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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Dr. George Smith

Dr. George Smith

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

Dr. George Smith (1843), son of Benjamin Hayes and Margaret (Dunn) Smith, was born in Haverford township, Delaware county, February 12, 1804. He was educated in the schools of the neighborhood of his parents' residence, and the noted boarding school of Jonathan Gause, in Chester county. He entered the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating therefrom in the class of 1826. Possessed of liberal means, he practiced his profession actively only for a few years, when he devoted himself to a life of public usefulness. In 1832, he was elected State Senator, and was re-elected in 1834.

During the Anti-Masonic movement in 1835, Dr. Smith was one of its strongest supporters. In 1835, he was chairman of the Committee on Education in the Senate, and was one of the foremost advocates of the proposed system of free public education. When the bill drafted by Dr. Smith finally passed the Senate, March 11, 1838, the vote was 23 to 1, Charles Miller, of Philadelphia, being the only Senator who voted against the measure. At that time, Dr. Smith was an Associate Judge of the Courts of Delaware County, a position to which Governor Ritner appointed him in 1836, but he devoted much of his time, when not in the discharge of judicial duties, to securing the passage of the school bill. In 1854, he was elected the first superintendent of the Public Schools of Delaware County, and for a period of a quarter of a century, he served as president of the school board of Upper Darby. In the agitation for the removal of the County Seat from Chester, he was the recognized leader of the movement, and was active in the building of the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad, serving as president of the public meeting held in 1850 in Delaware county in its interest, and was a member of its board of directors. He was an incorporator of the Delaware County Mutual Insurance Company, and a director of the Delaware Insurance Company, of Philadelphia. He was president of the Delaware County Turnpike Road from its inception in 1845 until the fall of 1881.

In 1861, he was elected Associate Judge, and served until 1866. He was the founder of the Delaware County Institute of Science, and for more than forty-eight years was its president. He was a member of the Philadelphia Medical Society, contributor to the Pennsylvania Hospital, member of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, and corresponding member of the New England Genealogical Society.

In 1862, he published his able History of Delaware County and in 1843 he published a history of the great rain storm and flood which occurred in Delaware county on August 5, of that year. In 1835, his unanswerable report upon the quality of the stone taken from the quarries along Ridley creek, caused the United States authorities to withdraw the order which had excluded the output of these quarries from being used in the building of the Delaware Breakwater. He prepared a memoir of John Morton, which was read at the Congress of Authors, assembled in Independence Hall, July l, 1876, the centennial of the adoption of "The Resolution Respecting Independency." Dr. George Smith died in Upper Darby, March 10, 1882, aged 78 years.






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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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