Biography of Alice Gregg Smith, 1974

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    Genealogy record of Alice Gregg Smith
    Newport, Washington

(Notes by Brian Smith, January 2001: This article appeared in a newspaper, probably the Newport Miner, in July 1974. I transcribed it from an original clipping of the newspaper article lent to me by Alice Leola Smith Chrysler. The article has a number of punctuation errors, which I have left uncorrected. The time references in the article suggest that Leola wrote the biography in 1968, six years before its publication.)


Mrs. Alice Smith, 66 Years Resident,
Has Led a Busy, Useful, Helpful Life

This story is about Alice Smith, a 66 year resident of Newport, who is currently recovering from a slight stroke in the Newport Nursing Home.

(By Leola Chrysler)

When Alice Smith arrived in Newport Oct. 15, 1908 on a Great Northern train, after paying a fare of $30 for a one-way ticket from Manistique, Mich., and half that fare for her eight year old son, William, jr., the outlook was poor.

It was raining with snow and slush on the ground and proved to be a gloomy and lonesome winter for her, surrounded as she was by bad weather and dreary-looking western pines.

It was discouraging except for the birth of her daughter, Alice Leola on Sunday, Dec. 6, but when her husband, William Earnest, arrived from Michigan in the spring, everything seemed to brighten.

The following year the family built a home near the present location of the Catholic church. It was necessary to buy cordwood that was on the lot in order to purchase the land. This place is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Arden Jones.

In a few years Mrs. Smith became known for her successful gardening and at one time placed first in a Newport garden competition. Ralph Isaacs, (now living in Spokane) placed second, and Mrs. G.A. Elstrom, third. The Aug. 15, 1918 edition of the Newport Miner states: "Mrs. Smith was given first because she had utilized her ground to best advantage and had produced most on the amount of ground used."

One of Newport's first community clubs was the "Civic Improvement Club" of which Mrs. Smith was a member. Meetings were held at the city hall. Other members included Mrs. Talmadge, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Sidney Rogers and Mrs. Moeser, sr. Playground equipment was purchased for the school through efforts of this club.

This hard-working woman sold garden produce for years to help provide and educate her family. She was often employed as a clerk in her stepfather's confectionery store located next to Tulles Drug store (now Akers Drug). She also served as waitress in several local restaurants and did part time work in a local theatre managed by Val Howland.

As a young woman Alice was very active in Baptist church work and was baptized by immersion in the Pend Oreille river. She later transferred membership to Hope Congregational where she later became less active but continued her faith, raising her children in the church.

For 20 years she cared for her mother, Susan Pierce, who at 70 years of age, lost both legs in an accident on the Milwaukee railroad crossing in 1923. Both she and her mother were members of the first Grandmothers' club organized here.

Her husband, a retired mill-worker and Spanish-American war veteran, died 20 years ago. She lost her son 11 years ago. She has lived at 612 South Union Ave. since 1923.

About 20 years ago Mrs. Smith was given the highest award that can be given by the Rebekah lodge, the Decoration of Chivalry, awarded to members for service they render for others outside the Rebekah lodge.

In spite of her busy home life she found time and spirit to help many others and for years has visited and taken flowers to the local hospital and provided sprays from her garden for many funerals.

"Mind over matter" has graced her with much activity. At the age of 80 she turned a backward somersault. During the first part of April she demonstrated her keenness of mind and body by modeling as a "hippy" at a style show given by the Rebekah lodge of which she is a long-time member.

She continues making crocheted rugs and with her pleasant outlook, expert care and the good wishes and prayers of many friends, she can now look forward to her 89th birthday next Nov. 24th.


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