Smith Dykins Atkins (1835-1913) was born in Horseheads, NY, and educated at Rock River Seminary in Mount Morris, IL. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1854 and enlisted as a private in the Eleventh Illinois Infantry in April 1861. He attained the rank of captain in 1861, major in March 1862, and breveted brigadier general in January 1865. After his marriage to Eleanor Swain the couple moved to Freeport, IL, where Atkins became postmaster and editor of the Freeport Journal. They became the parents of a daughter Eleanor Hope.