In 1797 Elias Smith and Jonathan Walton received a grant of land, of three lots, first concession township of Hope, about 700 acres, lying along the shore of lake Ontario, on. condition that they would build a grist mill and saw mill, and encourage settlement. The latter they would naturally be disposed to do, as mills would be of no use unless there were people to patronize them. They induced many families to settle in the township of Hope, some arriving with them; and their mills, located at the mouth of Smith’s creek, soon became paying investments.
This Elias Smith, one of the founders of the town, was the father of John David Smith, the subject of this brief memoir, who was born in New York, in October 1786. From 1797 to March 1849, when he died, Mr. Smith was a resident of Port Hope, and was prominent as a business man, and in public life, for thirty or forty years. During most of this period he was a merchant and miller. He was a thorough going, enterprising man. The writer was acquainted with him during his later years, and knows with what esteem he was regarded by his neighbors for his excellent character, and for what he had done for the town.
Mr. Smith was at one time president of the town board; was a magistrate a long period, and in 1828 was elected to the House of Assembly. He served one term, and parliamentary labors being distasteful to him, he refused to be a candidate for re-election.