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Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd. ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 587-588.

CHARLES BENNETT SMITH, only son of William G. Smith, a pioneer of DuPage County, this State, is one of the most successful business men of Wheaton. He was born in Whitehall, N. Y., April 6, 1853, and was brought to Illinois when an infant. He attended the public schools at Warrenville and Wheaton, and was a student of Wheaton College two years. At the age of seventeen, he began learning the railroad station business at Elmhurst, and soon found employment in the station at Wheaton, becoming a skillful telegraph operator. In the spring of 1872 he was made agent for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway and the American Express Company at Westside, Crawford County, Iowa, and filled that position eight years. He then took charge of the station at Carroll, an important division point on the Northwestern system, for three years. At the end of that time, at his request, he was transferred to the charge of Wheaton Station, being at the time the oldest agent in point of service on the Northwestern line west of Boone. Mr. Smith was determined to improve his opportunities, and soon after locating at Wheaton, he opened a real-estate and insurance office, in which he transacted a large amount of business. He is one of those who are responsible for the incorporation of the city, and for the modern improvements which make it a desirable place of residence. He served four years as City Clerk, but has never been a seeker after political preferment. He is keenly alive to business opportunities, and is quite content to let others handle the reins of government. He is a stockholder in the company which supplies the city with electric light, and during the Columbian Exposition was Vice-President of the Epworth Hotel Restaurant Company, an organization which built and operated a successful hotel near the Fair grounds.

In 1890 Mr. Smith was appointed Assistant Claim Agent of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, a position that he has acceptably filled since. With no influence to push him, save his own energy and ability, he has attained a responsible position with an extensive corporation at an age when many are still apprentices. Mr. Smith is an active and enthusiastic Republican, and carries an influence in local political affairs. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and of several fraternal orders.

On the 30th of December, 1875, Mr. Smith was married to his childhood's playmate and schoolmate, Laura Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Jude P. Gary, a pioneer of DuPage County. Mrs. Smith was born in Winfield Township, and is a valuable member of Wheaton society. To the aged parents of Mr. Smith she is like one born to them, and in every relation of life is the worthy helpmate of a popular citizen. Mrs. Smith has been throughout her adult life one of the most faithful and efficient members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been for many years the leading soprano singer in the choir of the Wheaton Church. Two children have been given to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, namely, Laura Eoleen and Winifred Alice.

In 1892 Mr. Smith built the fine residence which he occupies at the southwest corner of West Street and Washington Avenue. It is the seat of quiet elegance and refined hospitality.


– Submitted by Sherri Hessick on May 27, 2007.


DISCLAIMER:  The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.