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Biography of William Smith

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William Smith, of Union Grove, has been identified with various business interests and his acumen and initiative have enabled him to gain financial independence. He is now largely living retired but still engages in the real estate business to some extent, holds title to one hundred and eighty acres of fine land and also owns the hotel in Union Grove. He was born in Dover, Racine County, on the 10th of September, 1853, a son of William Smith, Sr., whose birth occurred in County Norfolk, England, on the 17th of July, 1817. He emigrated to America in 1839 and after spending three years in New Jersey came west in 1842. He resided in Milwaukee during that summer but in the fall located in Dover, Racine County, entering land which he purchased as soon as it was placed on the market. He improved and developed that place, making it one of the hest farms of his locality, and as the years passed his resources steadily increased. He was married in this County to Miss Mary Welsh, a native of Ireland, in which country her father, John Welsh, passed his entire life. Mr. and Mrs. William Smith, Sr., became the parents of eight children, as follows: Robert. W., a carpenter of Union Grove; Amelia, who is the wife of William Donald, a substantial farmer of Dover Township; John H., who owns and operates a farm adjoining the homestead; Eliza, the wife of John Crane, a farmer of this County; William; Anna, who married Hugh Dardis, of Antioch, Illinois; Carrie, now Mrs. James Bell of Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Hattie, the wife of John Young, a merchant of Union Grove.

William Smith of this review supplemented his public school education by attending the Rochester Seminary from which he was graduated in 1874. He began assisting his father with the work of the homestead as soon as he was old and strong enough and resided upon that farm for many years after attaining his majority. His mother died in 1885 and he cared for his father from that time until the latter’s demise on the 14th of March, 1897. During that time he also operated the home place, which comprises one hundred and eighty acres of splendidly improved land which he now owns, and he was recognized as one of the most enterprising agriculturists of the County. He was not only successful in the cultivation of the land and in caring for stock but also managed the business phase of farming in a highly efficient manner.

For two years, 1878-9, he engaged in the rooming business in Chicago but with that exception lived continuously upon the farm where his birth occurred until 1897. He then removed to Union Grove and for five years boarded with his brother, R. W. Smith, and engaged in buying and selling real estate. Later he lived with U. C. Humphries for two years but at the end of that time was married. He continued active in the real estate field and still handles some property but is living largely retired. His wife owned a shoe business and following their marriage he assumed control of the store which he conducted for several years. He then leased it to others and formed a partnership with C. S. Van Dersen Brothers, of Chicago, and turned his attention to the buying and shipping of cabbage for the open markets. He has also been interested in many other enterprises and in all that he has undertaken has proved successful. He now owns the hotel in Union Grove and has made it one of the most popular small hostelries in this section of the state.

In 1904 Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Anna Roach, the only-child of John Roach, who was born in Ireland but settled in Racine County, Wisconsin, in the early days. He was a shoemaker and built up a large business. Mrs. Smith passed away on the 1st of May, 1909, in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Smith is well known fraternally, belonging to the Knights of Pythias, the Uniform Rank, the Dramatic Order of the Knights of Khorassan, and to Racine Lodge, No. 252, B. P. O. E., at Racine, and Purity Lodge, No. 39, I. O. O. F., at Union Grove, of which he is a charter member. In politics he is a republican and in religious faith is a Roman Catholic. Although he has always given close attention to his private business interests he has not confined his time to his own affairs but has given generously of his energy and also of his means to the promotion of the business expansion of Union (rove. No movement seeking the general welfare has lacked his hearty support, and he has been an important factor in the advancement of the community along various lines.


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