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 William Brown Smith

William Brown Smith

Brighton, Monroe County, New York, USA
Death 10 Mar 1896 (aged 81)
Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Burial Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Plot Section 59, Lot 1
Memorial ID 75442401 · View Source
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Parents - Job C. Smith & Esther Brown.


Syracuse, New York
The Daily Journal newspaper
Tuesday, March 10, 1896
Page 6, Columns 3 and 4


Death of a Leading Citizen of Syracuse.


Sketch of the Career of One Who Has Been Prominently Identified With Syracuse for Over Half a Century.

Peacefully and surrounded by his family, William Brown Smith passed away at 6:45 o'clock this morning, at the family residence, 805 West Genesee-st., and in his death Syracuse loses an old and respected citizen, one whose long life was filled with great activity and large usefulness almost to the day of its close. Mr. Smith was identified with various private enterprises in Syracuse that invariably profited by his wise counsel and management. Being the possessor of a large amount of land in the western part of the city he kept pace with the growth of the city and developed his property and materially advanced the interests of that part of the city. While not active of late years in political affairs, Mr. Smith was ever wide awake to all affairs that concerned the city of Syracuse.
Mr. Smith was confined to his bed only since a week ago yesterday. Night before last signs of improvement in his condition were noticed, but at 5 o'clock yesterday evening he began rapidly to fail and the end came this morning.
William Brown Smith was a son of Job C. Smith and Esther Brown, and was born March 2, 1815, at Brighton, Monroe county. His ancestors were English, coming to this country in 1630, and locating at New London, Conn., the original farm now being owned and occupied by lineal descendants of the founder of the family in this country, Rev. Nehemiah Smith. Mr. Smith's mother died at the time of his birth, and he was placed in the care of Mrs. Jeremiah Maples of West Walworth, Wayne county, where he lived until he was thirteen years old. In the meantime his father had removed to Ohio, and married again. When thirteen years old, his foster father, Mr. Maples, died suddenly, his foster mother having died six years previous. Thus being left without friends in the East, he made arrangements with Joshua Hicks of Walworth, whereby he was to learn the cabinet trade, and there he worked until he was eighteen years old. About this time, Mr. Hicks died, and young Smith hired out to his son, Levi J. Hicks, also a cabinet maker, agreeing to work for two years, the first year for $4 per month and the second for $7 per month, with the understanding that he was privileged to work outside when he so choose, but was to make up the time so that he was to work for Mr. Hicks two full years, under the contract. Inasmuch as he spent considerable time during the hay and harvest season working for farmers in the neighborhood, and in going to school in the winter, it took three years to fill his contract with Mr. Hicks. By this time he had reached his majority, fulfilled his contract, learned his trade, and was the possessor of a capital of $100. Hoping to better himself, he made a trip by canal as far as Buffalo, visiting the various cabinet shops along the route, but finding no place to his liking he returned to Palmyra, where he hired out to James Fenner, a cabinet maker. After a few weeks he was advanced to the position of foreman of one of the shops, where he remained four years, at the end of which time he had managed to save about $1,000.
About this time he entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, T. G. Yeomans, in the mercantile business at Walworth. After four years of mercantile life, finding it did not agree with his health, he came to Syracuse and bought a half interest in a nursery with Mr. Alanson Thorp, under the firm name of Thorp & Smith, the nursery comprising four or five acres, situated on West Genesee-st., near the present Smith family residence, for which he paid $2,000. This nursery was increased from time to time, until it occupied several hundred acres. The firm name was changed at various times by the retirement or addition of other partners, until Mr. Smith became the sole proprietor of the business. In 1868 Mr. Edward A. Powell married his only daughter, Lucy C., and became a partner in the business, which was soon after extended by the addition of the live stock interests, from which has been developed the celebrated "Lakeside Stock Farm."
In 1879, the firm was again changed by the admission to partnership of his sons, Wing R. and W. Judson Smith, under the firm name of Smiths & Powell. The firm was afterwards changed to that of Smiths, Powell & Co., which is still retained.
Mr. Smith was twice married, his first wife being Lucy, daughter of Gilbert Yeomans, of Wayne county, who lived but a few months. He afterwards married Augusta M. Boardman, daughter of Silas Boardman of Westerlo, Albany county, who survives. He is also survived by two sons and a daughter, Mrs. E. A. Powell and Wing R. and W. Judson Smith.
Early in life, Mr. Smith adopted the motto, "Never put off until to-morrow what you can do to-day," and the rule of his life was never to deviate from this, and living up to this, he never forfeited a contract or failed to meet an obligation. In business he was energetic, honorable and trustworthy. In religion, through early associations, he was a member of the Baptist church, but later in life he became interested in the May Memorial church, and for a number of years was one of its trustees. In politics he was Republican, having voted with the Whig party for William Henry Harrison, and later being an ardent anti-slavery man. Although always interested in the political welfare of his city and country, he never sought any office. The only public office he held was that of school commissioner of the Third ward, which he represented in the board for several years, and served one term as president of the Board of Education.
Mr. Smith was largely identified with the development of Syracuse, having been connected and prominently identified with many of its leading public and business enterprises, and at the time of his death held several positions of trust and honor, among which may be mentioned the following: President of Oakwood cemetery, vice-president of the Syracuse Saving bank, director of the Salt Springs National bank, director of the old Syracuse Water company, counselor of the Old Ladies' Home, president of Smith & Powell company, treasurer of the Holstein-Friesian association, trustee of St. Joseph's hospital, and senior member of the firm of P. R. Quinlan & Co.
Outside of his regular business interests, Mr. Smith for many years was a large investor in real estate in Syracuse and vicinity. He made it a governing principle that money invested in real estate near at hand which would nearly or quite pay the interest on its cost, was money well invested. Results justified his judgment in this respect.
Mr. Smith was always an earnest advocate of temperance and morality, and both by precept and example endeavored to impress these principles on the minds of those with whom he came in contact and he took a modest pride in the statement that he never touched, tasted or handled intoxicants of any kind, or tobacco, nor offered them to others.
There still remains fresh in the memories of the many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the joyful celebration of the golden wedding, which took place the 29th day of March, 1893, when, in the same house in which they plighted their vows of love and fidelity fifty years before, and in the presence of the same minister who then officiated, they renewed these vows, which had brought with them so much of happiness and benediction. Since then, the aged divine, who was a near and dear friend of the deceased, has also passed to his reward.
The funeral services will be held at the family residence, No. 805 West Genesee-st., at 2:30 p. m., on Thursday.

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  • Created by: Tom C.
  • Added: 24 Aug 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 75442401
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Brown Smith (2 Mar 1815–10 Mar 1896), Find A Grave Memorial no. 75442401, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Tom C. (contributor 47524987) .