Joseph Frank Smith

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 26

Submitted by Gerald Bills.

JOSEPH FRANK SMITH, who is more familiarly known by his second personal name,
is successfully conducting a hotel in the Village of Cower, Webster County,
and is also the owner and operator of a well improved farm in this locality.
He was born in Pleasants County, West Virginia, August 4, 1866, and is a son
of George L. and Margaret E. (Frink) Smith, both natives of what is now
Preston County, this state, where the former was born in 1842 and the latter
in 1841, each having been reared on a pioneer farm in that county. After their
marriage the parents remained on a farm in Preston County until their removal
to Pleasants County, where George L. Smith purchased a farm, and he and his
wife passed the remainder of their lives on this homestead, he having
accumulated and developed a valuable farm estate of 285 acres and his
prosperity having represented the results of his own energetic and well
ordered activities, He and his wife were zealous members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and he was specially active in the work of its Sunday
school, Mr. Smith was a stalwart republican in politics, and was
loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, he having served as a member of the
school board of his district. He survived his wife by many years and was about
fifty-six years of age at the time of his death. Of their seven children there
are living at the time of this writing, in the spring of 1922: Joseph F., of
this sketch, the youngest of the number; William H., a prosperous farmer near
Cleveland, Ohio; and Mary, who is the widow of James Riggs and resides at St.
Marys, Pleasants County, West Virginia. All of the other children attained to
maturity.

The home farm on which lie was born was the stage of the youthful activities
of Joseph Frank Smith, and his early educational discipline included that of
the high school at St. Marys. He initiated his independent career when he was
but sixteen years of age. He was employed in connection with the construction
of the railroad line from Parkersburg to Kenova, where he served as
superintendent of the work, and he continued his association with this line of
railroad development abort eight years. He purchased a lot in Buckhannon,
erected a house on the same and finally soul the property at a distinct
profit. After severing his connection with railroad construction he purchased
the Summit Hotel at Cowen, and later he purchased a tract of timber land. He
cut and manufactured the timber on this land, made development on the tract
and eventually sold the same for farm usages his financial returns from the
various activities aril the c sale having been very appreciable. He is now the
owner of the oldest farm in this section of the county, and has made, the same
one of the model places of this part of the state, the while lie has here
become a leader in the breeding and raising of Hereford cattle, improved
Duroc-Jersey hogs Shropshire sheep and White Leghorn poultry. His landed
estate in Webster County comprises 300 acres. His original hotel at Cowen was
destroyed by fire, and he then purchased the Central Hotel, which he has
since successfully conducted. To connection with farm industry and business
activities Mr. Smith has stood exponent of progressiveness, and the same may
be said of his attitude as a citizen, for he is always ready to lend
cooperation in the furtherance of measures and enterprises projected for the
general good of the community.

Mr. Smith has had much of leadership in connection with the councils and
campaign activities of the republican party in Webster County, and has served
as chairman of its executive committee for this county. When he was made the
party nominee for county sheriff he was defeated by only thirty-two votes,
in a county that at that time gave a normal democratic majority of 400 votes.
In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Smith is affiliated with Camden Lodge No. 107,
A. F. and A. AM; Sutton Chapter No. 29, R. A. M.; Sutton Commandery No. 16,
Knights Templar; and Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine in the City of
Wheeling.

In 1894 Mr., Smith wedded Miss Dora E. Vance, who was reared and educated in
Webster County. They have three children: Hosea A. is a graduate of the
University of West Virginia: Ruth K. graduated from the State Normal School qt
Fairmont, and is, in 1922, in the extension department of agriculture in
connection with the University of West Virginia at Morgantown; and Joseph F.,
Jr., is a student in Augusta Military Academy at Fort Defiance, Virginia. Mr.
and Mrs. Smith are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which
he is serving as a member of the official board.