|Other People | Frank J. Bradley | Olive Rambo Cook | Jerry Litton ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
The life of G. A. Smith has been so varied in its activities, so honorable in its purposes and so far reaching and beneficial in its effects that it has become an integral part of the educational history of Chillicothe and has left its impress also upon the annals of school development in the state, for he was prominent and well known as an educator for many years, although he has been living retired since August, 1910. He was born in Claiborne county, Tennessee, near Cumberland Gap, December 6. 1849, and is a son of John W. and Lucinda (Ford) Smith, the former for many years a prominent farmer in Tennessee and Missouri. The father served as a member of the Home Guard of Missouri during the Civil war and was afterward well known in democratic politics. He resides at present at Nevada, Missouri, and has reached the advanced age of eighty-four. He has survived his wife since 1905, her death having occurred when she was seventy-six years of age. They were the parents of twelve children, two of whom died in infancy. The paternal line is of old English origin and the grandfather of our subject, George Ford, could trace his ancestry back to distinguished members of the English nobility. His wife was of Pennsylvania Dutch extraction.
G. A. Smith acquired his early education in the public schools of Kentucky and Missouri and later attended the Cainsville high school and Princeton College. He was graduated from the Kirksville State Nomal School in 1879 and in the same year became identified with school affairs as superintendent of the Kirksville public schools and thus began a career in educational work which was destined to bring him prominence and many honors, After serving two years in his first position he went to Trenton as superintendent of the public schools in that city and there spent a similar period of time, after which he came to Humphreys and identified himself with general educational interests. He it was who founded Humphreys College and he remained as its president for seven years, during which time he did able and effective administrative work, controlling the destinies of the institution at the most critical period of its existence. He also acted at this time as county school commissioner of Sullivan county. When he resigned his position as president of Humphreys College he was appointed the first teacher of the Chillicothe Normal School and he held that position for ten years, resigning then, and soon afterward becoming superintendent of the public schools of the city. After three years he was made vice president of Maupins College in Chillicothe but after one year of able service resigned in order to live retired. Throughout his entire life he has been a student and a thinker and has carried his researches and investigations far into the realms of general knowledge, gaining for himself a high place in intellectual circles of Chillicothe and a position of prominence among the educators of the state. While he possesses a strong intellectual force which carried him forward into important relations with school interests, he has also displayed the qualities of a successful business man and since his retirement has engaged in the cultivation of one hundred and twenty acres of orchard land and in the breeding and raising of high-grade cattle and hogs. He is besides extensively interested in horticulture and is connected with financial interests of the community as a director in the Bank of Chillicothe.
Mr. Smith was married at Trenton, Missouri, November 9, 1882, to Miss Mary E. Norton, a daughter of James B. and Tenths(Davis) Norton, the former a prominent farmer and a minister of the Baptist , well known in both capacities throughout Mercer and Grundy counties. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of four children: Georgia B., the wife of Frank R. Olsen, a carpenter and contractor in Ferguson, Missouri; Winnifred Olga, a student in the senior class of the Chillicothe high school; and Eunice and Gladys, twins, both members of the junior class in the same institution. Mr. Smith has a beautiful home in which he and his family reside in Chillicothe and in addition erected four other dwellings in the various parts of the state to which his duties called him. He has attained a position of honor in the Masonic order, holding membership in the lodge, chapter, council and commandery. He is district deputy grand master and district deputy lecturer of the twelfth Masonic district and has been five times master of his lodge. He is, besides, principal sojourner of Lone Star Chapter, No. 30, R. A. M., and is prelate of Paschal Commandery, No. 32, K. T. He is past Worthy patron of Chillicothe Chapter, No. 113, O. K. S. He is well known also in the affairs of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being a member of the subordinate lodge and encampment. He is a devout adherent of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Mr. Smith holds the degrees of Master of Arts, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Philosophy, these honors indicating something of the degree of his intellectual attainment and the extent of his scholarly research. Although he now lives retired, in spirit and interests he is yet in his prime and a force in the educational circles of his city and state.