Biography of Larratt W. Smith, D.C.L.
Jarratt William Smith, of Summerhill, Yonge street, in the county of York, barrister-at-law, of Osgoode Hall, Toronto, was born at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, England, on the 29th day of November, 1820. His father, Larratt Smith, Esq., in early life received a commission in the Royal Artillery, but subsequently entered the Field Train department on its organization, and rose to the head of it, and was for many years previous to, and during, the war of 1812 with the United States, and subsequently, stationed at Quebec in charge of the whole department in Canada, as chief commissary. After retiring upon half pay, and removing to England, he, in 1833, returned with his family, consisting of four children, of whom the subject of this notice was the eldest, to Upper Canada, and was induced by the then Lieut-Governor, Sir John Colborne (the late Lord Seaton) to settle in Oro, in the county of Simcoe, where some of his old military associates had preceded him; he soon afterwards removed thence to Richmond Hill, Toronto, and finally to England, where he died at his residence, Cumberland Place, Southampton, on the 30th of January, 1860.
Mr. Larratt William Smith, on his arrival in Toronto (then York), with his parents, in the summer of 1833, entered Upper Canada College where he remained until July, 1838. While there he obtained a fair share of its honors, including the prize poem for 1837, on the subject of “The Accession of Queen Victoria;” entered the Law Society as a student of the senior class in Michaelmas term, 1838, and was articled and served five years with the late Chief Justice Draper; admitted an attorney in Michaelmas term, 1843, and called to the Bar in Hilary term, 1844. At the opening of King’s College, in 1843, he matriculated in Arts, and passing on to law, took his degrees of B.C.L. and D.C.L., the latter in 1852. Soon after being called to the Bar, he purchased a partnership interest in the legal firm of Messrs. Smith, Crooks and Smith, of Toronto, and became the junior partner thereof. Since that time Mr. Smith has practiced his profession in partnership, at different times, with the Hon. Adam Wilson, present Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, James H. Morris, Esq., and Samuel George Wood, LL.B.; at present is senior partner in the firm of Messrs. Smith, Wood and Bowes.
Since 1833 Mr. Smith has resided in Toronto and its vicinity, and during that time has held, and still holds, many important positions of honor and emolument, But however varied the interests that require his attention, it seems to be fully within his grasp to bring to the discharge of his multifarious duties the requisite business ability to ensure success. He has acquired an enviable reputation as a good financier, an able manager, an excellent office lawyer, and a shrewd, straightforward business man; and his various positions in the management of different financial institutions indicate that these qualities are appreciated and called into use. Amongst the multitudinous duties to which his attention has been, and is still devoted, may be briefly mentioned the following: Clerk of the court of Appeals for Upper Canada; provice chancellor, and subsequently vice-chancellor of the University of Toronto; president of the Building and Loan Association since its incorporation in 1870; vice-president and director of the Toronto Consumers’ Gas Company for over twenty years, and also of the Canada Bolt Company for several years; director of the Bank of Upper Canada: of the London and Canadian Loan and Agency Co.; of the “Hand-in-Hand,” “Sovereign ” and Isolated Risk, Fire Insurance Companies; of the Anchor Marine Insurance Co.; of the Merchants’ Building Society; of the Grand Trunk Telegraph Co.; of the Ontario Peat Co.; and a local director of the Life Association of Scotland; life senator of the University of Toronto, and Bencher of the Upper Canada Law Society. During the rebellion of 1837, Mr. Smith served as lieutenant the 4th North York, and subsequently became senior major of the 6th battalion of Toronto (sedentary) militia. In 1876 he was chairman of the royal commission to investigate certain charges in connection with the Northern Railway. In. addition to his other numerous associations, he is a life member of many of the Toronto permanent institutions.
In political views Mr. Smith is a Reformer, but has never taken an active part in politics, though frequently solicited to do so; and in religion is a member of the Church of England, being at present churchwarden of Christ church, Yonge street.
In December, 1845, he married Eliza Caroline, daughter of staff surgeon Thom, of Perth, half sister of Mrs. Spragge, wife of the present Chancellor. She died six years later, leaving two children, the eldest of whom died from the effects of neglect and exhaustion incurred by the Fenian raid, and especially from the affair at Ridgeway, in 1866, and was buried with military honors by the 13th regiment, to which he belonged, a company of the regiment attending his funeral from Hamilton. The second son died at Barrie, whilst attending the grammar school there. Our subject was married a second time, at Toronto, on the 19th of August, 1858, to Mary Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the late James Frederick Smith, Esq., for many years a well known merchant of Toronto. By the latter marriage he has had eleven children, ten of whom survive.