JAMES BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SMITH. One of the leading merchants of Mount Pleasant is James Benjamin Franklin Smith. He is a grandson of Joseph Smith, whose son, David G. Smith, was born near Gettysburg, Adams county, Pennsylvania, and at the age of fifteen or sixteen came to Westmoreland county. He there found employment in the Hurst settlement in Mount Pleasant township, and remained in this vicinity for several years. He then went to what is known as Painterville, where he was employed for twelve years in the salt works, and at the end of that time engaged in mercantile business at New Stanton, now known as Old Stanton. He married Mary, daughter of Joseph Bear, a farmer of Sewickley township, and they were the parents of a son, James Benjamin Franklin, mentioned hereafter. The death of Mr. Smith occurred in December, 1888. He was a good business man and a worthy citizen.
James Benjamin Franklin Smith, son of David G. and Mary (Bear) Smith, was born January 24, 1867, and received his education in the public schools and at the Greensburg Seminary. In the autumn of 1884, while still but a lad, he became a teacher, and taught four terms in Hempfield township. After four years as a teacher, he went as store manager to the Alice mines, near Mount Pleasant, East Huntingdon township, and held this position fourteen years, although during that period the concern changed hands no fewer than five different times. In 1900 the Mount Pleasant Supply Company, by o whom he was then employed, transferred him to the Klondike coal field in Fayette county, there to become the manager of a store. After holding this position ten months he resigned and entered the service of the American Supply 'Company, as manager of their store at Edenboro. At the end of three months the same company transferred him to Lambert, where he opened a store for them, and after getting the establishment into good running order he was again transferred to Gates, Pennsylvania, to open a store there. At this place he was retained for eight months, and in 1902, when the American Supply Company consolidated with the Union Supply Company, he resigned and entered the service of the Sharon Steel Company, as manager and purchasing agent of the store at Ronco, Pennsylvania. This position he filled until April, 1903, when he resigned, went to Mount Pleasant and there purchased the dry goods establishment of James S. Braddock & Company, which he has since conducted and maintained as one of the leading dry goods stores of the borough. He is a progressive business man, and the strict attention which he gives to the affairs of his establishment leaves him little time for social enjoyment, but he is a worthy member of the I. O. O. F. and the Modern Woodmen. He and his family are members of the First Reformed church of Mount Pleasant.
Mr. Smith married, May 28, 1888, Alice G., daughter of B. F. and Nancy S. (McCam) Miller, of New Stanton, and they have four children: Mamie Marie. Anna Gertrude. Benjamin F., deceased, and James Edward. Mr. Smith is strictly and absolutely a self-made man of whom it may be truly said that he has been the maker of his own fortune, and throughout his career has set an example of total abstinence, refraining not only from intoxicating liquors, but also from the use of tobacco in every form.
Source: Page(s) 220-221, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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