The demise of J. W. Smith, which occurred at Dewey on the 27th of October, 1921, when he was sixty-seven years of age, removed from the scene of life’s activities a man who was straight-forward and reliable in business, progressive and loyal in citizenship and true to the ties of home and friendship. He was born at Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania, August 18, 1854, and two of his brothers, John and Will, are still living in that state, while another brother, Wesley, a veteran of the Civil war, is residing in Iowa.
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In 1907 Mr. Smith came to Oklahoma, establishing his home in Dewey, where he remained until 1913, when he went to the Cushing oil fields and from there to the oil fields of Kansas. In 1917 he made his way to Ranger, Texas, where he engaged in the business of oil drilling, and he also became field manager in that state for a large oil company, continuing to act in that capacity until failing health obliged him to return to his family, then living at Wichita, Kansas. During her husband’s absence Mrs. Smith had successfully conducted a large modern rooming house in that city for both transient and regular guests, her establishment containing forty-two rooms. Thinking that a warmer climate might prove beneficial, Mrs. Smith advised her husband to return to Dewey and here he passed away ten months after undergoing an operation. Mrs. Smith did everything within her power to prolong the life of her husband, distracting his mind as much as possible from his illness and never allowing him to know its serious nature. She was a devoted wife and mother and an able helpmate and Mr. Smith’s death was not only felt deeply by his family but also by an extensive circle of friends.
On the 18th of August, 1883, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sarah McMillan, a daughter of John and Jane (Griffith) McMillan, the former born in the north of Ireland and the latter a native of Alton, Pennsylvania. Two children were born of this union: Hazel, the wife of Earl Phoenix, who is engaged in the oil business in California; and Ralph, who married and has one child, R. L., now living with Mrs. Smith in her beautiful home on Ponca avenue, in Dewey, while a sister, Mrs. Mary Willings of Monessen, Pennsylvania, also resides with her.
Mr. Smith was thoroughly familiar with every phase of the oil industry and was a man of marked enterprise and strict integrity, whose efforts were concentrated upon his chosen line of activity. Devotion to duty was one of his marked characteristics and his many sterling traits of character won for him the unqualified respect and esteem of all with whom he was associated.