Ward Smith, secretary of the Hunter-Robinson Milling & Grain Company and manager of the grain department, was born in Tullahoma, Tennessee, May 22, 1888. His father, Dr. J. Crittenden Smith, was a native of Columbia, Tennessee, and is now in business in Chicago. His father, Dr. T. C. Smith, is still living in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. He and his immediate ancestors in the two preceding generations were physicians. The Smith family comes of English lineage. J. Crittenden Smith was united in marriage to Ella Ward, a daughter of John H. Ward, a wholesale furniture dealer of Nashville, Tennessee. He came from England when a child, being brought to the new world by his father, Jehiah Ward. The latter made a fortune in the shipping business and brought it with him to this country. He invested in a tract of several acres of land in what is now New York city, but his heirs, after his death, were unable to get any trace as to what he did with his land or even its location. Two sisters of Jehiah Ward are buried in Trinity churchyard in New York city. The grandfather of Mrs. Ella Ward Smith served in the War of 1812. The ancestors in the paternal line are represented by many families now prominent in Tennessee, including the Crittendens, Rountrees, Brantleys and others.
The early education of Ward Smith was obtained in the public schools of Tullahoma, Tennessee, and later he attended the Brandon Training School at Wartrace, there continuing his education until he put aside his text books to start out in the business world. His first position was that of clerk with the Illinois Central Railroad Company at Memphis, Tennessee, where he remained for two years. He afterward spent a similar period as cashier of the Charleston Mining Company at Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, and then went to Nashville, where he was a clerk in the offices of the Southern Railway Company, reaching the position of chief clerk. In the meantime he had been improving his education by attendance at night school and had learned stenography, so that he accepted a position as stenographer for C. D. Jones & Company, who operated the Hermitage Elevator at Nashville. He remained with that corporation for eight years and before he left had charge of practically the entire business. In 1914, however, he went to Johnson City in East Tennessee as manager of the Model Mill Company and remained there for a year, after which he came to St. Louis, where he entered into connection with the J. H. Teasdale Commission Company as manager of the cash grain department. In November, 1918, he resigned that position to join the Hunter-Robinson Milling & Grain Company as manager of the grain department and still acts in that capacity and is also the secretary of the company. Steadily he has advanced, his enterprise and energy leading him into important business connections, and today he is a well known feature in grain trade circles in St. Louis.
On the 28th of November, 1917, at Johnson City, Tennessee, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Martha Allen Martin, a daughter of James A. Martin, a lumber dealer, whose ancestral line, tracing back to the Martin and St. John families, is a very long and illustrious one. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith has been born a son Martin, whose birth occurred in 1919.
Mr. Smith was three times rejected when endeavoring to enter the service during the World war, but nevertheless he did his bit on every occasion, neglecting no opportunity to uphold American interests throughout the period of our connection with the allied army. He is a democrat but has never been an active politician. His religious faith is that of the Episcopal church, and he frequently attends the Methodist Episcopal church, as his wife is identified with that denomination. Fraternally he is a member of Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. & A. M. and has attained the thirty-second degree in the Missouri Consistory, A. A. S. R. He belongs to the Merchants Exchange and also to the Chamber of Commerce, and he is a student of business conditions and possibilities. He plays a good game of golf and by nature and inheritance is a great hunter and fisher, but above all is a most progressive business man and his success is the result entirely of his own efforts.