Pages 296-297, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




BERGEN S. SMITH, one of the prosperous business men of Humboldt, was born in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, July 27, 1857. His father, Zachariah Smith, a native of the same state, was a farmer, until ill health compelled him to abandon the farm. He accordingly entered the merchant tailoring business, which he followed until his death in 1862. He was married to Miss Lydia A. Johnson, a native of New Jersey, and three children were born to them, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second. After the death of her husband Mrs. Smith was married to Mr. Nical Graham, and is still living.

Early in life our subject started out to face the realities of life. He first learned the printers trade and worked for four years in the office of the Hunterdon County Republican. This business did not offer the opportunity that he wished and, in 1877, he came to Kansas City, Missouri, and after trying in vain to get a position that would aid him in his ambition he accepted a position with Bullene, Moore & Emery, (now Emery, Bird, Thayer & Co.), one of the large department stores of that city. This place he soon left for a better one with G. Y. Smith & Co., and two years later entered the wholesale house of Tootle, Hanna & Company, where he remained for five years. His careful attention to business and his natural aptitude for the work soon gained him the esteem and confidence of his employers and he was advanced rapidly. His work in Kansas City came at a time when real estate was advancing enormously in that city and Mr. Smith took advantage of the opportunity thus offered to invest his savings in that channel. As soon as his investment showed a fair profit he sold, and by this method succeeded in adding materially to his savings. In 1884 he formed a partnership with J. F. Cooper and together they established a clothing store at Cherryvale, Kansas. One year later Mr. Smith purchased the interest of his partner and moved the stock to Humboldt. Here he has built up a business second to none in the southwest. Carrying a large stock, carefully selected, a shrewd and judicious buyer, he has been able to attract trade from territory not strictly tributary to him. The years he spent with the large stores in Kansas City brought him an experience that he has been able to turn to golden account in the conduct of his own business.

Mr. Smith has always been active in all measures taken for the upbuilding of Humboldt and is now a large stock holder in the Humboldt Brick Manufacturing Company. He has always been an active Republi-


can and has taken a warm interest in the success of his party. Personally he has had no desire for office and his business has always occupied his entire time. He has served as Treasurer of the City of Humboldt for several years and is a member of the Knight Templars and other secret societies.

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