GEORGE C. SMITH. - The president of the People's National Bank of Kansas City, Kansas, has gained secure status as one of the substantial and essentially representative business men of the metropolis of Wyandotte county, and his personal popularity shows that he has admirably measured up to the gauge of public approbation in the community that is the stage of his activities. He was one of the organizers of the bank of which he is the executive head and it is largely due to his careful and well ordered administration policies that the institution has gained such distinctive success and definite precedence.
George Clarence Smith claims the Hawkeye state as the place of his nativity and thus, in exemplifying the progressive western spirit, he shows that he is "to the manner born," although he was reared in the east. He was born at Osage, Mitchell county, Iowa, on the 6th of June, 1860, and is a son of Hiram R. and Lydia (Culver) Smith, both of whom were born and reared in Chautauqua county, New York, and both of whom now reside at Westfield, that county, within whose borders the respective families settled in the early pioneer days. He whose name initiates this review is an only child, and he has the satisfaction of being a scion of families specially notable for longevity. His father, who was born in the year 1834, was one of a family of ten children, all of whom lived to be more than sixty years of age, and his mother was the fourteenth in order of birth in a family of sixteen children, none of whom died until he or she had attained to the age of sixty years. Hiram R. Smith is a son of Richard Smith, who was one of the pioneers of Chautauqua county, New York, where he erected the first flour mill in the village of Smith's Mills, which still bears the name given to it in his honor. Soon after his marriage Hiram R. Smith same[sic] to the west and established his home in Iowa, where he remained a few years, at the expiration of which he returned to his native state and county and engaged in the retail mercantile business, in which he continued until 1908, since which he has lived virtually retired in that attractive little city, where he and his wife find their circle of friends coincident with that of their acquaintances.
George C. Smith was a child at the time of his parents return from Iowa to Chautauqua county, New York, and he was afforded the advantages of the public schools of Westfield. His initial experiences in connection with business affairs were gained in the capacity of delivery clerk for a grocery store in his home town, where he was later a clerk in a clothing establishment. In 1877, when about seventeen years of age, he secured the position of messenger boy for the First National Bank of Westfield, and through efficient and faithful service he secured advancement to the position of bookkeeper in this institution, with which he continued to be identified until 1882, when he became cashier of the East Hamburg Canning Company, in Erie county, New York. In the winter of the following year he came to Kansas, and on the 1st of January, 1884, he assumed the position of teller of the First National Bank of Ottawa, Franklin county. Here was laid the foundation of his pronounced success in connection with the banking business, as he was advanced to the position of assistant cashier and in 1895 was made cashier of the bank, an incumbency which he retained until 1908, when he came to Kansas City, this state, and became one of the potent factors in the organization of the People's National Bank, of which he has been president from the time of incorporation, on the 1st of January, 1909. The bank bases its operations upon a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, its stockholders are numbered among the most substantial citizens of Wyandotte county, and its management compasses all that is conservative and effective in the matter of executive control. Mr. Smith is also president of the Ottawa Condensing Company, at Ottawa, this state, and is a director and also treasurer of the Bonner Brand Portland Cement Company, at Bonner Springs, Wyandotte county. He is liberal and public-spirited as a citizen and business man and is ever ready to lend his co-operation in the furtherance of enterprises for the general good of the community. That he soon gained secure vantage ground in the confidence and esteem of the business men of Kansas City is shown by the fact that in 1910, within two years after establishing his home in this city, he was elected president of the Mercantile Club, the leading organization of the business men of Kansas City. He is an advocate of the principles of the Democratic party, but has had no desire for the honors or emoluments of public office. He is affiliated with Ottawa Lodge, No. 18, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Ottawa, his former home, and in Kansas City he is an appreciative and valued member of Wyandotte Lodge, No. 440, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, besides which he is identified with the Union Club and the Elm Ridge Golf Club. While not members of a church, the family affiliates with the First Presbyterian church.
On the 31st of January, 1888, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Smith to Miss Laura Patterson, who was born at Bucyrus, the judicial center of Crawford county, Ohio, and who is the third in order of birth of the five children born to Frank and Martha (Pettit) Patterson, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. Mr. Patterson was, when twenty-one years of age, cashier of a bank in Crawford county, Ohio, and thereafter he passed about three years in Hawaii. He then returned to Ohio and after the close of the Civil war he came to Kansas in company with Major Bowels and established his home at Junction City, Geary county, where he became a specially prominent and influential citizen. He was engaged in the merchandise business at that place and also served as postmaster and as probate judge of the county. Both he and his wife continued to reside in this state until their death and their names merit a place on the roll of the honored pioneers of Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two children, Lawrence P. and Margaret.
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