Biography of Thomas P. Smith
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Thomas P. Smith was born in Clinton County, New York, in 1861, and died in Muskogee, Okla., on October 4, 1917. He attended the village school of Clinton until he was twelve years of age, when his family moved to Plattsburg, N. Y., where he entered the public schools. Graduating from the high school, he became associated in the mercantile business with his two brothers, M. A. and M. J. Smith. In 1884 he was made deputy postmaster at Plattsburg, which place he held until 1887, when he was appointed chief clerk at the San Carlos Indian Agency in Arizona. In 1888 he came to Indian Territory as agent for the Osage and Kaw with headquarters at Pawhuska. Mr. Smith camped on the sod in Guthrie, with the other pioneers, at the great opening in 1889. Removing to Muskogee, he associated himself with the Turner Hardware Company.
In 1893 he was appointed United States Indian inspector and in 1894 he was made assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington. While in Washington on November 27, 1895, he was married to Belle Granger of Zanesville, Ohio. Three children were born of this union, Lawrence Granger Smith, who graduated from West Point in 1920, now serving with the Fourteenth U. S. Cavalry; two daughters, Emily E. Smith and Annabel G. Smith, both of Muskogee. Mr. Smith remained in Washington during the Cleveland administration and through six months of the Harrison administration. When he was relieved he was sent to San Francisco, Calif., on government business, but he soon re-signed to be secretary of the Pacific Coast Hardware & Metal Association, a strong organization formed for the purpose of adjusting differences between the dealers and transportation companies, including in its membership all the leading, influential firms from Seattle to Los Angeles. Mr. Smith performed this difficult task with much skill.
But the call of Oklahoma was always uppermost in his heart and mind, so in 1892 he resigned to return to Muskogee where for many years he was prominently identified with leading business interests and contributed largely toward building up this Queen City of the West. He organized the Chamber of Commerce and was its President for many years. He served two terms as mayor of Muskogee and founded the traffic department of the city. He was a past Exalted Ruler of Muskogee Lodge, B. P. O. E., past District Deputy for Indian Territory and was the first President of the Oklahoma State Elks’ Association. He was one of the charter members of the Town and Country Club. He was secretary of state under Governor C. N. Haskell. The most laudable things that can be said of Thomas P. Smith are that he was p devoted husband and father; his greatest pride and joy being in his home and family life. He was a true and loyal friend.
The glory of having well served his city, his state and his nation belonged to him. To him such service was a duty and a pleasure, for it was not in his temperament to shirk. Years spent in public service made him one of Muskogee’s most valued citizens, and he died with the knowledge that he had more than done his bit to make Muskogee a real city among cities.