William F. Smith

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 322

WILLIAM F. SMITH, vice president and general manager
of the Kanawha Dock Company at Point Pleasant, Mason
County, and also of the Point Pleasant Dry Dock Company,
has been a potent force in the development of these sub-
stantial and important industrial corporations. The Ka-
nawha Dock Company was organized in 1902, and is in-
corporated with a capital of $75,000. The company owns
modern docks and sawmills, and has the best of facilities
for the building and repairing of all types of vessels ply-
ing the rivers of this section of the Union. John W. Hub-
bard, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is president of the com-
pany; Mr. Smith has been its vice president and general
manager since June, 1918; and C. E. Lawhead, formerly
connected with the Merchants National Bank of this city,
is its secretary and treasurer. The Point Pleasant Dry
Dock Company was organized in December, 1909, the gen-
eral equipment of its plant having been purchased from
the Pittsburgh Coal Company, which had constructed its
dry dock at Pittsburgh in 1884. The officers of the Point
Pleasant Dry Dock Company are identical with those of
the Kanawha Dock Company. The dry-dock company met
with a financial loss of fully $200,000 when its property
was swept away by the steamer Otto Marmett on the
14th of January, 1918, this steamer having been carried
down the river by the floating ice, and from a total of
twenty-one pieces the Point Pleasant Dry Dock Company
recovered only its dry dock: its floating sawmills, tow boats,
gas, steam and timber boats all being destroyed. The dry
dock was recovered below Cincinnati, Ohio, and forty-two
feet had to be cut off the dock in order to return it to Point
Pleasant. The dock is now 56 by 219 feet in dimensions
and can accommodate nearly all types of river craft, and is
of the most approved modern type, so that its operative fa-
cilities insure the best of service. This is the best dry-
dock plant between Pittsburgh and New Orleans, and plays
an important part in connection with the navigation inter-
ests of the Kanawha, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In re-
habilitating the plant after the disaster mentioned above a
large expenditure of money was entailed, including the pur-
chasing of the property of the Kanawha Dock Company.
The company now has a river frontage extending two city
blocks, and on the land is a sawmill and four dwelling
houses for employes. The company also leases from the
state 600 feet of frontage on the Kanawha River and 800
feet on the Ohio River. This leased frontage covers the
site of the Tu-endie-wie Park, in which is erected the monu-
ment commemorating the battle which occurred at Point
Pleasant on the 10th of October, 1774. The two companies
with which Mr. Smith is thus identified employ an average
force of more than 100 men, and the two enterprises are
the ones of major importance in connection with the gen-
eral prosperity of Point Pleasant, which depends largely
upon the river traffic for its business and civic stability.
Mr. Hubbard, president of these two corporations, is pres-
ident also of the Cincinnati & Louisville Packet Line, be-
sides being interested in several other important enterprises
in West Virginia and other states, his residence being at

Mr. Smith was reared in the City of Pittsburgh, and there
he had been associated with the operation of docks for
eighteen years prior to coming to Point Pleasant. As a
young man he had been employed on steamboats in the coal
trade plying between Ohio River points and the City of
New Orleans. Since establishing himself at Point Pleasant
he here built the steamer W. F. Smith, which is now owned
by the LaBelle Steel Company of Portsmouth, Ohio. Mr.
Smith has been concerned with river navigation activities
for fully forty years. He is the owner of his attractive
home property at Point Pleasant, and is here a stockholder
in the Home Building Company, of which he was the
principal organizer, besides which he is one of the original
stockholders in the Marietta Manufacturing Company at
Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

In 1881 was recorded the marriage of Mr. Smith to Miss
Susan M. Deem, of Point Pleasant, and in the same year he
had charge of bringing the Ashland docks to Point Pleas-
ant. He had the management of the docks at this place one
year and for the following two years was similarly engaged
at Evansville, Indiana. He then returned to Pittsburgh,
where he remained until 1909, since which year he has main-
tained his home at Point Pleasant, where both his eldest
and youngest children were born. William Russell, the eld-
est of the children, is associated with his father’s business
activities. The maiden name of his wife was Belva Blagg.
Henry Sidney likewise is connected with the business of his
father. Bessie Virginia is the wife of Roy Condee, of San
Diego, California. The younger children are Raymond
Hartley, Susie, Howard Finley and John Hubbard.