Jefferson County Historical Society

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Thomas Smith, foreman of the casting department of the Plate Glass 
Works at Crystal City, is a native of Stratford, on the Avon, England,
born in 1837, and the second of five sons and three daughters born to
Leonard and Elizabeth (Care) Smith, who spent their entire lives in
England, the father engaged in the brewery business.  Thomas left the
parental roof at the age of eleven, and spent three years at such work
as he could find.  He then remained at home for about two years, after
which he found employment at London, and later at Birmingham.  In 1861
he came to the United States, but after working in various places until
April, 1864, then returned to England, coming again to America, however
in November of the same year.  Landing at New York, he made his way to
Pittsburg, started to work in an iron establishment, went thence to
Chicago and accepted a situation as a section foreman on the Michigan
Central Railroad.  He later located at St. Louis, and afterward at 
Crystal City, where he worked several months, and was then made foreman 
of the digging and hauling department of the Crystal Plate Glass Works,
and three years later was made foreman of the casting department, which
position he has since held with credit to himself and to his employers.
There are now between 800 and 900 employed, and he is one of only two 
who have been employees of the works since its origin.  He was married,
in 1873, to Mrs. Elizabeth Bills, daughter of John and Mary Ann Pass,
natives of Yorkshire, England, but who came to the United States in
1867.  They lived for some time in Boston, Mass., but moved from there
to Toronto, Canada, and in 1872 came to Crystal City, where they kept
a hotel, the first one in the place.  Mr. Pass died in 1878, and Mrs. 
Pass in 1876.  The result of Mr. Smith's marriage were the births of
two children: Martha and Mary.  Mrs. Smith's first husband, Stephen
Bills, was born in Manchester, England, and was married in London about
1863.  Two years later they came to the United States, and he was engaged 
as a commercial traveler.  He died in Toronto, Canada, in 1871. Mrs. 
Smith has made eight trips across the ocean.  Mr. Smith is a member of 
the American Legion of Honor, is conservative in his political views, 
and is an honest, upright citizen.  He and wife are members of the 
Episcopal Church.  He has frequently been in the house in which
Shakespeare was born.