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John W. Smart

4 March 1903

Source:  Burnet Bulletin, 12 March 1903
transcribed by JoAnn Myers, October 2005

John W. Smart died at his home in Burnet on Wednesday morning,  March 4th, 1903, at 1:30 o'clock.

He had gotten well of a spell of catarrhal fever, and had been convalescent for several days.  The day before he died that night, he was up and around, feeling better than for several days.  At half-past 11 o'clock Tuesday night he had occasion to get up and was suddenly seized with heart trouble and died in a short time.  His death was very unexpected.

He knew the end had come and bade his family good-bye and gave them good advice.  His words were, "Death: one and all goodbye," in clear, calm tones.  His mind was unclouded and active to the last.  Two or three minutes after his heart ceased to beat and he ceased to breathe, his mind was still active and he responded to the calls of his family.  I have witnessed many deaths, but this was the brightest, clearest mind I ever witnessed at the end.  He claimed it was paralysis of the lungs with general exhaustion.

J. W. Smart was born in Wright county, Mo., April 2, 1838.  He came to Texas with his father in 1851.  Joined the Christian Church in 1860, and was baptized in the Old Soldier Hole near Burnet.  He lived with his father on a farm until grown, and from the earliest days of childhood, he was an obedient, dutiful, religious child, and was unusually thoughtful of his father's wishes.  He grew rapidly and uninterruptedly in usefulness and the favor of men.

From the farm, he ran the Brizendine Mills in Williamson county in 1861.  Then he ran a tan yard for his father and Tom Reden, and did government work making shoes for same.  He followed this for over a year, then entered the Southern Army as a private, and was made Orderly Seargeant and served to the end of the war.

At the close of the war he went home to the farm.  Harvest fields were ripe.  He went right into it and after getting through in good shape, bought and ran the Cedar Mills.  From Cedar Mills he went to Florence, where he bought and conducted a drug store for several years, and then sold it, going into the general merchandise business, which he followed for several years.  He finally sold out and went to Lampasas, putting up a large hotel, and the poor, sick and afflicted he gathered in and took care of without a cent of pay.  He never turned any one away from his door because they had no money. As long as he had a dollar, he cheerfully gave to the needy.

From Lampasas he came to Burnet and built the mills here.  He joined the Mt. Horeb Masonic Lodge in early life and was an active member for some time, and became a Master Mason, but never could bear to attend lodge after the death of his father.  It will be remembered that his father was blown to pieces here in Burnet by the explosion of the mill boiler.

J. W. Smart rebuilt the mill here and ran it till he paid all of his father's debts, which he was as exact to pay as his own.  He idolized his father and his word was law and gospel with him.

On January 30th 1861, J. W. Smart married Miss C. Canby, a woman of like spirit and activity, who contributed her real share to his usefulness and achievements.  She was a daughter of Dr. Canby of Missouri and a niece of General Canby, who was murdered by the Indians while making a treaty with them in 1873.  Of this union, ten children were born.  Three died in infancy.  Seven are still living.  All are grown; four daughters and three sons.  All are married except the two young boys.  [Related article about daughter, Mrs. Swinney]

J. W. Smart was successful in whatever business he undertook.  He won success by patient effort and faithful attention to duty.

He made two or three fortunes and cheerfully gave them away in helping the poor and needy, and died a poor man in this world's goods, but rich in good deeds.  J. W. Smart had a magnanimous mind.  He was radical in his views and vigorously presented them.  He was convincing as well as entertaining.  What he believed in he insisted upon with all his energy, and he certainly did dislike hypocrisy.

(poem at end)
[contributed to the newspaper by] -- A Friend

John W. Smart photo and CSA grave marker

For more info about J. W. Smart and family, see
Burnet County History, Vol II, page 289

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