Autobiography of W. E. Smith.

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Autobiography of William Edward Smith

Covering the years 1875 to 1934, written 1949

W. E. Smith

W. E. Smith


Preface to Web Version

My great-grandfather wrote this autobiography in the 1940's and 50's. It covers his life from 1875 to 1934. My mother's cousins Laura Cline and Christine Hunt compiled this autobiography along with some old letters, lots of old pictures, and some items in a scrap book into a book called "Will and Annie: Family Glimpses of Another Era". They printed 45 copies and distributed them earlier this month at the Smith Family Reunion at the Rio Bravo Resort in Bakersfield, California. I plan to make a digital version of that book, and this autobiography is just the first step.

Laura and Chris gave me this document in Microsoft Word format, and I have made some slight changes to make it into a web page. I split Chapter 3 into several web pages, and labeled them. Will's original is just one long chapter, with no section headings. I also included the Endnotes in the text, in blue.

Here's how I fit in to the family: William and Annie Smith had a son, John Needham Dudley Smith, my grandfather. Dudley married Dorothy Fern Byram, and their youngest daughter, Esther, is my mother. Esther Lois Smith  married Mark Lee Weathers, and I am their oldest. I plan to have more detailed genealogy information included on this page at some point, but for now, this just includes the autobiography.

--Matthew Weathers, Feb 26, 2000

Will's Autobiography (Preface in "Will and Annie" book)

Here is Will's autobiography as faithfully as we could reproduce it.

He seems to have handwritten his entire autobiography before beginning his revision process. We know that he began writing in his seventies, as he mentions having met Annie "over fifty years ago". He was working on the revisions in 1949, for he mailed Chapter 2 to his children with the dated cover letter reproduced on the next page.

The autobiography as we received it consisted of his handwritten draft, several typed versions of the preface and the first two chapters, pages 15-37, and one typed draft for most of the remainder, pages 28-60. For the last six pages we had only his handwriting.

The words are all his. In editing the first two chapters we chose the wording and arrangement which we believed to be the clearest and richest. When there was only one typed draft, we limited our editing to punctuation and paragraphing.

--Laura Cline and Christine Hunt, 1999

Letter from W. E. Smith to his children

385 So. Madison, Pasadena.
November 16th 1949
To My Dear Children

  Enclosed you will find Chapter Two of my Auto Biography which I have been working on for some time past. I am sure there were many interesting episodes in my childhood days which did not get due recognition in these lines. My experience and practice on this writing machine are not what I would like, but I know you are all broad minded and although I have hit lots of wrong letters I hope you catch the spirit and have a good time chuckling over Grand Pa's adventures. It still is time for suggestions as to any anecdotes, adventures, accidents, love affairs, disappointments, surprizes, lost opportunities, faded aspirations, hear aches, chivalry, child impressions of the Ranch, of Long Beach, Burbank or Hollywood.

  As Raph says, "I think my grand children will get a kick reading what sort of a fellow their great grandfather was." Please excuse typographical slips, misspelled words and punctuation marks. It might have been worse at least it has been written by my living hands. I hope "MY POEM" will be received with as much interest as I have in it. I have tried, lest you should miss que, to sort of sumarize a few of the outstanding episodes etc. and make them immortal "through verse", I hope you get it. "Please omit flowers".

With my Best Wishes and MAY GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU



(Hand-written at bottom of typed letter)
Dear Chales and Marion

We are looking for you Saturday evening when I will be pleased to receive your congratulations on my "poetry???"

Love Pop

Auto Biography


I am about to start my autobiography and in so doing I am very conscious of many pitfalls and hazards awaiting me. Therefore it behooves me to give a word of warning to those who find time and interest to read these memoirs. Without prejudice whatsoever I think I am free to use the same names into which each one was baptized, and which is good enough for me.1
1. The following paragraph, from an earlier draft, did not appear in the final copy: To "work up" some of the happenings, anecdotes, accidents, occasions, worshipful hours, and periods of reproof and correction, etc., it may be necessary to use a few illustrations with some embellishments. Also it is my hope to make this effort a short one and prove to the assembly I can be brief when occasion demands it.  The illustrations I have selected should be viewed with such imagination as to appreciate my ambitions, although some of the pictures are embellishments and are not to be taken too seriously
Family trees are invaluable at certain times and most important in establishing legacies derived from ancestors. My limit of this ancestral root-bound dead tree is about the only evidence of such a tree, and any light I may shed on the past ages is cheerfully chronicled herein.

[Next: Chapter 1]

Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Aug 29, 2009.