"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Smith, Samuel W. a pioneer of Vilas County who is still an active factor in the ranks of business, being proprietor of a cement block factory in Eagle River, besides having additional interests, was born in Marquette County, Wisconsin, April 16, 1850, son of Judge A. D. SMITH and wife. His paternal grandfather was John SMITH of Ulster, N.Y., whose seven children are given in the family records as Robert, Doll, Benjamin, Angeline, Susan, Rachel and Abraham D. He is said to have been noted as a lover of fast horses and a successful breeder of them; he and his wife died in New York State. Judge A. D. SMITH was born in Ulster County, N.Y., in 1813, while this country was engaged in war with Great Britain. When a young man he learned the carpenter's trade and was later superintendent of construction of the docks and locks for the Lehigh Valley waterway. He was a man of good education. He was married in 1834 at Wilkesbarre, Penn., to Pollie BENNETT, who was born there in 1819; she had two brothers, Samuel and Josiah. To Judge SMITH and wife were born 13 children, as follows: Angelina, who married L. B. BEST; Susan, who became the wife of O. N. HILLYER; Addie, wife of Henry DOUGLASS; Rachel, deceased; Eliza and Sarah, who died in infancy; Josiah B. and Robert N., who are both deceased; Samuel W., Benjamin F. and John.; Clara, now Mrs. GALBRAITH, and Charlotte O., who married a Mr. MCDONALD and is now living. In 1846 Judge A. D. SMITH came with his wife and children to Wisconsin, the journey from Pennsylvania being made with a covered wagon drawn by horses. For two years after arriving in this state they remained in its southern part, and then established a home near Briggsville, Marquette County. The Judge owned some 300 acres of land, partly in Marquette and partly in Adams County and thereon he died in July 1890; his wife followed him to the grave in 1892. Samuel W. SMITH was reared on his parents' farm, acquiring his education in the district school. He resided at home for most of the time until he was 20 years old, working in the woods during the winters. In 1873, after his marriage, he began business on his own account, first embarking in the cranberry business, and for three years he followed agriculture. He then began lumbering as a jobber, and about that time took up his residence at Grand Rapids (now Wisconsin Rapids), Wis., where he remained for a number of years, except that for two years he operated a farm. Of the rest of the time six years were spent in logging for the Sherry-Cameron Co., and, being fortunate enough to own both logging and railroad construction outfits, he filled railroad contracts during the summer seasons. In 1889 Mr. SMITH came to Eagle River, Vilas County, and purchased the Denton House, which was then the leading hotel in the village. He increased its guest capacity and considerably improved it in other ways also, remaining its proprietor until 1910, when he sold it to A. J. AUSTIN. Then erecting a factory near the bank of Eagle River, he engaged in the concrete block manufacturing business, which he is still carrying on with good success. He is also agent for the Hardy-Ryan Abstract Co., dealers in real estate and loans. He has taken an active and prominent part in the building up of Eagle River and was particularly active in the organization of Vilas County in 1893, spending much of his time in Madison for that purpose. For the first county officials he selected a set of men regardless of their politics, but who were so unexceptionable with respect to their personal records that they were all appointed by Governor PECK and sat as the first officers of the county. In addition to his family residence Mr. SMITH owns two city lots, also seven acres on the north bank of the Eagle River, on a part of which his cement block factory is located; also 80 acres of cut-over land near Conover. He formerly served as chairman of his township board, as such becoming a member of the county board also; he was a member of the last board of supervisors of assessment of Vilas County and for many years a member of the board of education. A Catholic in religion, Mr. SMITH has been an ardent worker for his home parish; at the time the first church edifice was built here he canvassed all the logging camps in the vicinity to raise funds to help meet the necessary expenses, and he did the same at the time the parochial school was built. He is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters. In politics Mr. SMITH is a staunch Democrat and he was appointed by President CLEVELAND as postmaster at Eagle River. He has always been a strong advocate of temperance; he has endeavored to be a useful citizen and he has succeeded also in becoming a popular one. He was first married in December, 1873, to Alice WALSH, who was born in Quebec, Canada, daughter of Patrick and Bridge (MURPHY) WALSH. She died April 13, 1910, leaving no children. Mr. Smith was married secondly Sept. 13, 1911, to Emma HERMAN, daughter of Jacob and Sophia (PETERSON) HERMAN, and of this marriage one child, Wesley F., was born Oct. 28, 1912. Mrs. SMITH is a member of the Earnest Workers Aid Society, the Woman's Club and the W. C. T. U.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 491-492 (with picture), History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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