William Burroughs Smith

William Burroughs Smith

Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Death 23 Jun 1892 (aged 76)
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 38109673 View Source
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Obituary for William Burroughs Smith

CHARLESTON, June 23, 1892

Mr. Williams Burroughs Smith, the richest man In Charleston, died at his residence on Broad Street at 7 o'clock this morning. The name of W. B. Smith is one well known throughout the State. He was born In Charleston seventy-seven years ago, being the son of Robert Smyth, an obscure citizen.

Young Smith (or Smyth as he was then called—he changed his name subsequently, on account of some family affair) went into the cotton business at the age of fifteen with an old factor named Hatchins, who left Charleston subsequently. His next connection was with the firm of Jones &.Co., which became Jones & Smith, and finally Wm. B. Smith & Co. As a dealer in cotton and as a merchandise broker Mr. Smith was eminently successful. In early life he married, a Miss Jones, daughter of his partner.

Mr. Smith was for a long time president of the old Union Bank, and he managed its affairs as he did his own with a wonderful degree of acuteness. He turned every dollar that he made to account and fortune seemed to favor all of his investments. He gradually accumulated a large fortune which amounts to upwards of two and a half millions of dollars.

He leaves three daughters, the eldest of whom is the wife of Mr. A. H. Heyward. The second is the wife of Mr. W. B. Whaley, and third of the late I. K. Heyward. Between these three families, therefore, this large fortune will be divided. Mr. Smith has always led a very quiet and retired life and he never made any show of his wealth. He was at all times courteous in the extreme. Mr. Smith had been critically ill for some time and his end was not unexpected.
(From ‘The State' newspaper, Columbia, SC, June 24, 1892)



William Burroughs Smith. Smith was an industrious man, leaving school at the age of 15 to seek his fortune in the cotton factor business (a sort of business agent for the cotton planters to use to sell their cotton harvests to the various milling interests). His final resting place is within the Smith Pyramid Mausoleum located at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, SC.

In early life he married, a Miss Jones, daughter of his partner, Wiswall Jones. From the Marriage Notices in the Charleston Observer, you will find a Mr. W. B. Smith wed one Miss F. S. Jones, on Nov 11,1840.

William Burroughs Smith and Frances Susan Jones had three daughters, each who married:

Frances Rosa Smith Heyward (1843 - 1898)*
Helen Jones Smith Whaley (1847 - 1906)*
Pauline Smith Heyward (1850 - 1904)

Mausoleum 101

In a mausoleum, there are crypts, or 'compartments' where the deceased's coffin is placed, and then sealed permanently with a cover panel. Most mausoleums have some form of natural ventilation near the top of the structure, and the pyramid's construction maintained this practice. In addition to the open-air door metal work, small ventilation ports can be observed on all four sides near the top, between the fifth and sixth courses of stone work. There are three crypts on the left and right sides of the structure, plus two directly across from the door, under the beautiful stained glass window, so there are a total of eight places of eternal rest.

Significant thought and design went into the placement and orientation of the Smith Mausoleum. The front of the building faces true north, which was verified using a compass. The allows maximum sunlight exposure to illuminate the stained glass window of the south face. It also places the solid east and west sides of the structure so that they take the maximum force of bad weather.

One enters the pyramid by crossing over a rose colored mosaic tile floor, and through a hugh bronze door, with cast ornamental grates and panels with '18' and '94' on them for 1894, the year of construction. The door was made by the students and 'Uncles' of the Mechanical Engineering School, GA School of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded on October 13, 1885, the Georgia School of Technology opened its doors in October 1888 to eighty-four students. Now known as the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The door has been permanently sealed shut in recent years.

Who's in the Pyramid? (A question asked all the time!)

After W B Smith's death in 1892, his body spent 30 months in the Magnolia Cemetery Receiving Tomb, while the Pyramid Mausoleum was being designed by Edward C Jones, noted Charleston architect, and erected by stonemasons of the Charleston Granite Works, being completed in 1894. His remains were entombed, as well as with those of his wife, who was disinterred from her 1886 burial plot outside. His crypt is behind the marble panel at the center back wall, under the Tiffany stained glass window. His wife, Frances Susan Jones Smith (1820-1886), is entombed directly below his crypt. Entombed in the pyramid in addition to the primary residents, are their second daughter, a grandson, another grandson and his wife, a grand-daughter and a great-grandson.

Where are they?

To the left of the door, are the first of three kin: At top left, is grandson Representative Richard Smith Whaley(1874-1951), who served in the US Congress 1913-1921, and later was appointed by the President in 1930 to the bench as a U.S. Federal District Court of Claims Judge. In the middle-left side crypt is the Smith's daughter, Helen Jones Smith Whaley(1847-1906), [wife of William Baynard Whaley,Jr], who died from typhoid fever at age 59. In the bottom crypt on the left side, is grand-daughter Lillian Heyward Nylander(1877-1944), one of the daughters of Frances 'Fannie' Smith Heyward (Helen's older sister).

In the middle of the mausoleum, on the back wall underneath the stained glass window, is the crypt of William Burroughs Smith, and directly beneath him, is his wife's crypt, Frances Susan Jones Smith.

To the right of the front door, in the middle crypt, is another grandson, one of Helen Smith Whaley's sons; Dr Thomas Prioleau Whaley[The Good Physician]. Immediately above him is his wife Henrietta Righton Robertson Whaley. On the bottom right side is great-grandson Heyward Champion(1905 - 1934), who died fairly young at age 29. He was a manager at Worthington Arms Co. He was the grandson of daughter Fannie Smith Heyward, and brother of the famous South Carolina naval aviator, Carleton Cole Champion, Jr.

All these names are documented and have memorials on the web on Find A Grave. The family has a fascinating and accomplished history. The pyramid mausoleum is featured on the cover of Ted Phillip's book about Magnolia Cemetery, 'City of the Silent'.

Who's isn't in the Pyramid? (A question not asked so much)

One last item of note regarding the Smith family plot, is the small grave directly to the back right of the pyramid mausoleum, belonging to one of Smith's grandsons, Francis Percival Whaley, who was born Apr. 29, 1879 to William Baynard Whaley,Jr., and Helen Jones Smith Whaley, in Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. At the time of his death, the family resided at 16 Legare Street, in Charleston, SC. He did not live to see his 3rd birthday. Little 'Frank' passed away, suffering from 'Indigestion and Convulsions' on February 20, 1882, at about 7:30pm. His attending physician was Dr. Edward Ephraim Jenkins, of 311 Meeting Street, who signed his certificate of death. He was only 2 years, 9 months and 20 days old. His tiny coffin was interred in Magnolia. If you visit the pyramid, please take a moment to stop by and pay respect for this little one of the City of the Silent.

Burroughs or Burrows

One question that remains unswered, is why Mr. Smith's marble crypt cover is engraved with his name as WILLIAM BURROWS SMITH. The obituary has it spelled William Burroughs Smith, and he had two grandsons, William Burroughs Smith Heyward and William Burroughs Smith Whaley. It may have been his last wish, or homage to his mother, Ann Elizabeth Burrows. by the family.


Related Find A Grave memorials of those entombed within the Pyramid:

William Burroughs Smith - Find A Grave Memorial# 38109673
Frances Susan Jones Smith - Find A Grave Memorial# 22785656
Helen Jones Smith Whaley - Find A Grave Memorial# 22785594
Richard Smith Whaley - Find A Grave Memorial# 7117997
Lillian Heyward Nylander - Find A Grave Memorial# 62018105
Dr Thomas Prioleau Whaley - Find A Grave Memorial# 22785700
Henrietta Robertson Whaley - Find A Grave Memorial# 38109765
Heyward Champion - Find A Grave Memorial# 59654908


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