Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Walter H. Smith, one of the best known and most progressive of the young orchardists of the Watsonville neighborhood, was born on the well kept place on which he now lives, a mile east of the city of Watsonville, and has lived there all his life. He was born October 30, 1889, and is a son of Clement and Elizabeth (McLean) Smith, both natives of the Dominion of Canada. The father was born in the province of Ontario and died at his home on the ranch adjacent to the city of Watsonville in 1921, he then being eighty-six years of age. His widow survived him a little more than two years, her death occurring in November, 1923. She was born in the province of Nova Scotia.

The late Clement Smith was for more than forty years a resident of the Watsonville neighborhood. His mother died three days after his birth, and his father died when he was eight years of age. He was taken into the home of others but conditions were so unsatisfactory to him that long before he had attained his majority he "ran off" and was for years thereafter a sort of rover, coming to the United States and working at such labor as his hands found to do throughout the east, middle west and south. In time he settled down to the carpenter's trade, which vocation he followed for some time in San Francisco after he became a resident of California. He worked for four years on the Santa Clara College. It was along in the middle '70s that Clement Smith came to California, coming around by way of the Isthmus. In 1880 he removed to Watsonville and bought the tract of thirty-eight acres on which his son Walter now is living and there established his home, he and his wife spending the remainder of their lives there. They were the parents of four children, of whom the subject of this biographical review was the last born, the others being Florence, wife of Fred Corsen of Oakland, California; Mrs. Belle Gardelius, who is now living in San Francisco; and Genevieve, who died at the age of seventeen years.

Reared on the home farm in the immediate vicinity of Watsonville, Walter H. Smith received his early schooling in the schools of that city and supplemented this by a course in the business college. From the days of his boyhood, as the only son of the family, he gave his active attention to the labors incident to the development of his father's fruit growing interests and thus early became a thorough and practical horticulturist. His father had begun his operations there as a berry grower, raising the first blackberries in the district, but presently turned to other fruit and the orchard he set out is now one of the best in the locality. After his marriage, at the age of twenty-four, Walter H. Smith continued to reside on the home place, taking the active management off his father's shoulders, and since the latter's death has been in proprietary control. Having made numerous improvements, he now has an admirably kept and well appointed orchard and all his equipment is in up-to-date order. In politics he is a republican.

It was on the 9th of June, 1913, that Walter H. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Agnes J. Silvarer of Watsonville, who is the seventh in order of birth in a family of nine children. Her parents, Charles and Jane (Dowden) Silvarer, were pioneers of the San Andreas district, where the father developed a fine valley farm of one hundred acres. Both are now deceased. Mrs. Smith takes a practical interest in horticulture and has ever been a real helpmate in the operations of the orchard plant.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.