HENRY CLARK SMITH.
"Harry" Clark Smith is one of the most enterprising and representative citizens in Burns and if that
town and the county of Harney had just one hundred citizens like him, no section of the state could outstrip it
in progress and prosperity. "Harry" Smith, as he is affectionately called by his many friends, is not
a native of Oregon, but was born in Eureka, Illinois, on the 15th of October, 1861, a son of Jonathan D. and Mary
E. (Hathaway) Smith. His father was a contractor and went to Illinois as one of that state's earliest pioneers.
His grandfather was the founder of the Whitewater Flour Milling Company at Whitewater, Wisconsin, and he built
the first mill of that now giant milling concern. His mother was the daughter of one of the founders of the Campbellite
church, who was an intimate friend of Alexander Campbell and for many years a preacher in that faith.
"Harry" Smith received his education at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and upon putting his textbooks aside began
to learn the trade of a plasterer, and in that capacity worked for his father for five years. He then turned to
the brick mason's trade and after removing to Oregon in 1888, followed that trade with a great amount of success
for twenty years. During that period he was president of the Central Labor Council of Portland, Oregon, for the
first year of the existence of that body and president of the Bricklayers Benevolent Society. In 1898 he came to
Burns under contract and built the first bank and all of the brick buildings in that town. In 1910, however, he
turned his attention to the garage business in a small way and his establishment is know one of the largest in
the state. It is a Ford authorized sales and repair station and is modern in both structure and equipment. The
garage for storage is fifty by one hundred feet, the accessory department and store is fifty by eighty feet and
the repair shop is of the same dimensions. Mr. Smith contracts to dispose of one hundred cars per annum and his
business is such that he not only fulfills his contract but disposes of a greater number of ears. In the line of
accessories he carries a large stock of Racine, United States and Goodyear Tires, of which he is special agent.
He also handles Fordson tractors, and is a representative distributor for the Delco Light plants and water systems.
Nine employes carry on the business of the garage in an efficient manner and everything is done to make them take
a personal interest. The employes are paid from eighteen hundred to twenty four hundred dollars a year and fifty
per cent of the net profits of the business are annually divided equally among them, without regard to the amount
of salary received, the only proviso being that the recipient must have worked for the full preceding year.
In 1887 occurred the marriage of Mr. Smith to Miss Mollie L. Schmied, a native of Indiana. To their union the following
children were born: Juanita, Louel, and Harry Z. Juanita is the wife of Archie McGowan, a son of George McGowan,
who was one of the first settlers in Burns and named the town in honor of the poet Burns, of whom he was a great
and sincere admirer. Archie McGowan is engaged in the land and live stock business and is considered one of the
representative business men of the community; Louel is the wife of N. F. Reed, who is one of the proprietors of
the Retail Drug Store of Burns and a man of high standing in the business circles of the community; and Harry Z.
is a mail contractor and rancher in Harney county.
Mr. Smith is for Harney county and Burns, first, last and all the time and he not only responds to every call that
means a boost to Harney county and Burns, but originates many plans for the further development and improvement
of the community. To build up rather than to destroy is his broad policy and not alone has he followed constructive
measures but also attacks everything with a contagious enthusiasm that has won him the support and cooperation
of many. One of the greatest features he inaugurated for the town was the establishment, entirely at his own expense,
of a free campground for automobile tourists. It is not the ordinary parking space often set aside for such a purpose
in many cities, but a complete fenced in area, all under cover and lighted by the Delco system. This camp is laid
off into thirty four stalls and there are four kitchens, thoroughly equipped, and a stone bathhouse in the center
of the camp. Most every city of any size in the United States has an auto camp grounds free for the tourist but
Burns is the only town to our ken where one public spirited citizen has built entirely at his own expense and maintained
at considerable cost, a free camp for those who visit his city.
The fraternal affiliations of Mr. Smith are with the Masons, Elks, and Woodmen of the World. Politically he is
a democrat and has run for public office but once, being the candidate of his party for the legislature in 1906.
He is a member of the Commercial Club and the originator of many of that body's activities for the betterment of
the general welfare. He is an enthusiastic promoter of irrigation and good roads and believes that all his section
needs is more conservation of its water and roads to make it the garden spot of Oregon. Mr. Smith is preeminently
a representative of that class of men who in advancing individual interests also promote public progress and prosperity.
His life record displays many admirable elements. Recognizing the chance to make his life work of benefit to the
district in which he has won such great success, he has wisely and judiciously invested in business projects here
and his efforts have been of almost inestimable benefit in the upbuilding of Burns, of which place he may be termed,
without invidious distinction, the foremost citizen.
History of Oregon Illistrated
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922
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