Fred C. Smythe the first Assessor of Orange County, was born in the city of Los Angeles, near the old Pico Hotel, in 1857. His father, John Smythe, was a native of the State of New York, and of Irish ancestry, while his mother, whose maiden name was Josephine Yorba, is a native of California and of Spanish descent.
The subject of this sketch, the eldest of his parent’s nine children, left home to take care of himself at the age of eleven years, taking as his first task that of waiting on the table at Los Angeles. Afterward he entered the printing office at Anaheim and set type on what was then the Southern Californian, but is DOW the Anaheim Gazette. After this he worked in the printing office in Los Angeles. His health failing, he made a journey to Nevada and Oregon, herding cattle in those States. Subsequently he kept books for Kelley & Felez. Returning to Anaheim, he began plowing and soon entered a clerkship in A. Langenberger’s store; he next was employed on the Anaheim Ditch; and it was while he was thus engaged that he was elected Assessor for the town of Anaheim, and about this time he was made Deputy Sheriff of Los Angeles County, serving in this capacity under Sheriffs A. T. Currier, George E. Gard, J. C. Kays and Martin Aguirre, until his election to the office of Assessor of Orange County in July, 1889. During the full period that he was deputy sheriff he served as City Marshal of the city of Anaheim, also constable; also two years as Deputy County Assessor under C. C. Mason, County Assessor of Los Angeles County, and two terms as Special School Assessor of Anaheim School District.
Politically Mr. Smythe is a stanch Republican, and socially he is a member of the order of Chosen Friends, being now a councilor of the order. He is also president of the N. S. G. W., and Commander of the American Legion of Honor. He is a gentleman well known throughout California for his bravery and executive ability, and has won for himself a host of friends irrespective of party.