Webb Smith, one of the oldest and most experienced mining men on the Mother Lode, is superintendent of the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company at Jackson, Amador County, with whose mine he has been connected for thirty-four years. Born on a farm in Indiana on the 16th of March, 1857, he is a son of Irwin Mitchell and Nancy (Dunaway) Stewart. His mother later married a Mr. Smith, whose name he acquired legally.
At the age of two years Mr. Smith was brought across the plains in a covered wagon by his parents, the party arriving here in September, 1859, and he attended the public schools of California and afterward took a course in mining through the International Correspondence School of Scranton, Pennsylvania. When fifteen years of age he quit school at Drytown and started out to make his own way in the world, working at any employment he could find. His step-father had wished him to take up the study of law, but as a boy he had gone into the mines. From that time mining had the strongest appeal to him and he determined to learn the business in all of its phases. After spending some time underground, he worked in the mills, and blacksmith shop and the machine shop, thus acquiring a practical and intimate knowledge of the various branches of the business. At that time the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company owned the South Eureka and the Kennedy mines. Mr. Smith had worked for various mining companies and on June 19, 1894, he went to work at the South Eureka mine at Sutter Creek. On November 10, 1896, he went to the Kennedy mine and for seven years served as foreman of the mill. On February 1, 1903, he was promoted to assistant superintendent of the mine, after serving five years under the direction of James F. Parks, superintendent, and on the death of that gentleman, November 10, 1903, Mr. Smith was made superintendent. He has been in charge of the mine continuously since, with the exception of four years when he was doing special work for the company, though during that period he continued to act in an advisory capacity in relation to the mine operations. He is recognized as an expert in his particular field of work and commands not only the confidence of the officers of the company, but also the respect of the men under him. Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Josephine L. Caldwell, a native of El Dorado County, this state, where her father was engaged in the practice of medicine. To this marriage have been born six children: Mildred L., Mary Norma, Ida Caldwell, Carlton Webster, Howard Nelson and Donald Elliott. In his political views Mr. Smith is a Republican. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order in all of its branches; a charter member of Ben Ali Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., and belongs to the Lions Club. Among his prized possessions are two gold nuggets, weighing together one and thirty hundredths ounces, which were found by his father in 1851. He is a lover of outdoor life, particularly of hunting. He is widely known throughout this section of the valley and to a marked degree commands the esteem of all who know him.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.