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L. W. Smith, who, in the conduct of a real estate, loan and insurance business has devoted considerable attention to building and selling of homes and has thus contributed in notable measure to the development of the southwestern section of Racine, was born in this city December 8, 1888, a son of Henry L. and Mary Ann (Fennell) Smith, the former a native of New York and the latter of Trowbridge, England. The mother was a daughter of John and Martha Fennell, who came to Racine in 1879, her father, became foreman of the molding department of the J. L Case Threshing Machine Company, which position he acceptably filled for twenty-one years. Later he was called to the offices of city treasurer and city assessor and at the present time he is living retired, enjoying a rest which his former activities have fully merited. The paternal grandfather of L. W. Smith was Lawrence Smith, who brought his family to Racine in 1863. He was a seaman, who sailed on both the ocean and the lakes. He became captain of vessels and was well known in that connection. His son, Henry L. Smith, took up the trade of a molder and is now with the Wisconsin Cylinder Foundry Company.
Completing his education by study in the high school, supplemented by a course in the agricultural department of the Wisconsin University, L. W. Smith then entered the employ of the United States government and for about a year was connected with the department of commerce and labor. In 1910 he opened a real estate office at 1514 Washington Avenue and now has his office in the adjoining building, at No. 1516. He not only handles real estate but also writes insurance and places loans and in the conduct of his real estate interests he negotiates property transfers for others and also builds houses for sale. He has confined his operations largely to the southwest side of Racine and has been instrumental in the development and improvement of that section of the city, where he has transformed unsightly vacancies into attractive residence districts and thereby has greatly enhanced property values and promoted prosperity in that region. He is also a director of the Home Mutual Building & Loan Association and a member of the Racine real estate board.
On the 11th of October, 1911, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Gertrude Weber, a daughter of Adolph and Theresa Weber, who were early residents of Racine, where the father now lives retired. The children of this marriage are: Philip, and twins, Robert and Richard. The family attends St. Rose Catholic Aural and Mr. Smith belongs also to the Knights of Columbus. He is likewise identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is a member of the Junction Advancement Association. He has never become an active factor in polities, casting an independent ballot, but he puts forth every effort-and his labors are most effective-for the benefit and improvement of the city in which he lives.