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 Grayson County TXGenWeb

Erwin Jesse Smith
1866 – 1925

ERWIN J. SMITH, engaged in the practice of law in Denison, was born in Celina, Tennessee, on the 27th of November, 1866, a son of Nathaniel and Belle (Langford) Smith. The father, a native of Kentucky, came to Texas after the Civil War and located in Grayson County, where he has since followed farming. He was an advocate of the Confederate cause and with Morgan's brigade took part in the war as captain of his company. His wife is a native of Tennessee. In their family were three children, of whom two are living: [one is] Buena, the wife of John S. Perrin, of Oklahoma City. She has two children, a son and a daughter.

Erwin J. Smith was a very young lad when brought by his parents to Texas, and his early education was acquired at Martin Springs, Grayson County, a small settlement twelve miles northwest of Denison. Later he attended Austin College at Sherman, Texas, and subsequently spent one year as a student in the college at Lexington, Kentucky, after which he entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, being graduated from this institution in June 1888. He was admitted to the bar in September 1890, after careful preparatory study, and entered upon the practice of his profession in Denison, where he has since remained.

He is regarded as one of the leading young lawyers of the city, to whom there has been and is accorded a large and distinctively representative clientage. His logical grasp of facts and of law applicable to them, as well as his untiring industry and familiarity with legal principles, have been some of the most potent elements in his success. In the argument of a case he exhibits a remarkable clearness of expression and adequate and precise diction, which enables him to make others understand, not only the salient points of his argument, but also to clearly understand the very fine analytical distinctions which differentiate one legal principle from another.

In August 1889, in San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Nannie Wier, a native of that city and a daughter of Henry Wier. She was reared, however, in the family of William Aubrey, a prominent citizen of San Antonio, he having married her mother. They have two children, both of whom were born in Denison: Erwin W. and William A., aged respectively fifteen and twelve years. The wife and mother was called to her final rest on July 22, 1894. Mr. Smith was again married in Denison in July 1905, to Miss Claire L. Person, daughter of Colonel A. B. Person, one of the old lawyers here, she being practically reared in this city.

Mr. Smith exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Democracy. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias fraternity and also has membership relations with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Woodmen of the World. His views upon questions of public policy are very pronounced, and his influence may always be counted upon in behalf of good government and the advancement of the interests of the whole people.

B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, p. 633.

E. J. Smith is announced in this issue of the Gazetteer as a candidate for City Attorney. Mr. Smith received a petition from a large number of our citizens, bearing the signatures of men in all walks of life, workingmen, merchants and professional men, urging him to submit his name to the voters of the city for this important official position. They set forth in the petition the importance of the best ability being secured for administering the business affairs of the city, backed by an attorney of large experience which will enable him to represent the city successfully in the most difficult cases without the assistance of additional counsel. They declare their confidence in Mr. Smith's ability, integrity, and honesty, and pledge him if he should offer as a candidate their earnest support, and to use all honorable means to secure his election.

Mr. Smith grew up among us, read law with some of the best attorneys in the county, passed a creditable examination at an early age and has been a practitioner for about fifteen years in both the civil and criminal courts, and earned an enviable record as a successful advocate. His ability to fill the position he has been urged to accept by so many of our citizens, is not questioned.

[Source: Denison TX Sunday Gazetteer, February 18, 1906]

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