Charles A. Smith, of Halstead, is a Kansan of long and varied experience, and his people were pioneers here. Mr. Smith is now one of the active heads of a large produce business at Halstead.
He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his people were early day Quakers in North Carolina, their hatred of slavery causing them to migrate to the North. Mr. Smith was born in Randolph County, Indiana, October 13, 1867. His father, John W. Smith, was born in North Carolina July 30, 1836, and in 1846, when he was ten years of age, his parents moved to Randolph County, Indiana. He grew up there on a farm, and spent his active career between farming and the trade of wagon-maker. In April, 1870, he came to Kansas, prospecting about over the state for some time, first at Lawrence and later at Plymouth, where he remained about a year, and in the fall of 1870 homesteaded a farm 4½ miles north of where Halstead now stands, in Harvey County. This was at a time when the buffalo furnished the only meat of the settlers. He was one of the pioneer element of this county and developed his quarter section into a rich and prosperous farm. In 1890 he left the farm and moved to Halstead, where he resumed his trade of wagon making, though still keeping his country property. He died at Halstead April 23, 1899. He was a member of the Quaker Church, in which he was reared as a birthright member, and was a very strong and active supporter of the republican party. On November 21, 1856, John W. Smith married Hannah Little. She was born in North Carolina November 20, 1837, and died at Halstead, Kansas, April 4, 1912. They had a large family of children, a brief record of whom is as follows: Phoebe Luna, who died in Garden Township of Harvey County, Kansas, in 1881, was the first wife of A. Petrie, who is now a fruit grower living at Bay Lake, Florida; Eunice Melvina, first married Ed Marquis and is the second wife of Mr. A. Petrie, just mentioned; Nancy Jane married S. E. Livingood, who had charge of an oil distributing station at Independence, Kansas; David A. had been a farmer and is now employed in general work at Halstead, Kansas; James Albert is in a hardware store at Halstead; Charles A. is the sixth in age; Anna May married W. F. Miller, both deceased, their home having been at Hutchinson, Kansas, where Mr. Miller operated a grain elevator; Lillian Gertrude married William Stout, a farmer at Halstead; and Rachel Adella is the wife of H. W. Jewett, a mail carrier living at Halstead.
Charles A. Smith was an infant when brought to Kansas, and his first conscious environment was the rural districts of Harvey County. He attended the rural schools there, and the first one in which he was a student was held in a sod shanty, while the next was hardly a better structure, though it was built of boards. It was the old Henry Walker cabin, and the school was taught by Miss Alice Walker. This school was in District No. 13. At the age of twenty Mr. Smith left his father’s farm and went out to California in 1887, and in and around San Bernardino worked on an artesian irrigating project and also teamed in the mountains. Returning to Halstead in 1888, he was engaged in the photograph business for ten years, and then entered his present line, wholesale produce, eggs and feed. He is a member of the firm Frizzell & Smith, and they are the leading produce dealers in Harvey County. They have a large plant at 221 East First Street in Halstead.
Mr. Smith is also a stockholder in the Bank of Mound Ridge, Kansas, owned his home on West Third Street, where he erected a modern residence in 1911, and had a few hundred acres of farming land in different parts of the state. Mr. Smith is a republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On September 29, 1897, at Halstead, he married Miss Florence Frizzell, daughter of J. R. and Philena (Turner) Frizzell, both of whom live at Halstead. Her father came to Harvey County in 1885, and reference to his career is found on other pages. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two children: Dorothy B., born December 9, 1901, now a sophomore in the Halstead High School; and Marion, born October 27, 1906, who died in infancy.
Mr. Smith’s grandfather was James Smith, who was born in North Carolina in 1804. He married Hannah Allen, also a native of North Carolina, born 1803. They moved with their family to Randolph County, Indiana, and both of them died there, James Smith in 1866.