Hart F. Smith, deceased, whose activity in business and political circles made him one of the leading citizens of Sacramento county, and who as a pioneer settler also contributed largely to the early development and progress of this portion of the state, became a resident of California in 1852, at a time when its population was largely those who were engaged in the search for gold in the mines. Mr. Smith was a native of Carrollton, Illinois, born April 16, 1832, and at an early age was left an orphan. He had been taken by his father and mother to Memphis, Tennissee, and after their demise, he remained with a sister in that city until fourteen years of age, at which time he was practically thrown upon his own resources. He continued a resident of Memphis until 1852, when, attracted by the business advantages of the new but rapidly developing west, he came to California and in the fall of that year settled on the ranch where his widow now resids, a short distance below Isleton. He made the journey across the plains with an ox-team, and it was a long and wearisome trip, but at length he reached the green valleys of California and soon began farming, which he followed throughout his entire life here, developing an excellent ranch.

Mr. Smith was married August 14, 1860, to Miss Maggie Keever, who was born in Ireland, March 25, 1843, a daughter of Arthur and Kate (Hoy) Keever, with whom she went to Memphis, Tennessee, when about three years old and there remained until 1858, when she came to California by way of the isthmus route. She has since been a resident of Sacramento county. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith were born ten children: Theresa, who died at the age of twelve; twins, also deceased; Garrett D., who is living on Grand Island; Laura E., the wife of Irvin V. Doty, of Oakland, California; Hart F., living on Brannan Island; Annie, the wife of John W. Harris, of Isleton; John K., who resides on Brannan Island; Alice M., the wife of Edward Brian, of Brannan Island; and Warren W., also living on that island. Since the father's death the estate has been conducted under the name of the Hart F. Smith Company, Incorporated, of which Hart F. Smith, Jr., is president and Warren W. Smith is the secretary. The work carried on is that of general agricultur and one of the main industries is the growing of asparagus. The ranch comprises six hundred acres of land on the Sacramento river on Brannan Islan, adjoining Isleton, and is a very valuable and productive property.

Hart F. Smith was a Republican in politics, and for a number of years he served as justice of the peace, which occasioned his title of Judge Smith, by which he was familiarly known in his home locality. He was long an exemplary member of the Masonic fraternity, and at his death was interred with Masonic honors at Rio Vista, California. In his business life he was successful, managing his affairs so that his efforts proved resultant factors in winning gratifying prosperity. In all business transactions he was thoroughly trustworthy and his word was considered as good as his bond. Dis-simulation or underhand methods had no part in his business plans and methods, and thus he made for himself an honorable name. While not a member of any religious denomination he contributed to the cause of Christianity, and he was charitable to those in need or distress. He died October 3, 1902, after a residence of half a century in Sacramento county, during which time wonderful changes had occurred, the conditions of pioneer life being replaced by those of an advanced civilization; and he was among those to whom the result is attributable. Mrs. Smith, still surviving her husband, resides in the old home on Brannan Island. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is numbered among the pioneer women of her locality, dating her residence here since 1858, so that the county has been her home for forty-seven consecutive years.

Source: History of the New California - Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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