Smith, William Hutton

(Jeanne W. Smith)

Bio Photo

William Hutton Smith

William Hutton Smith, youngest son of William Smith and Sarah Hutton, was bom 24 Mar 1837 in Bugthorpe, Yorkshire, England. He came to Winneshiek Co. in 1855 with his mother and five sisters, following his older brother George William who had arrived in 1852. He never married and lived with his mother and two unmarried sisters, farming the 40 acres purchased by his mother in Canoe Twp. After his mother's death in 1862 William continued to acquire land in the Upper Iowa River valley until he owned almost 750 acres by the turn of the century. He also owned two houses in the city of Decorah, one of which was located on Water Street where he made his home the last several years of his life. Much of his farm land had been sold by the time he moved into town.

After his sister, Matilda, died in 1913, William put into action a plan the two of them had discussed prior to her death — building a hospital in Decorah. He donated $10,00 from her estate and some of his own funds towards the construction of the Decorah Hospital which at that time was known as Smith Memorial Hospital. The 22 May 1913 issue of the Decorah Journal printed a letter from him stating the terms of his gift which reads: “I stated some time since that I would give $10,000 towards founding a hospital in Decorah. The offer is this: That when a subscription of $15,000 is obtained I will deposit $10,000 in the Citizens Savings Bank to be my part of $25,000, when $15,000 more is deposited for the same purpose; that those contributing to said fund are giving the same and should not receive any dividends therefrom. I think the contributors should form a corporation to carry out the intent of their contributions. Signed William H. Smith.” The funds were raised and the hospital opened for business 1 Nov 1914. Business must have been slow, because an advertisement for the hospital appeared in the 1 Apr 1915 Decorah Journal listing the prices for rooms. For one week, including meals and all care, rooms went for $15, $18 and $20! (Many hospitals were charging extra for food at this time.) For major surgery a $10 fee was charged for the operating room. For minor surgery the charge was only $5.

William Hutton Smith died 16 Feb 1916. Twenty-five nieces and nephews were remembered in his will (14 of them were living in Winneshiek Co.), with legacies to family members totaling almost $30,000. The remainder of the estate went into a trust to support the hospital. His obituary in the Decorah Republican of 24 Feb 1916 states that "many who had known Mr. Smith only as a speaking acquaintance learned through his interest in the hospital that under a rough exterior he concealed a heart that was warm in friendships and human sympathy. Mr. Smith possessed a keen mind, and took particular delight in problems of an intricate mathematical character. Frequently he offered prizes for the solution of examples and was never happier than when some boy or girl gave the correct solution.” Mr. Smith also appeared to be a very precise man, leaving quite explicit instructions in his will regarding his final interment. He states, ‘‘I direct the Decorah Furniture Company to be and act as undertaker at my funeral and is to furnish for same a solid mahogany casket and a Baker's steel burial vault. I further direct that my executor is to have a slab of cement placed over my grave three feet deep and ten feet long at the bottom and eight feet long at the top, to match the cement foundation on which the monument now stands. The contract for placing the cement is to be let to James Price and it is further requested that he place on the monument already erected, the date of my death.”

William Smith’s obituary in the Decorah Public Opinion dated 23 Feb 1916 states “the deceased’s record was a commendable one is attested to by all who knew him since boyhood. We heard a gentleman remark the other day who had known him since he came to Winneshiek Co. that Mr. Smith was a man about whom no one could say a derogatory word and he knew of no one who ever did. 'Uncle Billy’ as he was affectionately known to all of us will be greatly missed, but his clean life and good deeds will live as a benediction."

Smock, Robert and Reva (Kadlec)

(Robert and Reva Smock)

Robert Hayes Smock and Reva Kae (Kadlec) Smock came to Winneshiek Co. in 1961.

Robert, the son of Clair and Lucille (Liddy) Smock, was born in Hawkeye, IA. Robert was the youngest in the family of three. LaVae “Smokey” Smock married Jean Hammel on 20 Sep 1985. He lives in Decorah. His sister, Jannan, married John Malanaphy on 24 Oct 1949. John passed away 18 Jan 1985. Jannan had lived all her married life in Decorah. She now resides in Monona, IA. Both his brother and sister have large families.

Robert's father, Clair was a barber all his life in Clayton Co. and Decorah. Clair’s brother, Lester was also a barber in Decorah. Bob's nephew, Dennis, is a barber in Decorah and Bob barbered in Decorah for many years until he moved his barber shop to Ossian, IA in 1980.


Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included.

See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021