Caleb Smith

Published: Times, April 22, 1926

CALEB SMITH, one of McLeansboro's best known and best loved citizens is dead.  He passed away at his home in the east part of the city Sunday morning, April 18, at 2 o'clock, the cause of his death being uremic poisoning followed by hemorrhages.  In his passing, his fellow townsmen feel the keenest sense of loss, for he was a man who had no enemies and a host of friends.

Mr. Smith was born in the Province of Baden, Germany on November 11, 1846.  When he was but five years of age, his parents emigrated to the United States for the purpose of assisting in the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad.  Making port in New Orleans, they gradually worked northward with the progress of the road until they reached Decatur, Ill., where they family settled.

Mr. Smith was married in 1869 at Danville, Ill. to Maria Fitzpatrick, who passed away in July, 1917.  To them were born four children, all of whom survive, Mrs. Nellie M. Hassett and Miss Genevieve Smith of McLeansboro; Louis Leroy Smith of Decatur, Ill. and Harry of Huntington, Ind.

In March 1883, Mr. Smith came to McLeansboro, and soon thereafter established the first and only cigar factory ever in McLeansboro.  He conducted this business for a number of years until forced to quit because of his health.  He then went into the brickyard business, and for twenty years was one of the leading brick makers in southern Illinois.  Many of the business houses and homes of McLeansboro, including the A. G. Cloud residence, were constructed from the brick he made.  He closed his kilns during the fuel conservation period of the War, never to be reopened.

One of the greatest diversions of Mr. Smith's life and at which he was an expert, was that of a firefighter.  Before coming to McLeansboro, he was a member of the famous Rescue Hose Company No. 1 of Decatur, Ill, which at one time was awarded the United States Championship.  With F. W. Robinson and Frank Chapman, he organized the first volunteer fire department in McLeansboro, and for many years was chief of the department.

Although small in stature, Mr. Smith was every inch a man.  In his later years, he was often referred to by his acquaintances as a jolly little old man, for he possessed that rare blessing, a wonderful sense of humor.  He never met a friend without a twinkle in his eye, a beaming smile on his lips, and a cheery word of greeting.  All of his life, even up until a few years prior to his death, he was an athlete of exceptional ability and took a keen interest in all lines of sports.  He created a sensation by diving from a height of twenty feet into the waters of Lake Decatur at Decatur, Ill.

In summing up the life of Caleb Smith, it can be truthfully said that here was one man that came as near living an ideal life as any man we have ever known.  Besides the above named children, he is survived by fourteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren and many other relatives.

Funeral services were held at 9 o'clock at St. Clement's Catholic church.

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