PIONEER SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
ANNUAL MEETING OF 1899
MEMORIALS REPORT-MICHIGAN PIONEER COLLECTION
VOL.XXIX 1899-1900; PAGES 84-86
William Oden Hughart is dead. After nearly four score years of a busy life, the veteran railroad president passed away May 30, 1899. The members of the family were all present and the end came quietly and peacefully, as gently as the waning of the twilight.
William Oden Hughart was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1825, which made him 74 years old at the time of his death. He lived in the Blue Grass state until he was of age, and was admitted to practice at the bar there. Soon after attaining his majority he moved to allegheny, Pa., and, while he moved from one city to another in that state, he remained within its borders until he came here. Immediately after settling down in Allegheny he was again admitted to the bar to practice, but soon after was compelled to give up his legal work on account of ill health. He next undertook the construction of the first telegraph line into Pittsburg, for the firm of Morse & Kendall, and sucessfully managed it. The telegraph system was new then, and he naturally became much interested in it. Later he was employed by the firm of Clark & Thaw, heavy frieght traffic people, as their auditor, after which he undertook the construction of the Pittsburg & Connellsville road, first being its manager and then its president. While in Pittsburg, Mr. Hughart married Miss Sarah Page. He was connected with the Pittsburg & Connellsville line until it became a part of the Baltimore & Ohio, after which he was for a short time preseident of the Southern Security company, having about 2,700 miles of road.
Mr. Hughart came to Grand Rapids in 1874 as president of the Grand Rapids & Indiana, in which position he remained until April 1, 1894, when he retired from active work on account of ill health. For the past few years he has spent his winters at Zellwood, Fla. His wife survives him, and he leaves the following children, all residing here:
Miss Kate Hughart, Mrs. William S. Howard, James Hughart, W. O. Hughart Jr., Oliver O. Hughart and John H. P. Hughart, general manager of the G. R. & I.
Reuben H. Smith, one of the oldest pioneers and respected citizens of Grand Rapids, died Nov. 19, 1898. The announcement of his passing to the other shore will come as a shock to the many old residents of the city, everyone of whom was a friend of the fine old gentleman.
Mr. Smith was 82 years of age, having been born on September 7, 1816, at Hamilton, Mason County, N.Y. He came to Michigan in 1838 and moved to Grand Rapids in 1848, when he was elected clerk of Kent County. To this office he was twice re-elected. His marriage occurred in 1852, and was with Miss H. Annette English of Boston, Michigan. Mr. Smith held the office of justice of the peace in 1844, of supervisor of Caledonia in 1848, and of supervisor of Alpine in 1856. In November, 1874, he ws elected superintendent of the county poor, and he continued in that position for 12 years. From 1872 to 1876 he was a member of the board of education. For 19 years he was secretary of the Old Residents' Association of the Grand River Valley. HIs standing in the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens was well exhibited in the esteem they imposed in him in his election to many places
of trust the past 45 years.
Mr. Smith was, during the latter part of his active life, extensively interested in real estate; he bought and sold a great deal of farming land. Mr. Smith leaves a widow and three children, David E. Smith, the Rev. Reuben S. Smith and Mrs. William B. Bernard, all of Grand Rapids.