Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Brother Before Me

George Wellington Smith was the son of Eliud Wellington Smith (1869-1932) and his wife Anna Josephine Coughell (1876-1966). Eliud and Anna's firstborn was also named George Wellington Smith. This earlier George was born in Thorold, Ontario, Canada on 18 September 1893 but died when he was just a few months old on 18 February 1894. According to one of Eliud and Anna's children, Mabel Smith Westfall (1906-2001), her Smith grandparents "had a little house with a cemetery where my mother buried her first child." (See the Ontario, Canada: Smith et al page for additional information on the Smith family).

The second George was born 21 November 1903 likely in Ontario, Canada. A record of his birth is not readily found in's Ontario Births 1869-1911. His sister Mabel was born in April of 1906 in the town of Stamford in Welland County, Ontario, Canada. 

I have no pictures of George. The best I can do is a photo of his tombstone. He was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Canada. His parents were buried near him.

And here is all I know of his life and death:

WCHOB First Building (after 1906)
“George Eliud [sic]. My brother before me. He died. Got burnt. He was born about 1904, died when he was 10 years old. Died in Children's Hospital in Buffalo. He was with a bunch of city people and they had a great big tent and they were having a cookout and a big party that night. A doctor's family that lived near us. They all went in to supper and he said he'd light the torches. They had big sticks with stuff filled with kerosene and he was going to light the torches and one fell over. At that time, they had heavy underwear and stuff like that and somehow or other the flames went up his leg and burned al his leg. He was in the hospital with a burnt leg. He was ready to come home, Dad and Mom went up the night before and he said, 'Can I go over to Canada and see Grandma when I get out?' and they said, 'Sure.' And they came home and they no sooner got home when they got a call he'd passed away. Another nurse came in and gave him another shot of chloroform or whatever they used then and he never came out of it. They could've sued the hospital but my dad wasn't like that.”

--From an oral interview with Mabel Smith Westfall, 18 August 1993.

Other family notes indicate that George's death occurred on 10 September 1914 in Buffalo, New York. I believe the accident may have happened in the town of Concord in Erie County, New York. The family was living in Sardinia, Erie County, New York by 1920. Their father was indexed under “Elind” Smith.  

There were twelve children altogether in the family. Here is a digital image of a photograph showing Eliud, Anna and eight of those children which was probably taken around 1923 (the youngest child James shown was born in July of 1920 and looks to be around the age of 2 or 3):

Eliud & Anna (Coughell) Smith family.
(l to r): Maude, Mabel, Marge, Eliud, Anna, Marie, Ruth, Eliud, Earl, Jim

Another son of Eliud and Anna, Edward Eliud Smith, was killed in France during WWI (see this post here). The eldest daughter Grace is also missing from the photograph. She was married by then and had a daughter just a year younger than James. Grace and her husband Theodore Westman lived next door to her parents during the 1930 U.S. Census on Transit Road in the town of Clarence. 

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