Biography of Charles Smith, Jr.
Posey County, Indiana Biographies

Charles Smith, Jr., founder of the retail lumber firm of Charles Smith & Sons, well known citizen of Posey county, and veteran of the Civil war, was a native of Germany, born in Baden on June 8, 1844, the son of Carl Schmidt, who brought his family to the United States in 1852, and first settled in Shawneetown, Ill. He afterwards removed to Carmi, that State, and later became a resident of Mt. Vernon, Ind., where he was engaged in the saw mill and lumber business, from which he retired in 1890, and died in Mt. Vernon in 1902. Charles Smith, Jr., as the name is now spelled, enlisted in Company F, Eighty seventh Illinois volunteer mounted infantry on August 15, 1862, and served for three years with his regiment, being mustered out in Helena, Ark., June 16, 1865. On the conclusion of his military service he entered the employ of Charles Schaumberger, a retail grocer of Mt. Vernon. About 1868, he formed with his father, the firm of Charles Smith & Son, and engaged in the manufacture of lumber, their mill being at the corner of Sycamore and Saw Mill streets. In 1882, Louis Smith, a brother, was admitted to partnership, and the firm named changed to Charles Smith & Sons. In 1886, the entire plant was destroyed by fire, the loss suffered being a total one, as they carried no insurance. Two years later the business was moved to its present location on Second street. In 1890, the elder Smith retired and the business was continued by the sons under the firm style of Charles Smith, Jr., & Brother. In 1901, Louis Smith retired from the firm, and Mr. Smith's four sons were admitted to partnership, under the present name of Charles Smith, Jr., & Sons. On January 24 of the following year, 1902, Mr. Smith died, his life work ended, and which included one of his cherished wishes; the establishing of his sons in the business which he had developed until it was the leading one in its line in Posey county. He was a man of strict integrity, of warm friendships, a home builder; a predominant characteristic of whom was his fatherliness, his great foresight in caring for his own, and his tender sympathy with them was conspicuous in his life. He believed in the family and the fireside, and in the sacredness of the hearth. Mr. Smith married on January 7, 1869, Miss Lizsette Armbruster, the daughter of Barnabus Armbruster, a well known farmer of Black township, and a native of Germany. She was born on September 2, 1844, in Marrs township, Posey county. They were the parents of seven children, five of whom, with their mother, survive. They are in order of birth, as follows: Charles Edward, born February 14, 1871; William Lee, born February 20, 1874; Clinton F., born December 19, 1876; Ira A., born December 28, 1878, all of whom are members of the firm of Charles Smith, Jr., & Sons; Winona A., born March 28, 1882, the wife of Otto Weilbrenner, of Mt. Vernon; Ordella M., born November 20, 1869, and Ruby, born July 4, 1885, are deceased. The business of Charles Smith, Jr., & Sons, owned by the four sons of its founder and their mother, is conceded to be, by those in the lumber industry, one of the best managed enterprises of its kind in Southern Indiana. They operate a planing mill, carry a general line of rough and dressed lumber, and finished builders' material. The buildings are models of their kind and equipped with modern labor saving devices for the satisfactory conduct of the business. The buildings and yards occupy a space having a frontage on Second street of 148 feet, and extending back to the Ohio river. The plant represents an investment of $18,000, one half million feet of lumber is carried in stock and the average sales per year total $40,000. In the conduct of the business Charles E. Smith is in charge of the mill and yards, Clinton F. Smith is the buyer, William Lee Smith, who is an architect, the sales department, and Ira F. Smith is the office manager.

History of Posey County, Indiana
John C. Leffel, Editor
Standard Publishing Company
Chicago 1913.

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