Byron Smith, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Byron Smith

BYRON SMITH - Was born in Valparaiso, Indiana, on November 14, 1889, the son of Arthur C. and Lola (Nugent) Smith. Mr. Smith's family history dates back to colonial days, when his forefathers, coming from England, settled in Northern New York State. Here, with a band of hardy frontiersmen, his great-grandfather, Gordon Smith, fought with conspicuous gallantry against the British in the War of 1812. About 1840 his grandfather, Sylvester W. Smith, came west to Indiana and settled in Valparaiso, where he became prominently identified with the early history of this community. For many years he held offices of public trust, serving as town clerk, county auditor, treasurer, and clerk. The father of our subject, Arthur C. Smith, was a druggist for many years, but in later life he was connected for a number of years with the accounting department of the Northwestern Indiana Telephone Company. He was a member of the Methodist Church from early youth, a lifelong republican, and at the time of his death in October, 1923, he was serving as county chairman of the Republican Central Committee. The mother, Lola (Nugent) Smith, a native of Bedford, Indiana, has long been active in literary and club circles, being one of the founders of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Club, forerunner of the Valparaiso Women's Club, of which she is honorary president. Byron Smith was graduated from Valparaiso High School in the class of 1907, and from Valparaiso University with the degree of B. S. in 1909. Upon leaving college he spent a few months in a law office in Chicago, following which he returned to his native city to enter the retail lumber and general contracting business. In January, 1921, Mr. Smith joined in the organization of the firm incorporated under the name of Smith & Smiths Company, the officers being H. E. Smith, president; Byron Smith, vice president and treasurer; and Earl V. Smith, secretary. This company in February, 1921, purchased from the McFetrich Lumber and Coal Company their lumber yard, planing mill, and business located on West Indiana Avenue, on the site of the old lumber yard operated for many years by James McFetrich, a pioneer school teacher and business man. The new company at once entered the general contracting business along with the operation of a retail lumber and coal yard and planing mill, and soon built up a large circle of friends and a reputation for dependability. They have to their credit as construction achievements many of the better buildings of recent years in the community, including business blocks, churches. residences, and industrial buildings. In August, 1917, Mr. Smith enlisted in the United States Army, at the Officers' Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison. On November 15, 1917, he was commissioned first lieutenant of infantry and assigned to Company B, Three Hundred Fifty-sixth Regiment, Eighty-ninth Division, then in training at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas, under the command of Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood. Later he was transferred from the Eighty-ninth Division and placed in command of the Camp Recruit Receiving Station, which post he held until shortly before the signing of the armistice. During his service at the recruiting station 100,000 recruits were received, fed and quartered. outfitted, their records prepared, and assigned to companies; and in recognition of his efficient handling of this station, Mr. Smith was promoted to the rank of captain in July, 1918. Following the armistice, he was transferred to Headquarters Staff at Central Department Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois, where he again served under General Wood and where he received his honorable discharge in the spring of 1919. Upon his return home Captain Smith joined with Capt. William Harris in obtaining a charter for a post of the American Legion, and together they proceeded to organize Charles Pratt Post No. 94, American Legion, which soon grew to nearly 400 members. During the year 1925 Mr. Smith served as post commander. On February 16, 1916, he was united in marriage with Miss Laura Nuppnau, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Nuppnau. Two children, Charlotte Lola and Byron, Jr., grace this union. Mr. Smith is a member of the Methodist Church, is a republican, a member of the various Masonic bodies, the Valparaiso Country Club, the American Legion, the Isaac Walton League, and a charter member and past president of the Valparaiso Rotary Club.

Source: Cannon, Thomas H., H. H. Loring, and Charles J. Robb. 1927. History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and Laporte. Volume II. Indianapolis, Indiana: Historians' Association. 827 p.
Page(s) in Source: 522-523

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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