Thomas B. Smith, a well known and prominent citizen of Shasta County, came to California in 1853. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, March 10, 1844. His parents, Asa and Jane Smith, were natives of Tennessee. His father died when he was a child, and his mother married a second husband, with whom she and Thomas B. came to California. He was only nine years old at that time. Three years afterward, in 1856, his mother died. He remained with his step-father two years after her death and then started out in life for himself. The family had settled in Jackson, Amador County, and Mr. Smith was reared in the mines. Much of his life since then has been spent as a miner. After leaving home he mined in the summer, in Nevada County, and went to school in the winter. With others he became interested in the Hudson River Mining Company, went in debt, and, as the enterprise proved a failure, he lost not only the money he had invested but also a year and a half’s time.
In 1863 he enlisted to help put the rebellion in Company I, Seventh California Volunteer Infantry, for three years or during the war. After they were drilled they were ordered to Arizona to fight Indians, to their great disappointment, instead of being sent to participate in the war for the Union. In 1865 they were returned to San Francisco and honorably discharged. Mr. Smith then went to Moore’s Flat, Nevada County, and engaged in hydraulic mining, continuing there until March, 1867. At that time he came to the western part of Shasta County, and engaged in mining.
December 5, 1867, Mr. Smith wedded Miss Martha A. McFarlin, a native of Wisconsin, and a daughter of Mr. George McFarlin, a California pioneer. Their union has been blessed with five sons and two daughters: George T. and Samuel E., born in French Gulch, Shasta County; Burton L., Hattie, Fred, Nellie and Harvey were born in western Shasta.
Mr. Smith takes a prominent part in fraternal societies. He has been through all the chairs in Odd Fellowship; a D.D.G.M., and as such instituted Lodge No. 271, at Redding, and No. 254, at Anderson. He has been a member of the Grand Lodge for sixteen years. He is also Past Patriarch and a member of the Grand Encampment. Is Past Master of Clinton Lodge, F. and A. M., and a member of Shasta Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of the United Workmen and the Grand Army of the Republic. In politics he has been a life-long Republican. In 1880, 1881 and 1882 he was County Deputy Assessor under W. S. Kidder. In 1882 he was elected County Clerk, and in 1884 he was re-elected for a second term, by a majority of 443. After having served two terms he was succeeded by Albert F. Ross, and was appointed as his deputy, which position he now (1890) fills. At the general election held November 4, 1890, he was elected to the office of County Assessor.
Mr. Smith is a man of excellent habits and good business ability. Two of his sons have grown up to be honorable young men, and hold positions of trust and responsibility in the city of Redding.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler, July 2004.
SOURCE: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1891. pg. 318-319.