HISTORY OF

SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

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LEWIS E. SMITH.

 

Portrait of L.E. Smith

Residence of L.E. Smith

 

Samuel Smith, the grandfather of the subject of this notice, originally came from the State of Connecticut, and settled on the east line of Ballston before the Revolutionary war, where he remained until his death. Lewis Smith, his father, was born Jan. 15, 1786, at Ballston, but afterwards removed to Stillwater, in which town he has continued to reside, living at the present time in Mechanicville, on the Half-Moon side. He has always been a farmer, leading an active, out-door life, and is alive to-day at the mature age of ninety-two years, and so far possessed of health and strength as to be able to saw wood, work in his garden, and perform other similar labor. He was never specially interested in political affairs, and is a member of no particular church. His mother's name was Azuba Garnsey. She died in December, 1877, in her ninetieth year. She and her husband had lived together for sixty-nine years, having married Jan. 25, 1809; and at their death their combined ages made one hundred and eighty-one years. They had two daughters and five sons, viz., Esther, Silas G., Lewis E., Daniel G., Isaac M., Elizabeth M., and Charles, of whom the last three are dead, the remainder living in the neighborhood of their father's home.

Lewis E. Smith was born Dec. 23, 1815, in the town of Stillwater. He has always resided either in Stillwater, Half-Moon, or Mechanicville. He received an academic education at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he went in 1835 and remained three years. On Nov. 6, 1839, he married Phebe E. Peters, daughter of William Peters, of Clifton Park, and took up his residence at Half-Moon, where he farmed until the spring of 1852. In the fall of 1851 he took stock in the American Linen Thread Company, located at Mechanicville, and the only patent linen thread company then or now in America. He took charge of this business in April, 1853, and has had full charge of it ever since. This company manufactures all kinds of sewing and machine threads, finding a market entirely in this country. They employ about one hundred and fifty people, and are doing a thriving business. Mr. Smith has had three children - Daniel L., Josephine A., and Elizabeth G., - of whom are married and live in the vicinity of their old home.

Lewis E. Smith was formerly closely identified with the interests of the national guard of this State. In 1839, Governor William H. Seward appointed him quartermaster of the 144th Regiment, old State militia. In 1843 he was appointed major inspector of the Fifth Brigade of Infantry by Governor William C. Bouck, an office which he continued to fill until the militia was abolished. In 1861 he was named by Congress, with Generals Hooker, Wadsworth, and nine others, as suitable persons for brigadier-generals from New York; but he did not accept the position because of ill health.

In political affiliation, Mr. Smith was formerly a Democrat; but he was never a seeker after office. In 1843 he was elected a justice of the peace, and served as such for five years. After the firing on Fort Sumter he was a delegate to the convention held at Syracuse to nominate State officers without regard to party. From that time he identified himself with the Republican party, and was a firm supporter of the war.

In 1872, Mr. Smith was chosen president of the village of Mechanicville, and has been elected every year since, most of the time without opposition. Many improvements have been made under his administration: brick sidewalks have been laid down, an engine-house built, a good fire-engine purchased, and other measures taken to make Mechanicville one of the most attractive and beautiful villages in the State.

In 1877, Mr. Smith and his estimable wife made an extensive tour through Europe. He has been repeatedly urged to accept the position of commissioner to the Paris Exposition, but has firmly declined. He is an attendant upon the services of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Smith was sixty-three years of age in December, 1877, and bids fair to be spared for a long time to his family and to the community, for the material growth and advancement of which he has done so much.

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Transcribed from the original text and html prepared by Bill Carr, last updated 2/7/00.

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