William J. Smith, a leading agriculturist and fruit-raiser living on Grand Island, has spent his entire life in Sacramento county, his birth having occurred on the island where he yet makes his home, October 18, 1860. He is a son of George and Margaret (Hale) Smith, residents of Sacramento county. He was reared to manhood under the parental roof, was educated in the public schools of the county and since his boyhood days has been engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits. He is the owner of a ranch of fifty acres located on Grand Island and he also operates his father's extensive ranch on the island, comprising six hundred and seventypfive acres, of which over two hundred acres is devoted to fruit culture. This place is only a short distance north of Vorden. Mr. Smith is als serving as president of the Freeport Telephone Company and is one of its directors. He is also the manager and main owner of the Grand Island ferry, operating just south of Courtland.
Mr. Smith was married, February 5, 1890, to Miss Minnie Gutenberger, of Sacramento, in which city she was born February 4, 1868, her parents being William and Catherine (Schweitzer) Gutenberger, natives of Germany. Her father was born on the banks of the Rhine, in Prussia, Augusut 25, 1828, and traced his ancestry back to Johann Gutenberg, the celebrated inventor who gave to the world the art of printing about 1439. The family name was originally spelled without the last syllable as now found, but previous generations added the two letters which now conclude the name. The parents of William Gutenberger were Philip and Catherine (Klump) Gutenberger. When William was fourteen years of age he went to Coblentz, where he served an apprenticeship to the iron molder's trade, and when he had been employed at that work for seven years he took a contract for manufacturing stoves and later followed the same business in Bremen. He came to America in 1852, arriving at New York on the 1st of November, after a tempestuous voyage of forty-five days. Soon afterward he secured employment in malleable iron shops in Hampton, Connecticut, and later worked in Waterbury, Meriden and Hartford, that state. In the spring of 1855 he started for California by way of the isthmus route, reaching San Francisco on the 28th of May. He first worked on the Middletown ditch, in Shasta county, California, and was afterward employed at his trade for seventeen years in the Sacramento Iron Works, where he won various promotions. He then started in business on his own account, with partners whose interests he subsequently purchased, and erected a large and well equipped plant on Front street. Although his plant was later destroyed by fire he at once rebuilt and continued in active business as an iron manufacturer up to the time of his death, being a leading representative of the productive industries of Sacramento. He was married in 1857, his wife having come to California the previous year, and they had but two children, the sister of Mrs. Smith being Mrs. Julia Runckle. Mr. Gutenberger was a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias and Knights of Honor. He died September 15, 1897, respected by all who knew him by reason of what he had accomplished in the business world. His widow now resides in Sacramento and has passed the age of threescore years and ten.
Mr. Smith is a member of Franklin Lodge No. 143, F. & A. M., of which he is a past master, and he also belongs to Sacramento Aerie, Fraternal Order of Eagles. He is also connected with the Elks at Sacramento and is a member of Courtland Parlor No. 106, Native Sons of the Golden West, while he and his wife are members of Onisbo Chapter of the Eastern Star. Mr. and Mrs. Smith now have a daughter, Cathryn Wilhelma, born June 16, 1899, and one son, George W. G., born March 12, 1903.
Mr. Smith is now serving as a trustee of Onisbo school district. Having always lived in Sacramento county, he is deeply interested in all that pertains to her welfare and progress, and is a typical western citizen, alert and enterprising. He is reliable in business, loyal in citizenship and true to the varied duties and obligations which come to all.
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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