William H. Smith

WILLIAM H. SMITH. In the ranks of Mount Pleasant's honored citizens William H. Smith holds a foremost place. The father of Mr. Smith, Joseph Smith settled in Derry township on a tract of one hundred and thirty-six acres of land, which he cleared and on which he erected good buildings. He was a useful citizen and a worthy man, taking an active part in politics and also in church affairs. Joseph Smith married Christina Speilman, who like himself was of German descent, and they were the parents of thirteen children: Ephraim, born October 8, 1817, now resides near Pleasant Unity, being the sole survivor of the family with the exception of his brother William H. John, who was a shoemaker in Derry township; Catharine, who died in infancy; Jacob, who was a carpenter in Derry towship; Mary, who became the wife of Henry Bussard; Susan, married George Rupert; Elizabeth. who was the wife of a Mr. Brinnell; Joseph, who was a tinner, and emigrated to Ohio where he died; Katie, married Henry Auckeman; Christiana, who was the wife of Seth Baughman, and after his death married again and moved to Indiana; Jones, who was a miller at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; Andrew, who was a laborer and fence-builder of Unity township;: William H., mentioned hereafter. Mr. Smith, the father of this numerous family, died on his farm in 1829, at the age of sixty-four.

William H. Smith, son of Joseph and Christina (Speilman) Smith, was born October 28. 1825, in Derry township, just above Latrobe, where he passed his boyhood. At the age of sixteen he went to Liscipes, Unity township to learn the blacksmith's trade, remaining there about eighteen months. In the spring of 1844 he went to Mount Pleasant with his employer, Matthew McMillan for whom he worked eight months after finishing his apprenticeship. He and his nephew, Joseph Smith, then bought out the business which they conducted together for about a year. Joseph Smith then decided to go to the Mexican war and in consequence the business was sold out, Mr. Smith for eighteen months thereafter working as a journeyman for William H. Smith. At the end of that time Mr. Smith purchased the business and continued to conduct it in that place until 1885, doing the work of a general blacksmith. In 1876 he purchased a stock of hardware and established a business under time firm name of Smith & Company, the business being looked after by Mr. Rumbaugh, the partner, while Mr. Smith gave his attention to his trade. In 1885, as before stated, he disposed by sale of the smithy and engaged personally in the hardware business. In 1889 Mr. Rumbaugh died, his interest was purchased by Mr. Smith's son, William F. Smith, and the name of the firm was changed to its present form of 'W. H. Smith & Son.' They carry a complete line of hardware, also buggies, wagons, farm implements, harnesses, robes, blankets, and in fact everything that bears a relationship to the business. The main storeroom has a depth of one hundred and fifty feet, with basement, and one of the two warehouses is forty by forty feet amid consists of three stories, while the other, which has one story, is twenty by forty feet. This is the largest hardware establishment in Mount Pleasant, and the business has grown until it has assumed a magnitude equal to any of the kind to be found outside the limits of a large city. Mr. Smith's career as a business man contains a wholesome lesson for the youth of the present day, being an example of one who is a self-made man in the best sense of the term. Beginning with a salary of four dollars per month, he stands to-day as one of the solid business men of that part of Westmoreland county, his success being entirely due to close application to business and strict adherence to the principles of honorable and upright dealing. Mr. Smith is a public-spirited citizen, and about 1870 laid out a small addition to the town, known as Smith's addition, through which Smithfield street runs, and which consists of eight building lots with a plot of about one acre additional. He served two terms as burgess of Mount Pleasant, and for nine years was a member of the council. He has been for many years a devoted member of the Presbyterian church in Mount Pleasant. Mr. Smith married, August 10, 1848, Sarah, born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, daughter of Joseph Gibbs, and their children were: George W., a blacksmith in Mount Pleasant; Annie E., Norman; Catharine, wife of S. C. Stevenson, of Mount Pleasant; Charles K., died at the age of twenty-five years; William F., mentioned hereafter; Oma and Pearl (twins), the former is deceased and the latter is the wife of Dr. M. N. Horner, of Mount Pleasant. In 1898 Mr. Smith and his children were deeply afflicted by the death of the wife and mother, who passed away at the age of seventy-two. Mr. Smith has seven grandchildren as follows: S. Jean, Sarah K, William, Herbert N., William Stevenson, Viola Stevenson, and Sarah Horner.

William F. Smith, mentioned above, is the junior member of the hardware firm of W. H. Smith & Son. He is past master of Scottdale Lodge, No. 562, F. and A. M. and trustee of Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 868, B. P. O. E. He also belongs to Moss Rose Lodge, No 350, I. 0. 0. F., Encampment, and Pike Run Country Club. He married Mary A. Shaeffer, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and they have two children: S. Jean and Sarah E.

Source: Page(s) 146-147, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed March 2006 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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