Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM L. SMITH is one of the
largest property owners of Lincoln county. His success in the financial
world has been achieved through his careful and devoted labors and the
wise handling of the resources of this country. From the time of
his settlement here, he was one of the foremost among the progressive men
and every one who knows him can testify to his uprightness and ability.
William L. Smith was born in Santa Clara county,
California, on December 8, 1860. His father, Laurence S., was born
in Ireland and came to America when a young man. He located on a
farm where Sacramento now stands, being one of the pioneers of California.
He is now a wealthy and leading citizen of the Sacramento valley. The mother
of our subject was Ann (Kits) Smith, a native of Ireland. She was
married in her native country and came to America with her husband.
Our subject received his education in the district schools of California,
and then came on to Oregon, where he took up freighting. He is well
acquainted by experience with the different phases of frontier life and
has had many thrilling adventures. In 1882 he took government land
in western Oregon and farmed for one year. It was one year later
when he located his place, six miles north from where Odessa now stands
and engaged in stock raising and general farming. He continued to
purchase land at various times until he now owns over four thousand acres
throughout the county, besides one of the finest residences in Odessa,
property in Ritzville and much other property. He has been devoting
his attention largely to feeding stock, horses, cattle and sheep, and is
one of the best known stockmen in this portion of Washington. He
has brought some fine blooded stock into the county and has done much to
improve the grades here. Recently, he sold his sheep and is handling
cattle almost exclusively. Mr. Smith, like many of the worthy men
here, began life as a poor boy and everything that he now possesses is
the result of his own efforts. It seems that he has been especially
favored by Dame Fortune, as he can not remember any enterprise in which
he has started wherein he has not gained success. To the observant
eye, the main reason for all this is the ability and close attention to
business manifested by Mr. Smith. He now dwells in Odessa and owns
a very fine business block there. No man of the county has done more
to build up the country than has our subject. In educational matters
and local affairs he has always been deeply interested and has been very
liberal in public donations.
Mr. Smith was married in 1883 to Ella I. Despain,
a native of Oregon. To this couple, seven children have been born:
Charles M., a business man of Odessa; Anna M., Ruby, William P., Hazel,
Mark and Joseph. On December 10, 1901, Mrs. Smith was called hence
by death. She was a noble woman, beloved by all.
In fraternal affiliations, Mr. Smith is a
member of the I. 0. 0. F.