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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
George Leonard Smith

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 627-628 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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George Leonard Smith, manufacturer, stands today among the representative business men of Little Falls, New York, and is prominently identified with not only its business but its civic interests. He was born in Little Falls, New York, on February 12, 1864, his parents being John Henry and Harriet (Boyer) Smith. John Henry Smith was born in Halesworth, England, on April 6, 1832, and died in Little Falls, New York, on January 29, 1905. He came to America with his parents in 1836 and they first settled at Sandy Hill, now Hudson Falls, New York. At the age of twenty years he went to the gold fields of California, but came back in 1859 to see his mother with the intention of returning, but while here met a young woman with whom he fell in love and later married and he abandoned the idea of returning to the Golden State. On February 2, 1860, he came to Little Falls, New York, and entered into partnership with Edward Cadman for the manufacture of wool shoddy, in a mill on East Mill street, and continued the business until the spring of 1863. Later he moved to Watertown, New York, where he manufactured stockings for the government. After the close of the Civil war he moved to Glens Falls, New York, and went into the grocery business with a man by the name of Wright, later coming to Little Falls, New York, and in 1887 built a splendid plant on Moss Island, which site he purchased. The parents of John Henry Smith were James and Mary Ann (Boast) Smith. James Smith was born in Westhall, England, on July 17, 1808, and died on May 18, 1890, at the age of eighty-three. In early life he was a sailor but after coming to America worked in the Allen Brothers paper mill at Hudson Falls, New York. His wife was born in England, on November 12, 1809, and died in Little Falls, New York, on February 28, 1891. Harriet (Boyer) Smith, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in Little Falls, New York, on December 13, 1844, and died at that place on November 10, 1891. She was the daughter of Colonel Leonard and Nancy (Wiswell) Boyer. Colonel Boyer was a mason and contractor and organized the One Hundred and Fifty-Second Regiment, New York State Volunteers, of which he was colonel. He died in Little Falls, New York, on March 9, 1892. His wife was born in the town of Manheim, New York, on November 1, 1822, and died on June 24, 1903, in Little Falls, New York, aged eighty-one years.

George Leonard Smith acquired his early education in the public schools of Little Falls, New York, and at the age of sixteen became associated with his father in the wool shoddy business in the old yarn mill on Loomis Island. In 1887 they erected a new stone mill on the property known as Moss Island, to which several additions and changes have since been made. The business was incorporated in 1904 with his father as president and he as treasurer. One year after the death of his father in 1905 he purchased the remaining stock and became sole owner. From 1906 to 1910 the building of the Barge canal by the state, through this property, necessitated the leveling of mountains of rock to extend the mill site farther north, also the removal of several buildings and the erection of new ones. The business, started in a small way by his father, John H. Smith, has been much enlarged and developed and the product now manufactured by the Company enjoys a high reputation among the trade.

On December 19, 1889, at Lansing, Michigan, George Leonard Smith was united in marriage to Miss Inez E. Smith, who was born on May 10, 1866, at Bath, Steuben County, New York, and is the daughter of Asa and Cecelia (Fults) Smith. Asa Smith was born in Herkimer county, New York, on September 28, 1841, and died on August 3, 1913, at Lansing, Michigan. His business was that of contractor and builder. He saw service in Company A, One Hundred and Twenty-First Regiment, New York State Volunteers, went through the Civil war and was honorably discharged in 1865. He was twice wounded and was in the battles of the Wilderness and Gettysburg. His parents were Adam and Eliza (Getman) Smith. Adam Smith was born in the town of Manheim, New York, on June 7, 1805, and died at that place on September 23, 1870. His wife was born in Manheim New York, on April 27, 1819, and died on March 13, 1890. Cecelia (Fults) Smith, mother of Mrs. George Leonard Smith, was born in Jefferson county, New York, on August 9, 1845, and died at Lansing, Michigan, on March 3, 1917. She was the daughter of Michael and Margaret (Boyer) Fults. Michael Fults was born at Watertown, New York, on November 10, 1812, and died on May 17, 1898. His wife was born in Orleans, Jefferson county, New York, on October 12, 1812, and died at that place on January 30, 1904, aged ninety-two years. Mrs. Smith was graduated from the high school in Lansing, Michigan, in the class of 1884, later taking up elocution for one year in the Normal School at Ypsilanti, Michigan. She was president of the Little Falls, New York, Hospital Board for nine years, previously was treasurer for three years, and is now a member of the board of lady managers.

Mr. George L. Smith is a director of the Herkimer County Trust Company of Little Falls, and a director and stockholder in the New Gateway Theatre Corporation of Little Falls. He is a charter member of the Little Falls Country Club, the Adirondack League Club and the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce. In politics he is a republican and for diversion enjoys hunting and fishing.

He resides at the corner of Garden street and Waverly place, facing the Eastern park and his home is considered one of the most attractive in the city.

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