Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JAMES E. SMITH. It is a good sign when a county like Greene can boast of so many of her enterprising business men and farmers who are native sons, for it indicates, that there are to be found all the opportunities necessary to insure success in the material affairs of life and that her native sons, unlike so many front various sections, have found it to their advantage to remain at home. They have been wise in doing this for nature has offered the husbandman unusual advantages here and has seldom failed to reward the earnest worker with gratifying results, and when the tillers of the soil are prosperous all lines of business flourish, consequently not only the farmers have succeeded in this locality but also the merchants, millers, lumbermen, stock dealers, and many others, and the county ranks well with the most thriving sections of this or any other state.
One of the native-born business men of Springfield is James E. Smith, whose birth occurred in this city, July 28, 1868. He is a son of David and Mary (Fulton) Smith. The father was born in Glasgow, Scotland, as was also the mother, and there they grew to maturity, were educated and married, and when young immigrated to America and located in Greene county, Missouri. The elder Smith was a well driller and he operated the first well drill in the vicinity of Springfield. It was in 1858 that they located here and they spent the rest of their lives in Springfield, the father's death occurring here in 1870. To them thirteen children were born; the following are still living, namely: Maggie lives in Pennsylvania; David, a machinist, in the employ of the Frisco, lives in Springfield; Joseph lives in Kansas City; James E., of this sketch, and Jennie E. (twins), the latter also lives in Springfield; Robert makes his home in this city.'
James E. Smith grew to manhood in his native city and here received a common and high school education, and when young served his apprenticeship as machinist and followed this trade at the old foundry at Mill and Boonville streets, where he learned the trade. After remaining there about three years he secured a position in the Springfield Wagon Works, in the paint department, later drove a grocery wagon for ten or twelve years. In 1890 he went into the grocery business for himself on Boonville street, also cigars and confectionery, remaining in that stand until 1894. However, prior to that year he was for some time in the employ of the Frisco, working as brakeman between Springfield and Memphis. In 1897 he went to work in the city fire department, where he remained until 1909, then opened his present grocery store at 831 North Campbell street and has built up a large and constantly growing business, carrying at all seasons a large and well-selected stock of fancy and staple groceries.
Mrs. Smith was married, August 13, 1890, to Anna Miles, who was born in Hannibal, Missouri, September 17, 1870. She is a daughter of William A. and Malinda (Snyder) Miles, both natives of Pennsylvania, being early settlers in Missouri, locating on a farm. Mr. Miles served five years in the Civil war, participating in many hard-fought battles. Mrs. Smith grew to womanhood in her native city and received a good common school education in Hannibal.
To Mr. and Mrs. Smith three children have been born, namely: James E., Jr., born May 16, 1891, lives at home; Jennette, born March 19, 1896, died the same year; Genevieve, born November 10, 1898.
Mr. Smith is prominent in fraternal affairs, being a member of the Masonic Order, Knights of Pythias, the Improved Order of Red Men, the Royal Arcanum, Highlanders, also the Woodmen of the World and the Modern Woodmen of America. He has been clerk of the Woodmen of the World for the past eighteen years and is active in Woodmen circles. Politically, he is a Democrat, and for the past three years-has been councilman from the Sixth ward and has done much for the general good of the city. He was formerly secretary of the Retail Merchants' Association. His wife is a member of the Woodmen Circle and the Pythian Circle. Mr. and Mrs. Smith belong to the Catholic church.
Springfield-Greene County Library