Page 856-857, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Thomas Smiley, a prominent pioneer and well known merchant of Rock Creek township, is one of the founders of Smileyberg, where his store is located. This town was established by Thomas Smiley and Barney Berg, and thus the name Smileyberg. In 1904 Barney Berg bought eighty acres of land on the northeast corner of section 21, and here established a blacksmith shop. In 1908 Thomas Smiley came from Augusta and erected a small store building, 16x20 feet, on this corner, and put in a small stock of groceries and dry goods. The following fall he built an addition to his store and also increased his stock of goods.


Mr. Smiley started in business here with the policy of reasonable prices and fair dealing, and the rapidity of the growth of the business was beyond his greatest expectations. The volume of business done at this store compares favorably with the business of the leading stores of Douglass or Augusta.

Thomas Smiley was born in Canada on the banks of the St. Lawrence river, seven miles from the New York State line, in 1867. He is a son of James and Martha (Paul) Smiley, both natives of Glasgow, Scotland. James Smiley and family went to Canada in 1828 and located in the vicinity of Montreal. They were the parents of six children, of whom Thomas, the subject of this sketch, is the youngest. In 1866 Mr. Smiley left Canada and migrated to Indiana, where he and his brother were engaged as contractors, furnishing wood to the railroads for locomotive fuel, and also ties. They were principally engaged in supplying the Wabash railroad with these materials. They were very successful in their undertakings, and were of the progressive type of business men. They built a saw mill near Logansport, Ind., which they later sold and removed to Kokomo, Ind., where Mr. Smiley had charge of a lumber yard for several years.

Mr. Smiley was married to Miss Martha Church, a native of North Carolina, and to this union three children were born, all of whom died in infancy. From Kokomo, Ind., Mr. Smiley and his wife came to Kansas, first locating at White Cloud. After remaining there about three years they came to Augusta, and later followed farming on the present site of Rose Hill for about four years. This was about the time of the Wichita boom. Mr. Smiley became interested heavily in Wichita real estate, and when the collapse came in real estate he collapsed also, financially, and lost considerable money. He then went to Augusta and entered the employ of Sisco Brothers and sold merchandise for them throughout the country. He drove a wagon and covered a broad scope of territory; he made money for his employers and friends for himself. He formed a wide acquaintance and built up a reputation for honesty and integrity, which was an important asset when he started in business for himself, and many of his customers today are people who traded with him twenty-two years ago when he drove for Sisco Brothers. Mrs. Smiley died in 1893, and Mr. Smiley has never remarried. He is a substantial citizen and is a Republican.

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