Biography - HENRY SMEETON
Some forty-four years have passed since this worthy citizen of Ottawa cast in his lot with the inhabitants of this little city, and he enjoys the distinction of being one of the oldest business men in the place. His fellow townsmen esteem him highly, and his reputation for integrity and uprightness is something of which he may justly be proud, as it is well merited.
The parents of Henry Smeeton were William and Jane (Berridge) Smeeton, of Devonshire, England. Thomas, a brother of William Smeeton, was an inventor, and an excellent business man. He operated a large factory, where seamless undervests were manufactured. John Smeeton, a relative, was the keeper of the famous Eddystone Lighthouse, which is situated off the south coast of England. William Smeeton was a manufacturer of Brussels carpets. Both he and his wife were members of the Congregational church. Of their live children John and Jane died in England; Harriet is the widow of Robert Scott, and is a resident of Chicago, Illinois, and George still lives in England.
Henry Smeeton was born April 2, 1825, in Northamptonshire, England. His boyhood was happily passed in the beautiful country of his birth, and when he was quite young his enjoyment of music became marked. He made a flute all by himself, and when he had learned to play it he set his heart on possessing a violin, and this, too, came to him in time, and he mastered that instrument. He has never lost his love for music, and many of the happiest hours of his life have been spent in this pastime.
On reaching man's estate Mr. Smeeton concluded to settle in the United States. Sailing from Liverpool, he had a long, tedious voyage of live weeks and two days' duration. Proceeding westward, he arrived in Chicago, then a small city, bearing little promise of the great future in store for her, and there he found employment as a carpenter. Later he became interested in the manufacture of roofing, and has since given much of his time to the development of this line of business. In 1855 he came to Ottawa, and established himself in the manufacture of various articles of hardware, household utensils, roofing, metallic shingles, etc. By judicious methods of transacting his business affairs, and by industry and well applied energy, he built up a remunerative patronage and amassed a competence. Politically he has always been a strong Republican, and keeps thoroughly posted in the history of the world, current events, and matters affecting the welfare of this great republic, of which he is a devoted son and a true patriot. Like his venerated parents, he attaches due importance to religion and everything else which tends to develop the better part of man's nature, and for years he has been a member of the Congregational church.
The marriage of Mr. Smeeton and Miss Eliza Crowden was celebrated in 1850. Their three daughters are Susan, wife of D. B. Snow, a leading attorney of Ottawa; Louisa, who married Rev. Mr. Paisley, a Presbyterian minister; and Anne, wife of William Paisley, now the business manager in the factory established here by our subject. Mrs. Anne Paisley is a very successful and popular musician and teacher of the art, and apparently inherited her talent from her father. He looks on the bright side of things, and by his genuine optimism sheds an atmosphere of cheer and pleasantness wherever he goes.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 153-154.