William Downs Comer Smith, district accountant of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company, at Topeka, is a native of Maryland, having been born at Baltimore, Dec. 26, 1863. He is the son of the Rev. Samuel Henry Clay Smith, a Methodist minister, who also is a native of Maryland, having been born in Kent county, that state, on Nov. 25, 1828. He is now a resident of Asbury Park, N. J., where he lives retired, full of years and honor. He is the son of Samuel Smith, and was twice married. His first wife was Mary Elizabeth Wise, a native of St. Mary's county, Maryland, where she was born in 1833; she died in 1874, at Philadelphia, survived by her husband and four children: William Downs Comer, the eldest; Samuel W., a Methodist minister, and the present pastor of the Eighteenth Street Methodist Episcopal Church of Philadelphia, Pa.; Mary Alethia, the wife of Henry Elwood Flinn, of Lancaster, Pa.; and Rebecca Jane, the widow of George W. Cornelius, and resides in Chicago. After the mother's death Rev. Samuel H. C. Smith married Mary A. White.
The father being a minister, the family moved frequently during the boyhood of our subject but his youth, for the most part, was spent in the city of Philadelphia. He was educated chiefly in Rugby Academy, at Philadelphia, but subsequently took a course in a business college, upon the completion of which course he entered the employ of the Philadelphia & Reading railroad as a clerk in the office of the auditor of the freight traffic department, when he was twenty years of age. He continued in that position four years, and then, in 1887, came west to St. Paul, Minn., where he entered the service of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway Company, as a clerk in the comptroller's office. In 1889 he became a clerk in the general auditor's office of the Missouri-Pacific Railway Company, at St. Louis, Mo., which position he held fifteen months, and then went to Chicago, where he took a position in the office of the auditor of disbursements of the Illinois Central Railway Company; later he was promoted to be chief clerk in the same department. In 1903 he entered the employ of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company, and has continued in its employ since that time. From 1903 to 1905 he was a clerk in the office of the auditor of disbursements at Chicago; from 1905 to January, 1908, he was traveling accountant; and since January, 1908, he has held his present position.
On June 20, 1899, Mr. Smith wedded Miss Emma Bartels, a native of Chicago, where she was born, March 20, 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have three children: Carl Bartels, born July 24, 1900; Samuel Downs, born Nov. 28, 1902; and Merle Louise, born May 2, 1909. In politics Mr. Smith is a Republican, is a Mason, and a member of the Topeka Commercial Club.Pages 744-745 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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