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Biography of George Washington Smith
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George Washington Smith. On first coming to Kansas thirty-three years ago Mr. Smith engaged in educational work, and was at the head of several city school systems for a number of years. He finally entered business at Lawrence, living in that city while his own children were finishing their educations, and in recent years had resumed teaching and is now superintendent of the city schools of Neosho Falls. He is one of the most widely experienced and competent school men in Kansas.
He was born at Knoxville in Marion County, Iowa, May 25, 1860. His paternal ancestors came out of England and were early settlers in New York. His father, Chauncey M. Smith, was born in New York State in 1828, grew up there, married in Ohio, and soon after his marriage moved to a farm in Marion County, Iowa. In 1883 he went to Cedar County, Missouri, and was identified with farming in that locality until his death in 1895. He was a republican in politics, and wherever he lived he gave his active support to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he served as deacon and in other capacities. Chauncey M. Smith married Anna Rogers. She was born in Ohio in 1833, and died at Hamilton, Montana, in 1909. A brief record of their children is as follows: Fannie, who lives at Butte, Montana, the widow of Taylor Kelley, who died in Missouri on a farm; George Washington, who is the second in age and the oldest son; Elmer, a merchant and rancher at Hamilton, Montana; Cora, who died near Hope, Kansas, the wife of Leonard Lockard, who is a highly successful farmer near Hope; Mina, wife of Oscar Jenkins, a rancher at Hamilton, Montana; Charles, who had a ranch near Hamilton, Montana, and was recently a candidate for the State Legislature on the democratic ticket.
Professor Smith as a boy had a rural environment and attended the public schools of Marion County, Iowa, and in 1882 graduated from the Knoxville Academy. He continued his education in the Simpson Centenary College, but left that institution in his junior year.
On coming to Kansas in 1883 Mr. Smith first located in Greenwood County, taught school there and was successively principal of the Reece schools, the Fall River schools and the Eureka High School up to 1893. Following that he took the superintendency of the Neodesha schools for five years.
On leaving school work Mr. Smith established a department store at Eureka, Kansas, and was a successful merchant of that city for seven years. He then traded his store for a ranch near Fall River, lived on it three years, and in order to give his growing children the best advantages of higher schools he bought property in Lawrence, Kansas, and that city was his home for six years. While at Lawrence Mr. Smith established the Kaw Valley Creamery Company and became its president. His active associate in the business was D. M. Wilson, former state dairy commissioner. The company built up a very prosperous business and manufactured butter, ice cream and also pasteurized bottled milk.
On resuming school work Mr. Smith was commissioned to establish the high school at Labette City in 1913, and served as superintendent until the spring of 1916. In the fall of 1916 he became superintendent of schools at Neosho Falls. For a town of its size Neosho Falls had some of the best public school systems in the state. The high school had a full four-year course and is accredited with the State University and other institutions. The schools have manual training and normal training courses, agricultural, domestic arts and sciences and also preparatory courses fulfilling the entrance requirements of the various colleges. Mr. Smith had under his supervision a corps of nine teachers and an enrollment of 180 scholars.
Since coming to Neosho Falls Mr. Smith had purchased a splendid modern residence on Walnut Street, regarded by many as the finest home in the town. He also owned a farm of 160 acres in Cherokee County and had eighty acres of farming land in Western Kansas and other lands in Colorado. He had always been a hard worker and a good manager, and had prospered accordingly. In matters of politics he is a republican, belongs to the Congregational Church, and is affiliated with the Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias.
In 1887, at Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Smith married Miss Carrie M. Finney. Her parents, Benjamin O. and Mrs. (Johnson) Finney, still live in Chicago, her father being a retired shoe merchant. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of seven children, the older ones being already established in vocations and in homes of their own. Joy M. is the wife of Gordon A. Badger, a lawyer by profession and also directing the operations of an extensive farm, his home being at Eureka. Guy C. is in the advertising business and is an expert in that line, his home being in Detroit, Michigan. Georgia is a graduate of the Lawrence High School, had taken post-graduate work and is now teaching near Altamont, Kansas. Raymond is a farmer at Eureka, Kansas. May is a junior in the Neosho Falls High School, Ruth is in the eighth grade of the public schools, and Phillip is in the fourth grade.
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