My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Thomas Smith, foreman of the casting department of the Plate Glass Works at Crystal City, is a native of Stratford, on the Avon, England, born in 1837, and the second of five sons and three daughters born to Leonard and Elizabeth (Care) Smith, who spent their entire lives in England, the father engaged in the brewery business. Thomas left the parental roof at the age of eleven, and spent three years at such work as he could find. He then remained at home for about two years, after which he found employment at London, and later at Birmingham. In 1861 he came to the United States, but after working in various places until April, 1864, then returned to England, coming again to America, however, in November of the same year. Landing at New York, he made his way to Pittsburgh, started to work in an iron establishment, went thence to Chicago and accepted a situation as a section foreman on the Michigan Central Railroad. He later located at St. Louis, and afterward at Crystal City, where he worked several months, and was then made foreman of the digging and hauling department of the Crystal Plate Glass Works, and three years later was made foreman of the casting department, which position he has since held with credit to himself and to his employers. There are now between 800 and 900 employed, and he is one of only two who have been employees of the works since its origin. He was married, in 1873, to Mrs. Elizabeth Bills, daughter of John and Mary Ann Pass, natives of Yorkshire, England, but who came to the United States in 1867. They lived for some time in Boston, Mass., but moved from there to Toronto, Canada, and in 1872 came to Crystal City, where they kept hotel—the first one in the place. Mr. Pass died in 1878, and Mrs. Pass in 1876. The result of Mr. Smith’s marriage were the births of two children: Martha and Mary. Mrs. Smith’s first husband, Stephen Bills, was born in Manchester, England, and was married in London about 1863. Two years later they came to the United States, and he was engaged as a commercial traveler. He died in Toronto, Canada, in 1871. Mrs. Smith has made eight trips across the ocean. Mr. Smith is a member of the American Legion of Honor, is conservative in his political views, and is an honest, upright citizen. He and wife are members of the Episcopal Church. He has frequently been in the house in which Shakespeare was born.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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