Randolph Smith, prominent in real estate circles in Clay county, and for
the past thirty-eight years located in Flora, Illinois, is one of the
well-to-do men of Clay county who have achieved large and worthy success as
a result of their own efforts, unaided by outside influences of family or
fortune. Beginning life as a poor boy, Mr. Smith has been especially
fortunate in his business ventures, and now has large investments in stocks
and bonds and is one of the big financial men of his district.
Born in Marion county, Illinois, on May 31, 1849, Randolph Smith is the son of Willis and Cynthia (Jones) Smith, the former a native of South Carolina and the latter of Tennessee. "Willis Smith was a farmer and stock-buyer. He came to Illinois in 1832 and located in Marion county, where he bought a farm, living there until 1849, at which time he went to Missouri. He then started for California, but died on the way to that state. He was tax collector of Marion county in 1847, and during the panic of that year he disposed of much of his property to pay taxes for his neighbors and friends. His death occurred in 1850. He was a son of John R. Smith, a planter, who was born, reared and who died in South Carolina. The maternal grandfather of Randolph Smith, of this review, was born in Tennessee. He came to Illinois in 1833 and settled in Marion county, where he died in 1836 after a life of worthy endeavor and accomplishment. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, through which he served with honor and distinction.
Randolph Smith was educated in Clinton county, Missouri, and in Clay county, Illinois, coming to the latter place in 1868. He taught school for one term after finishing school, after which he became connected with the circuit clerk of the county as his deputy. He was three years in that position, leaving it to take a clerkship in the First National Bank of Flora of which he became cashier in 1878, and remained thus until 1900, when he was elected president of the bank. Six years afterward he took charge of the Breeze Trenton Mining Company, with head offices in St. Louis, Missouri, remaining there until 1910, and for one year (1907) he served as president of the Illinois Coal Operators Association, and is still a member of the executive committee of that body. In January, 1911, Mr. Smith formed a partnership with Robert S. Jones and they engaged in the real estate business, with investments as a side issue to the business, and they have conducted a thriving business since that time, with every indication for a brilliant future for the new firm. During the years of Mr. Smith's connection with the First National Bank he was particularly successful, as he has been in all his business ventures, building up a strong and substantial institution. He still retains an interest in the bank and in the coal mining at Breeze, as well as in many another enterprise of equally prosperous nature. Mr. Smith is a member of the Masonic fraternity, being affiliated with the chapter and the Knights Templar. He is past master of Flora lodge, No. 154, and is a most appreciative member of the order. He has been an adherent of the Republican party since 1884, and has done good work for the cause on many occasions. He is a colonel on the staff of Governor Deneen, and served in a like capacity on the staff of Governor Tanner and of Governor Yates. Altogether, Mr. Smith is one of the most influential men of Clay county, as well as one of the wealthiest.
In 1873 Mr. Smith was united in marriage with Ximena Hanna, the daughter of William II. Hanna, a lawyer of Clay county. In 18U9 she passed away, leaving her husband and four children, the names of the children being as follows: Carroll, a practicing physician in St. Louis; Madora, who became the wife of Franklin A. Bond and live in Chicago; Claude E., in a railroad office in Flora; and Ximena, who married Roy L. Metcalfe, of Missoula, Montana. In 1908 Mr. Smith contracted a second marriage, when Margaret Finty became his wife. She was a daughter of John Finty, an early settler of Clay county. She died in 1910. Mrs. Smith was a communicant of the Roman Catholic church, while her husband is of the Methodist faith.
Extracted 09 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1269-1270.