Biography of Sebastian Smith



Berrien County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

This gentleman, the son of George Smith, is the third in a family of five children, and was born May 11, 1826, in Redfield, Ken nebec Co., Me., of which town his parents were also natives. When he was thirteen years of age Sebastian Smith went to New Brunswick, where he lived and worked with his uncle, Oliver Smith, until he was twenty four. July 9, 1850, while in the province named, he was married to Miss Harriet, daughter of John and Rebecca Barker, and by her was the father of five children, three of whom are now living. In 1849, before he was married, his uncle died and left him executor of his will. In 1854, after the final settlement of his uncle's business, he came to Michigan, and selected a site for a future home, and sent for his family, which arrived in the fall of 1855. His uncle's affairs were in such a state that he could pay his nephew nothing, and the latter, upon his arrival in Michigan, was the possessor of the very small sum of fifty cents; but he soon found employment at rafting lumber for the firm of Medbury & Aldrich, who had just become proprietors of the Watervliet Mill. He remained in their employ nearly two years. In the fall of 1856 he formed a copartnership with Henry R. Holland, and together they built a saw mill on Mill Creek, and operated it two years, when they dissolved partnership. At that time Mr. Smith had accumulated one hundred dollars in cash, as the result of his extreme labor. The panic of 1857 dealt roughly with him, he only saving one hundred and sixty acres of land (on which was an incumbranee of fifteen hundred dollars), ten thousand feet of lumber, and five bushels of corn (which he never received), and seventy five cents in cash. He again found employment in rafting lumber, and in 1868 built a house on his place which cost sixteen hundred dollars, his father furnishing him with means to pay off the indebtedness upon his land. In 1859 his house was destroyed by fire, but was replaced in ninety days. To this farm he has made numerous additions, and now owns five hundred and thirty two acres, of which two hundred and fifty are improved, sixty being included in an apple orchard. Mr. Smith has been an extensive shipper of fruit; in 1878 one car load of apples one hundred and fifty barrels was shipped from his orchard direct to London. The farm shown in the view accompanying this notice is located on section 14, about two miles from the homestead, and one mile north of the village of Watervliet; it contains one hundred and twenty acres, twenty of which are set to fruit, and twenty more will be utilized in the same way in 1880, when Mr. Smiths entire orchard will contain one hundred acres.

Mr. Smith is a Democrat in politics and belongs to no religious body. Until he was thirteen his years were spent on his father's farm, where he found plenty of hard work and but small opportunity to obtain an education. By perseverance, however, aided by his mental and physical vigor, he became possessed of much practical knowledge, which fitted him for the duties of life in no small degree.

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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