Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WILLIAM Y. SMITH. A great essayist once said that "when one has given the best that is, in him to a work, he experiences a feeling of satisfaction." While this statement may seem rather broad, yet a greater truth than this was never spoken. Whether one is successful or not in what one undertakes, if he realizes that nothing on his part has been left undone he should have no regrets. This does not mean that the unsuccessful person feels just as elated over defeat as the successful over victory. When one does his best and, is successful he has a double reason to be happy. To this class belongs William Y. Smith, who has had a varied career as farmer, implement dealer traveling salesman and life insurance agent, and whose record shows that by his individual efforts persistently applied he has succeeded in lines that have claimed his attention.
Mr. Smith was born in Greene county, Missouri, June 5, 1851. He is a son of William and Sarah (Julian) Smith, natives of Virginia and Tennessee, respectively. They grew to maturity in the East and were educated there and married in Kentucky. The father was a physician by profession. He went to California in 1851, during the gold fever period, and his death occurred in Eugene, Oregon. His widow survived until 1875, dying in Greene county, Missouri. To these parents six children were born, three of whom are deceased, namely: Julian D., deceased; Robert O., deceased; Cyrenia lives in Paris, Texas; Saphronia lives in Fair Play, Missouri; Aglentine, deceased; and William Y., of this review.
William Y. Smith had little opportunity to receive an education. He attended night school for a time, but later in life this early lack has been made up for by wide miscellaneous reading, and he is today a well-informed man on general topics. He was married near Willard, his native county, October 15, 1871, to Anna B. Campbell, who was born in Greene county, Missouri, in 1855, and here she grew to womanhood and received a common school education. She is a daughter of Andrew and Louise (White) Campbell, natives of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively, but were married in Greene county, Missouri, after they immigrated here among the early pioneers, locating on a farm. During the Civil war Mr. Campbell joined the Confederate army and died in the service. His widow survives and is living in Tennessee. Mrs. Smith is a granddaughter of George White, one of the pioneer preachers of Greene county, who located here in-the year 1853 and was known as a circuit rider, preaching at Friendship Baptist church near Ebenezer, Ash Grove, Slagle Creek church and Cedar Bluff, holding services one Sunday each month in the churches in his regular circuit.
Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, five of whom are living at this writing, namely: Lydia Eugenia lives in Kansas; Fred, deceased; Ethel is married and lives in Springfield, Missouri; Mattie is also with her parents; Nellie lives in Joplin, Missouri; Walter died in infancy; Campbell lives in Springfield, and Lee is deceased.
William Y. Smith is an example of a self-made man. His father died when he was a small boy, leaving our subject's mother with a number of children to rear, which made it necessary for William Y. to face life alone and unaided; but this he did courageously, and the hard knocks he received at that tender age proved valuable to his makeup. He engaged in general farming on the farm where he was reared, continuing in this vocation until he was twenty-five years of age, then moved to Springfield and engaged in the implement business, later went on the road for a harvester company, selling machines, remaining in that line of work a number of years, or until the various harvesting machine companies were consolidated into the trust, whereupon he turned his attention to the life insurance business. During the past five years he has been on the road as a commercial traveler, selling different lines, but principally lighting systems and silos. He is one of the most successful and best known traveling men in this section of the country. He has a pleasant home on Monroe street, Springfield.
Mr. Smith is a Democrat, and has long been more or less active in the affairs of his party. He is a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association.
Springfield-Greene County Library