Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    "We build the ladder by which we rise," is a truth which is certainly applicable to Mr. Smith, who for many years was numbered among the leading citizens of Miami county. He was a type of the progressive public-spirited men of the age, the spirit which has given America the pre-eminence along its various business lines; and the undaunted enterprise, indomitable perseverance and resolute purpose which were numbered among his characteristics enabled him to rise from a position of comparative obscurity to an eminence which commanded the admiration of the business world.

    Mr. Smith was born in Lincolnshire, England, August 13, 1816, and was a son of William and Mildred Smith, who emigrated with their family to the new world. They were the parents of seven children. When our subject was thirteen years of age he began earning his own livelihood by herding sheep and afterward working at anything that he could get to do that would yield to him an honest living. In 1838 he crossed the Atlantic to America upon a sailing vessel which dropped anchor in the harbor of New York after a voyage of four weeks. By packet, steamer, canal and wagon he made his way westward to Ohio and for a short time worked as a laborer at Greenville Falls, after which he secured a situation in a distillery east of Dayton, being employed there for five years. On the expiration of that period he engaged in merchandising in Fairfield, Ohio, for sixteen months, and then, in company with his brother-in-law, Edward Smith, he leased a distillery, flouring-mill and sawmill at Greenville Falls, operating those plants for three years. At a later date they carried on a distillery for two years in Casstown, Ohio, and in 1852, they operated the first distillery at Tippecanoe City. They also built a flour and oil mill and after eight or nine years connected with those enterprises Mr. Smith turned his attention to farming. He was, however, prominently connected with the industrial interests of Miami county and became one of the principal organizers and stockholders of the Grape Sugar Company, which was capitalized for fifty thousand dollars. He was elected its president and to his capable management the enterprise owed its success. For twenty years he was a director in the First National Bank of Troy, and his sound judgment and business ability contributed to its success. Mr. Smith was a public-spirited and progressive citizen and in many ways he aided in the moral development and substantial improvement of the county, withholding his support from no measure which he believed would prove a public good. He frequently held offices of trust in the township and in the city, and was a member of the city school board. His political support was given the Republican party and at all times he kept well informed on the issues of the day.

    Mr. Smith was twice married. He first wedded Miss Jane Smith, who died October 18, 1877. Afterward he married Miss Sarah E. Galloway, widow of William C. Galloway and a daughter of Joseph Bennett, who was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1811, and came to America in 1840. For many years before crossing the Atlantic he was a teacher and after taking up his abode in the Buckeye state he also followed that profession. His death occurred in Tippecanoe City, December 21, 1891, at the advanced age of eighty- eight years. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Smith were five children, of whom four died in infancy, while Mildred is still living, at the age of fourteen years. In addition to their present home in Tippecanoe City, Mr. Smith was the owner of three hundred acres of valuable farming land, two hundred acres being located in Miami county, the remainder in Montgomery county, Ohio. He was a charter member of Tippecanoe City lodge, F. & A. M., and was a devoted member of the Lutheran church. He took an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of his community, and has tended to advance its progress along social, moral, material and intellectual lines. His record is one of which his family may justly be proud. When he arrived in Dayton, Ohio, in 1838, he had only a single sixpence in his pocket, but energy and business sagacity enabled him to win a place among the leading business men of Miami county. At all times he was reliable and trustworthy in trade transactions and his steady advancement was an indication not only of his power to handle intricate business matters but also of the confidence reposed in him by his fellow-townsmen. In his death, which occurred April 29, 1894, the community lost one of its best citizens, but his memory will long be enshrined in the hearts of those who knew him.

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