Harvey Smith
Harvey Smith

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

HARVEY SMITH was born in Middlesex Co., Conn., July 29, 1796. He is fifth child and fourth son of Michael and Mary (Hall) Smith; the former, a native of Connecticut, - a shoemaker by trade, - was a soldier in the war for independence, and acted as a privateer; lost one of his legs in an engagement on Long Island Sound. He died in East Hampden, Conn., March, 1828, at the age of sixty-nine. The latter was also a native of Middlesex Co., Conn., and died at the age of seventy-three, about the year 1843.

Mr. Smith's opportunities for an education from books were very limited. At the tender age of eleven he left the parental roof to care for himself, and at the age of sixteen engaged as a weaver in a woolen mill, and remained there until after the close of the war (January, 1815). The same year he came to Rensselaer County, was with Gibbs & Hurlbut, of Nassau, for one year as a weaver, and in 1816 he became a clerk in the grocery store of his uncle at Utica; and after some three years spent in other business in the western part of the State, he came to the city of Troy, September, 1820. For one year he was with Townsend McCoun as a teamster; for two years a porter in his store; from this he engaged in the truck business with Mr. Raymond, which was carried on under the firm name of Raymond & Smith" until 1831, when he had accumulated sufficient to begin business, and entered a partnership with Joseph A. Wood in the grocery business. The firm of Smith & Wood did business until 1850, when his partner left the concern, and Mr. Smith carried it on for another year, and disposed of the business. In 1852 he entered the firm of Wager, Richmond & Smith in the manufacture of stoves, which continued business until 1855, and Mr. Smith formed a copartnership with his son-in-law, with the firm name of Smith & Sheldon, and about three years later the firm became Smith, Sheldon & Co. and continued until 1860, when he retired from the active duties of life. This is another example of a struggle with poverty in early life, resulting in a successful business career by perseverance and care.

Mr. Smith has been a voter for threescore years, was in council, in the earlier days of his life, with the Silver Gray Whigs, and never identified himself, subsequent to the disorganization of the Whig party, with either the Democratic or Republican parties. For eleven years in succession he acted on the board of water commissioners, beginning with the year 1855, and for the same number of years he represented at different times the Second and Third Wards in the City Council as alderman, and for many years was one of the directors of the Bank of Troy.

In the year 1825 (December 19th), he married Jane, daughter of Mordecai and Catherine Jane (Anderson) McLeod, of Broadalbin, Fulton Co., N. Y. Her father was a native of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, who came to this country as a soldier in the English army, and served under Gen. Burgoyne at the battle of Saratoga. She was born Aug. 19, 1804, and has been a member of the Baptist Church for fifty years. They have an only daughter, Mrs. Frederick A. Sheldon, of Troy.

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