Biography of W. Stebbins Smith
Bronx County, NY Biographies





W. STEBBINS SMITH - A pioneer resident and lawyer of that part of The Bronx, known as Morrisania until its annexation by New York City in 1873, Mr. Smith is able to look back on seventy years' active and very effective participation in the wonderful development which has been the happy destiny of the most northern borough of Greater New York. He was born at White Plains, Westchester County, September 16, 1849, but moved to Morrisania, then also part of Westchester County, with his father's family as a boy, he having lived in the Smith homestead over sixty five years. He is a son of Chauncey and Hannah (Fowler) Smith, both members of pioneer Westchester families, his father being a prominent lawyer, his mother a descendant of Isaac Van Wart, one of the captors of Major Andre, the English accomplice of Benedict Arnold in the latter's attempt to betray his country during the Revolutionary War.

W. Stebbins Smith was educated in private schools and then took up the study of law at the School of Law of Columbia University from which he was graduated in 1871. He was admitted to the bar at Poughkeepsie, New York, June 12, 1871, and has been engaged in the practice of his profession ever since, with offices formerly both in The Bronx and in the Bennet Building, Fulton and Ann streets, New York City, and during recent years at No. 462 East One Hundred and Sixty seventh Street. Not only is he one of the pioneers of The Bronx bar, but is considered also one of its leaders in legal learning and experience. He is a charter member of The Bronx Bar Association of which he was also the first president. Of The Bronx Board of Trade he was also a charter member, and he was one of the founders and a member of the original board of directors of the Cosmopolitan Bank which has since grown into one of the most popular and strongest banking institutions located in The Bronx. He is also a member of the Alumni Association of the Columbia University Law School; Society of Arts and Science, of which he is a past president; the Archaeological Society of America; the old North Side Board of Trade, of which he was one of the founders; the Taxpayers' Alliance, of which he is one of the oldest members; The Bronx County Property Owners' Association; the Young Men's Christian Association, of which he is vice president of the Board of Managers; the Fortnightly Association, of which he is vice president; and the Jimmie Creek Rod and Gun Association, of which he is president, also member of the Old Timers' Association. During the Civil War he tried to enlist, although only a young lad at that time, but was rejected on account of an injured arm. During the World War he served his country as chairman of his local Draft Board. In politics Mr. Smith is a supporter of the Republican party and served as president of the Board of School Inspectors, during the administrations of Mayors Strong and Van Wyck, in 1895 to 1901. His religious affiliations are with the Methodist Episcopal church through his membership in the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, No. 1074 Washington Avenue, of whose Board of Trustees he served as president for many years. He is also an official of the New York City Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of the Old Folks Home located on Amsterdam Avenue, and other associations.

Mr. Smith was married in New York City, October 24, 1878, to Lillie Jackson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Jackson, members of an old New York family. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were the parents of three children, two of whom died in infancy, the surviving child being Grace E. Waterman, now the wife of George W. Waterman.

The family home is at No. 204 Mount Hope Place, The Bronx.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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