Biography of William H. Smith

Meet William H. Smith, Newark’s own embodiment of the American dream, born to Irish immigrants in 1858. Rising from his educational roots to president of the P. Smith Sons Lumber Company, William has been pivotal in fostering both his family’s legacy and Newark’s prosperity. His leadership extended beyond the lumber industry, influencing local commerce and community welfare as president of the Board of Trade. Married twice, with a legacy of children continuing his industrious path, William’s life story intertwines personal triumphs with his unwavering commitment to Newark’s development, marking him a respected figure in both business and civic circles.

William H. Smith is the president of the P. Smith Sons Lumber Company and is connected with various other business enterprises of benefit to the city. He belongs to that class of representative American men who, in promoting individual success, have also contributed in large measure to the general prosperity. One of Newark’s native sons, he was born October 9, 1858, his parents being Patrick and Rose Ann (McDonald) Smith, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The father came to the United States about 1844 when a young man and about a decade later took up his abode in Newark, coming down the old Ohio canal from Cleveland. He was married in this city, his wife having previously come from Ireland when she was sixteen years of age, locating first in Newark, New Jersey, after which she moved to Newark, Ohio. Patrick Smith worked on the railroad between Newark and Sandusky and during the period of its construction was made foreman. He later became road master and so served until after the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1865 or 1866, he established himself in the lumber business, organizing the present lumber interests now conducted under the name of the P. Smith Sons Lumber Company. This is today one of the oldest business enterprises of the city and from the beginning success has attended the efforts of those in charge. In 1878 the firm name was changed to P. Smith & Son on the admission of William H. Smith to a partnership, and in 1896, following the father’s death, the business was incorporated as the P. Smith Sons Lumber Company. As the years passed by, the trade gradually increased and Patrick Smith became one of the prosperous residents of his adopted city. He was moreover recognized as a man of sterling worth and marked force of character and was frequently called to positions of public honor and trust. He held the office of city councilman for several years and was township trustee for a number of years. He likewise acted as a director of the Children’s Home for some years and at all times was interested in everything pertaining to the welfare and progress of the community. He gave his political support to the democracy until the year of the Blaine campaign—1884—when he allied himself with the Republican Party and was afterward a staunch advocate of its principles. He held membership in the Catholic Church and was a man of high moral worth, who never hesitated to express his convictions and stood fearlessly in support of what he believed to be right. He died in 1894, and the community mourned the loss of one whom it had come to know and respect as a man and citizen of genuine worth. His widow still survives and resides with her daughters, Fannie and Ollie, in this city.

William H. Smith spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents’ home and obtained his early education in the public and parochial schools of Newark, while later he attended the De La Salle Institute in Toronto, Canada. Following his return to Newark, he entered his father’s office and soon afterward was admitted to the business as a partner. This is today one of the oldest lumber yards of the city, and an extensive patronage is enjoyed, owing to the straightforward business policy which has ever been followed and the enterprising methods which have characterized the conduct of the undertaking. Mr. Smith is moreover a stockholder and director in the Newark Trust Company and a stockholder and director of the Hanover Pressed Brick Company, of which he is also the vice president. He is also president of a retail lumber yard in Columbus and is interested in several tracts of timberland and two sawmills in Tennessee. He has been president of the Board of Trade of Newark for a number of years and is justly accounted one of the leading business men of the city. During his administration as president of the Board of Trade, he infused new life into Newark, doing most effective work in securing the establishment of industries here and in promoting the growth and development of the city along various lines.

In 1880, the marriage of Mr. Smith and Miss Margaret Radigan of Newark occurred. They became the parents of two children, of whom one is now living, Emmett, who is in the office with his father. The wife and mother died about 1888, and ten years later, Mr. Smith wedded Miss Estella Brennan of Newark. Unto this marriage have been born four children: Gerald A., Mary E., Norbert W., and Martha Grace.

Mr. Smith belongs to Newark Lodge, No. 391, B.P.O.E., and is also connected with the Catholic Order of Foresters and with the Catholic Church. He is independent in politics but is never remiss in the duties of citizenship, giving hearty and helpful cooperation to every movement that is calculated to benefit the city along lines of substantial and material improvement. He today occupies a prominent place in commercial and financial circles and is honored and respected by all, not alone because of the prosperity which he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward methods he has ever followed in all of his business connections.


Brister, Edwin M. P. Centennial History of the City of Newark and Licking County, Ohio, 2 vols. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1909.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top