ORHOODRI-L ArchivesArchiver > ORHOODRI > 2005-03 > 1110519912
Subject: SMITH, Ezra Leonard, obituary
Date: 10 Mar 2005 22:45:12 -0700
This is a Message Board Post that is gatewayed to this mailing list.
Surnames: SMITH, SLOCUM, WATT, STEWART, NELSON, RAND
Message Board URL:
Message Board Post:
The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., January 27, 1921, page 1
DEATH COMES TO E.L. SMITH
Eventful Career Ends Saturday
Mr. Smith, One of the Founders of the Apple Industry, Was One of the Coast’s Prominent Pioneers
All places of business were closed from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday while Hood River paid honor to E.L. Smith, Hood River valley’s first citizen, and grand old man, who died at his home Saturday. The Riverside Community church was crowded by residents from all parts of the valley and pioneers from other districts. Rev. W.G. Eliot, pastor of the Church of Our Father in Portland, a friend of nearly 50 years standing, delivered the funeral address. He read a memorial tribute written by his father, Dr. T.L. Eliot, Pastor emeritus of the First Unitarian church, Portland, who was unable to attend the service because of ill health. Rev. W.H. Boddy aided with the service.
Mr. Smith was first master of the local Masonic lodge, a Knight Templar and Shrine member. The local lodge of Masons attended in a body, observing ritualistic services. Pallbearers, all members of the lodge, where L.N. Blowers, W.H. Clipping, T.A. Reavis, W.L. Clark, Geo. F. Stranahan and A.J. Derby. Honorary pallbearers, all pioneers of the section, were: S.F. Blythe, C. Dethman, Henry L. Howe, M.D. Odell, Robert Rand, S. Copple, W.J. Baker and A.H. Jewett, of White Salmon, Wash. K.W. Sinclair drove the car containing the active pallbearers to Portland.
The body, accompanied by members of the family and friends, was taken to Portland over the Columbia River Highway for cremation. It was the first funeral cortege ever to pass down the Columbia gorge from here.
Mr. Smith was born in Vermont, September 17, 1837. While his name is closely linked with the pioneer history of the three Pacific Coast states, California, Oregon and Washington, he is best known in Oregon, having resided with his family in Hood River county since 1876. He planted one of the valley’s first commercial orchards and for years was a leader in establishing the apple industry in the northwest. He was one of the founders and for a number of years president of the Oregon Horticultural Society. His enthusiasm for the local fruit industry won for him the name of “Hood River” Smith. He was a member of the Oregon Commission at the Pan-American exposition at Buffalo, N.Y., and had charge of the state’s horticultural exhibits, which received first awards at the international contests there.
Mr. Smith was perhaps the last Pacific Coast survivor who attended the Republican convention at Chicago in 1862, when Abraham Lincoln received his first nomination for the presidency. At the time he was a student at Lombard University at Galesburg, Ill., having accompanied Isaac Parker, a young professor of ancient languages called from New England to the middle western institution. He was a great admirer of Lincoln and visited him at his home at Springfield, Ill. Mr. Smith’s wife, Georgiana Slocum, was a fellow Lombard student. Their wedding was set for the morning of March 4, 1861, but at the request of the bridegroom, in order that he and his wife might say that their married life was begun under the administration of Abraham Lincoln, the wedding was postponed until the afternoon. The couple set off immediately for New York City, where they sailed for California via the Isthmus of Panama. They made their way to El Dorado county, where Mr. Smith engaged in min!
ing for several years. In 1864 and 65, Mr. Smith was a member of the California general assembly. In 1867 he received appointment as secretary of Washington territory. For the greater part of his term as secretary he was also acting territorial governor. At the expiration of his official duties, Mr. Smith associated with Geo. A. Barnes, a member of the first city council of Portland, and William H. Avery, established the first bank at Olympia.
Mr. Smith arrived here with his family on March 1, 1876. He had previously purchased a large acreage in the Frankton district just west of the present town of Hood River. A home had been erected with lumber shipped by boat from Portland. Mr. Smith established the county’s first store, which was later moved to Hood River.
Except for a short residence in The Dalles, where he served as a register of the United States Land Office, Mr. Smith resided here continuously after his arrival from Olympia. He was noted as one of the state’s most eloquent public speakers and took a prominent part as Republican leader in state and national politics. In 1889 he was speaker of the lower house of the legislature. He was at one time United States senatorial candidate.
Mr. Smith and his family became widely known throughout the Northwest for their interest in civic affairs. Mrs. Smith, who died in 1911, was a leading pioneer in Oregon Women’s Club circles. Her charities among the Indians and unfortunate whites covered a wide area. News of the death of Mr. Smith was received with expressions of sincere grief by the remaining Indians here.
Mr. Smith was a close friend of Dr. T.L. Eliot, pastor emeritus of the First Unitarian church of Portland. Formerly the two were accustomed to make excursions of exploration into the surrounding forest wilds. They were members of the party that discovered Lost Lake. It was largely through Mr. Smith’s financial support that a Unitarian church was established here. Mr. and Mrs. Smith donated to Hood River the site of the county’s imposing public library.
Mr. Smith is survived by four daughters, Mrs. J.F. Watt and Mrs. William Stewart, of Hood River; and Mrs. J.E. Rand and Mrs. O.J. Nelson, of Portland. Other surviving close relatives are Geo. I Slocum and Roy C. Slocum, the latter of Portland.
The funeral was directed by S.E. Bartmess.
The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., February 3, 1921, page 1
COMMENTS ON MR. SMITH
No person who came to Oregon after admission of the territory is entitled to the official -- or formal -- designation as a pioneer. This is the rule made by the Oregon Pioneer association, and we have no thought of finding fault with it. There are still living, it is pleasing to recall, many hundreds and even thousands of those early and venturesome emigrants who made their heroic way to the distant northwest, and laid the foundations of a great American commonwealth. It would be a proposal suggestive of profanation if it were to be asked that the bar be lowered so that other useful citizens whose coming was later, be entitled also to the distinction which exclusively belongs to those who came to Oregon when it was a territory.
Yet it will not be amiss to say that the late Ezra L. Smith had the stature, and the record of a pioneer. It was impossible to think of him in other aspects. He was clearly a pioneer in Hood River valley and was a great factor in its early development as a prosperous horticultural district. Yet he went there as late as 1876, but a generation and a half ago. In pioneer parlance, forty-four years is not long; but in the life of the individual and the growth of a community it may be it, and it usually is, epochal. It is only within the past twenty years, or even less, that Hood River acquired a national fame for its fruit. Mr. Smith had much to do with it.
Ezra L. Smith’s time goes back to Lincoln in Illinois, to civil war times in California, almost to the political beginnings of Washington territory, and to what might be termed the late middle period of Oregon history. So after all he was a good deal of a pioneer. He was conspicuous in civic affairs, and long a prominent figure in the political activities of the state. He had the esteem of his neighbors and the confidence of the public in an uncommon degree. It will not be easy to think of Hood River without Ezra L. Smith. -- Oregonian.
In the death of E.L. Smith, which occurred at Hood River, on last Saturday, one of the best known horticulturists of the early days passed out. -- Newberg graphic.
The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., January 27, 1921, page 2
All Oregon will fill the loss of Ezra Leonard Smith, whose eventful career was closed last Saturday morning, while in the calm of dawn he met his Pilot face to face and crossed out over the bar. He was great and lovable and had lived a life of unselfish service. Here in Hood River, where we knew him best, where every man, woman and child was his admiring friend, we will miss him most. His cheery greeting and imposing, stalwart figure have been missed from the streets since last summer. The office in his building, where nearly all of us at one time or another have called for kindly advice or had sat while the hours slipped pleasantly away listening to some interesting recital of pioneer times, a discussion on the wonders of our mountain scenery or a story of Indiana mythology, has been silent.
Four score and three years had passed for him and we knew that he had grown ripe for the reward of those well spent years, and yet last Saturday what one of us was not stricken with a sense of personal loss when the news went forth that E.L. Smith was dead? We felt it whether we were pioneers of many years or only residents of a comparatively short time. E.L. Smith never saw a stranger. He loved to greet new arrivals, and the good cheer of his welcome at once made Hood River a better home spot. He had a way of talking about things and subjects in such a way as to illuminate them. He had a reverence for the wonders of nature and, too, for the simple, unadorned faith of men and women. He detested a sham in any form. He was ever ready to grant an audience to children or an unlearned Indian. As Dr. Eliot wrote in his memorial tribute, “He was one of Nature’s noblemen.”
Who of us in Hood River will not miss Mr. Smith? Not one. His fund of Indian lore and information on past happenings of national importance have on numerous occasions made possible a more interesting issue of the Glacier. He was a link between today and the inspiring happenings of the last half of the century just passed. No man of the Northwest possessed a greater Indian lore. We are sorry that his stories of the legends were not compiled. They ought to be available to every Hood River county school child.
In another column we have set forth some of the numerous honors that came to Mr. Smith in his long and useful life. But the greatness of his personality, the love of truth and honesty, his hatred of and shrinking from trickery and chicanery and his reverence for nature and things holy transcended all of these. All that was mortal of him has passed, but the benevolence of his spirit will remain as long as we who knew him survive, and the worth of his character will continue to leave its impress on our own.
The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., January 28, 1921, page 1
FAMOUS WESTERN PIONEER PASSES
With the passing of Ezra Leonard Smith, whose death occurred at his home of on State St. on Saturday last, one that of the great figures in the early history of the West, joins the majority of those state builders of other days.
Mr. Smith, who was 83 years of age at the time of his death, had not been about town since last fall, growing infirmity causing him to keep to the house. He became steadily weaker and the end was not unexpected by the sorrowing family.
Mr. Smith was born in Vermont on September 17, 1837, the son of Ezra and Avis Smith, the father being from a very prominent American family.
As a young man he was a spectator at the convention held in Chicago in 1859, at which Abraham Lincoln was first nominated for the presidency of the United States.
Mr. Smith was married at Woodstock, Ill., on March 4, 1861, to the Georgiana Slocum. The couple left for California the same year, and lived for the next six years in the Golden State. Their home was in Eldorado county, where Mr. Smith was interested in mining. In 1865-66 he was a member of the California legislature.
In 1867, Mr. Smith was appointed secretary of Washington territory, upon the recommendation of William H. Seward, by President Johnson. A portion of the time he served as secretary, he also acted as governor of this territory, owing to the illness and enforced absence of Governor Marshall Moore.
Mr. Smith, with the George A. Barnes, established the first bank in Olympia, under the name of George A. Barnes & Co., and also was a member of the territorial council. After residence of nine years at Olympia, on account of failing health, he relinquished his activities in Olympia.
In 1876, Mr. Smith arrived in Hood River and took up residence at a point about one mile and a half west of where the city now stands, where he engaged in farming and later in the general merchandise business.
In 1883, he was appointed registrar of The Dalles land office, and for a time lived partly at The Dalles. In 1886, when his term of office expire expired, he returned to Hood River, and had been a continual resident of this city ever since. In 1888 he was elected to the Oregon legislature from Wasco county, and became speaker of the house of representatives. He was three times president of the Columbia River waterway association, was well known in horticultural circles and had been president of both of the State Horticultural society and the state board of Agriculture.
Surviving daughters are Mrs. J.F. Watt, Mrs. Wm. M. Stewart, both of Hood River, and Mrs. J.E. Rand and Mrs. O.J. Nelson, both of Portland.
With the closing of every business house in town and with Riverside church crowded to capacity, the people of Hood River did their best to pay a tribute worthy of the memory of Mr. Smith. Hood River Masons, to the number of over 200, paid their last respects to their dead brother and occupied the body of the church and, at the conclusion of the fine oration delivered by the Rev. W.G. Eliot, pastor of the Church of Our Father, Portland, performed the simple but inspiring Masonic funeral rites. Miss S. Howes played appropriate organ music and accompanied Mrs. C.H. Sletton, who sang solos that added to the solemnity of the occasion.
The service was conducted by Rev. W.H. Boody, but it was left to Dr. Eliot, a friend of fifty years of Mr. Smith, to express sympathy with the relatives in a glowing tribute to the memory of the deceased man, whom he characterized as “one of nature’s noblemen.” He dwelt on Mr. Smith’s love of nature and his unbounding kindness toward his fellow men and women; his faith in things that were good and his rigid adherence to the truth and honesty. Dr. Eliot said that honesty of purpose was one of the great outstanding traits in Mr. Smith’s character, and he recalled the fact that, on one occasion, when Mr. Smith was offered the highest post it was possible for a Governor to confer, he refused it because in return he would have been called upon to give a pledge which did not coincide with his own views of honesty toward his fellow men. All through his life, his kindness of character made the road easier for his fellow men and women, and t!
he example his entire life offered might well be accepted as a standard of right living and thinking.
At the conclusion of the service, the casket was born by the pallbearers through a double line of Masons to the hearse, and at 4 p.m. Undertaker Bartmess left on the journey to Portland over the Highway to the crematorium, accompanied by the pallbearers. The remains reached Portland after nine o’clock, and have since been cremated. Pallbearers were: L.N. Blowers, W.H. Chipping, T.A. Reavis, W.L. Clark, George F. Stranahan and A.J. Derby. Several of the pioneers of this section were at t he church as honorary pallbearers, as follow: S.F. Blythe, C. Dethman, Henry L. Howe, M.D. Odell and Robert Rand of Hood River, and A.J. Jewett, of White Salmon. A.O. Adams, one of the old residents of Cascade Locks, was also present.
The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., January 28, 1921, page 4
THE PASSING OF A PIONEER
Two years ago we met for the first time a man whose name had, for many years, been a by-word in Oregon and who, in Hood River county, had watched and assisted in the growth of all that stands for progress in this section. A fine old gentleman who, endowed in his youth with a good education, had been a keen observer and compiler of the many things which go to make up the history of the West. It was in anecdote that Mr. E.L. Smith was the more entertaining to the man or woman who had come to the West in recent years, for when he talked on the political or civic history of the Western states he traveled back over the years with an assurance that the newcomer was unable to follow with understanding. Yet the newcomer who was seeking knowledge of the West of the early days always, at the end of the talk with Mr. Smith, found himself regretted that he had not known this fine old man many years before. While he often gave his views with an air of finality that, in a younger man, !
would have been regarded as presumption, yet a close analysis of his decisions invariably found him in the right -- because he assured himself that he was in the right before he gave an opinion. As with all honest men, he was fearless in his views, and in politics one instinctively felt, after discussion with him, that his was a master mind, little clouded by his eighty odd years. In passing, he leaves a remarkable record of plain living and clean thinking, and Hood River should feel honored that such a man should have chosen this section of all the West as his home through the many years the lived here. It is only when Nature’s Noblemen, such as Mr. Smith pass to the Great Beyond that we realized how scarce men of this type of becoming and how much poorer is the world by their death.
This was posted for reference only. I am not related to, nor am I researching this family. If you have additional information about the person or event listed above, please post it as reply to this message.