|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
(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