Alexander County

Biography - James Smith

JAMES R. SMITH, merchant, Cairo Ill., of the firm of Smith Brothers, on Washington avenue, was born in the Dominion of Canada on the 3d day of August, 1854. His father, George Smith, who died in Cairo October 24, 1864, was born in England, in 1809, where he was married to Annie Groves, who died, leaving a family of six children. George Smith, with his children, emigrated to Canada about 1839 or 1840, and was there married to Catherine Turner, and to these parents were born seven children: Cyrus Smith, now of Denver, Col.; Arthur W. Smith, deceased by drowning; James E. and Egbert A. Smith, of Cairo; beside whom there were three daughters — Clara, Mary E. and Carrie F. Smith. The two older are deceased, and the latter of Cairo, Ill. This family came to Cairo in 1859, and the father, the year following, engaged in the mercantile business which he continued with varied success until his death, after which a son by first marriage, William H. Smith, continued the business until 1869, when it was closed out. The mother having married Mr. Lewis Lincoln, of Carbondale, the family removed to the latter town in 1869. In the fall of 1870, the members of the present firm of Smith Brothers returned to Cairo, and in 1872, having less than $100, laid the foundation of their immense business by opening a small store, fronting on Poplar street, which is now a portion of their business house. Owing to their business energy and ability, their success has been very marked, and they now occupy a store room over forty feet in width, and extending from Poplar street to Washington avenue, in which they employ a large number of regular salesmen, and in addition to their extensive stock of merchandise, they own a large quantity of valuable city real estate. James R. Smith, the senior partner, was married in Milan, Tenn., on the 8th of January, 1882, to Miss Emma McDonald, who was born in Tennessee April 21, 1862. They have one child, James A., born in Milan, Tenn., October 6, 1882. They are members of the Episcopalian Church, and Mr. Smith is a member of the Knights of Honor, and of the American Legion of Honor. Egbert A. Smith, junior partner of the firm of Smith Bros., was born in Canada June 18, 1856. He is a man of pronounced business ability and sober habits, enjoying the confidence of an extensive circle of friends, and is now representing the Third Ward in the City Council for the second term. He is a member of the A. L. of H. Too much credit cannot be given to these sterling young men for their enterprise and material aid rendered to the city of Cairo. They have bravely fought for success, which has been won fairly and honorably, and their experience affords a valuable example to other young men, proving what may be achieved in a few years, by persistent and honest industry.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, page 44.

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