fifty, a steam sawmill, gristmills, and a cotton gin; the community shipped cotton. In 1892 R. B. Smith served as the town constable. Smith and Samuel Fountain Moseley owned a general store, flour mill, and gin, and there was a Presbyterian church in the community. Smithland School enrolled some twenty-eight White pupils in 1899. By 1914 Smithland had ten general stores, a cotton gin, telephone service, and an estimated 100 inhabitants. The community reached a peak population of 200 in the 1920s but declined in the 1930s to 150. In 1938 the two-room school accommodated thirty-five elementary pupils and two teachers. It was consolidated with the Jefferson schools in the 1960s. The number of rated businesses reported in the community slowly declined from ten in 1943 to two in 1968 and to one in 1978. The population rose in the 1960s to 179, the figure reported in 2000. In 1986 the community had four grocery stores and an automobile repair shop, but no businesses were listed in 2000. In 2010 the population was still reported at 179.
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Smithland by the Numbers
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