Our native village in 1912 was not unlike many Ontario villages. Situated on the line of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, it had excellent train accommodation. Its places of business embraced five grocery stores, one hardware store, a jewelry store, bakery, harness shop, butcher shop, tin shop, three general stores, two barber shops, shoe stores, five blacksmith shops, implement shops and other lines of business. During this year the council laid a mile and a half of new cement sidewalks, a marked improvement over the old plank walks of the past. At this time the population of the village was boo.
During this year the Agricultural Society, established fifty years previous, added new buildings and improved the exhibition grounds. The Officers for the year of this Society were:A. J. Nevills, President, and W. F. H. Patterson, Secretary. Mr. Patterson has held this position in the Society for a number of years and has been a hard worker in the interests of local agriculture.
The village had one Banking Institution, the Union Bank of Canada, which was under the management of Mr. C. Brooke Marsland, an English Banker of genial disposition, who succeeded Mr. J. Gordon Moffat. The most important asset of the village, next to its educational institutions was its public library, which was located in the Martin Block. Mr.J. M. Martin was librarian. This library was built up from a very small beginning by the untiring efforts of Mr. W. F. H. Patterson, Mr. John Roberts, Messrs. Robert and Ellis Murgatroyd, Mr. Jerry Collins, Rev. F. D. Roxburgh and other citizens of the community. Mr. Frank Roberts was the municipal clerk, filling that position in a very efficient manner. The municipal council consisted of the following:
Charles Grassie, Reeve. Mr. Grassie had resided in the village for twenty-two years. He was elected to the position of Reeve three times by acclamation. He also held the position of Deputy-Reeve for several years. He was a carriage manufacturer and blacksmith, and also conducted a lumber business. He was a member of the High School Board and in religion was a Presbyterian. Mr. Grassie was a man who held the respect of the community.
A. D. Middaugh as a member of the council, was highly respected. He was a capable administrator of Municipal affairs.
Ithamer Nelson was a member of council for several years and was a progressive and highly respected farmer.
A. G. Boulter was a successful business man and a capable councillor.
Jacob Morley, another member of council, was proprietor of the Smithville flour mills. He was well and favorably known.
Smithville had no less than five churches:Methodist, whose pastor was Rev. Dr. Scanlon; Presbyterian, Rev. Alex. Wilson; Disciple, no regular minister; Anglican, Rev. W. G. 0. Thompson; Roman Catholic, Rev. Father Kelly.
The Principal at the High School at this time and for ten years previous was James Tremeer, a man of sterling character and outstanding ability as an educationalist.
The High School Board at this time was composed of the following: J. A. Schnick, merchant tailor; G. L. Griffin, farmer; W. B. Shrum, coal merchant; T. N. Vance, retired farmer; E. W. Murgatroyd, Private Banker, and J. S. Davis, barrister.
Some of the principal industries were:S. W. Woodlan’s foundry and machine shop. This business was an old established one, owned and managed by Mr. Woodlan who was the inventor of one of the best farm discs that has been placed on the market. Mr. Woodlan was a man of genial disposition, christian character and a highly respected citizen.
Mr. W. E. Sheppard conducted a repair shop. He is a man of considerable ability as a machinist, and is well-known in Smithville.
Robert E. Book conducted a planing mill. He is a young man of thrift and progress.
In agriculture Smithville can boast of having one of the most successful and efficient fruit and vegetable growers in Ontario. Mr. George Adams, whose farm is situated on the Twenty Flats above the village, is the best posted man in fruit and vegetable cultivation in the county. His years of study and experiments in plant life have made him an authority on their growth and development.
This brief chapter, picturing Smithville in 1912, will enable the reader to note the progress made in the ten years following and may profitably be compared with the chapter on Smithville in 1922.