Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.] p. 649-651 transcribed by Greg Tummons, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, on December 1, 2000.

William S. Smith

WILLIAM S. SMITH. - There is no better known figure in Rosedale than its street commissioner, William S. Smith, who has been identified with the history of the town for almost three decades. He has had a variety of experiences, and whether as farmer, as herdsman, as quarry man, as employe of the railroad, or as public officer, in all of which connections he has been engaged - he has been eminently successful. Possibly the man who decides on a certain business or profession when he first starts out in life and devotes himself to that and that alone, may make more money than the one who has turned his attention to different lines, but the former misses a great deal of valuable experience which the man who has tried and made a success of different lines, has gathered. Mr. Smith is an instance of this fact as a brief survey of his life will show.

William S. Smith is a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, where his birth occurred May 21, 1855. He is the son of Charles Smith and Ann (Sangster) Smith, both natives of the land of the kilt and the bagpipe. Charles Smith was educated in the schools of Aberdeen and as a young man followed the occupation of farming. Neither he nor his wife ever came to America, but he died in the town he had so long called his own, while Mrs. Smith is still a resident of that same town. They were the parents of nine children, of whom William S. is the first in order of birth.

The subject of this sketch spent the first few years of his life in the historic city of Aberdeen, but before he was of an age to attend school, his parents moved to Huntle, and there he received his early educational discipline in the public schools of the town. After he had completed his school course, he gained employment on a farm, but he was not satisfied with the agricultural conditions in Scotland, or rather with the wages that were paid for farm work, and he made up his mind that he would come to America. In 1883, when he was twenty-eight years old, he severed the ties which bound him to his old home in the midst of the hills, and emigrated for America, coming direct to Kansas of whose agricultural resources he had heard in Scotland. He first went to Mankato, Kansas, then to Linwood, the same state, where he took care of a herd of Scotch cattle and one year later he bought some property in Rosedale, which he still owns. He took up his residence in Rosedale in 1884, built his own home, which he has maintained ever since that time, but subsequently gave up his agricultural pursuits and for a number of years worked in the stone quarry, in the capacity of foreman. Then was employed by the railroad company as car repairer, and continued in this line of work until the month of October, 1907, when he was elected to the office of street commissioner of Rosedale. So excellent was his work during the term of office, that he has three times been re-appointed to succeed himself, and is now serving his fourth term.

Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth K. Baird, a young lady of St. Louis where the marriage occurred. She was born in Scotland, her parents, James and Mary (Thompson) Baird, being natives of Scotland, where they lived and died. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have the following children: James Bruce, John Baird, Alexander Thompson and William McKenzie. James, the eldest boy, was named after his maternal grandfather; John, the second boy received his mother's maiden name; the third boy was given the maiden name of his great-grandmother, while the fourth boy was named after his father. There had been another William, who died when he was only two and a half years old, and little Mary, the only girl in the family, was called to blossom in another sphere when she was three years and a half old. She is buried in Junction cemetery, and with her is buried a part of the affections and hopes of her father and mother, who had watched the little flower as it budded from babyhood to childhood and then was removed from their tender watchfulness.

Mr. Smith is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and has passed all the chairs in the Blue Lodge of the Masonic fraternal order, having been initiated in Scotland. He was at one time a member of the Railroad Carmen's Union, but he has not kept up that connection. For the past seven years he has been a member of the school board and still holds office with that body. It is needless to say that his advice and council on that board has been of the most progressive character, for the fact that he is retained year after year is sufficient indication of his efficiency. The Scotch people are thorough in whatever they undertake, a characteristic which Mr. Smith possesses in a very large degree, and that is probably the reason that he has been so successful in Rosedale.

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