Levi Smith
Levi Smith

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

LEVI SMITH was born in the town of Richford, Franklin Co., Vt., in the year 1823. At the tender age of eight he went to live among his relatives, by reason of the death of his mother and the breaking up of the family. Consequently he early began the struggle of life for himself, and, unaided pecuniarily, resolved to obtain an education, which he finally accomplished during his minority by working on the farm for some part of the year and attending school the remainder of the time. At the age of sixteen, having had the advantages of the grammar school for one term, he was a teacher the following winter. In the spring of 1840 he obtained a clerkship in a wholesale drygoods house in Boston, where he remained one year, and then entered the academy at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., where he remained until 1845. In the mean time he had become a law student in the office of Hon. William A. Dart, of that place, and in the winter season taught school as a means of supplying funds to further studies.

Mr. Smith is not an exceptional case among professional men, who, surrounded by difficulties on every hand, have obtained their education and laid the foundation for their future success by their of perseverance and indomitable will to carve out fortune and place for themselves.

In 1845 he became a clerk in the law office of the late Job Pierson of Troy, and in 1846 was admitted to the bar, forming a partnership with Mr. Pierson for the practice of the law, which continued until 1851 under the firm name of "Pierson & Smith." In 1851 the Hon. William A. Beach, now of the city of New York, joined the firm and its name was changed to "Pierson, Beach & Smith."

After a few years, Mr. Pierson withdrew from the firm, leaving the name "Beach & Smith," which firm continued until December, 1870, when Mr. Beach withdrew from it and removed to the city of New York.

Mr. Smith then associated with him as partners Edgar L. Fursman, Esck Cowen, and Charles D. Kellum, Esqs.., under the firm name of "Smith, Fursman & Cowen," which still continues. For over thirty years these various firms, of which Mr. Smith has been a member, have been known not only for the wide extent of their practice, but as composed of individual membership ranking among the first as advocate and counselor.

Mr. Smith is among the most genial and companionable of men. In the city of his residence there can be found no one with a larger or more devoted circle of friends. Possessing broad and enlightened views of the duties and responsibilities office, he has always been found among the readiest to advocate and support public enterprises, and to aid with his counsel and from his means deserving public and private charities. For his wise counsels, his known integrity, and his unwavering fidelity to every trust confided to him, he is deservedly held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens, both as a lawyer and a man.

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