The accompanying articles on J. Burritt Smith and his wife, Marcia, are reprinted from materials sent by the Smith's great-grandson, John B. Snell. Burritt's obituary is drawn from the 8 January 1915 Vindicator, a Prohibition newspaper published in Venango County, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Smith's article is undated and unsourced but appears to be a publication of the Wisconsin WCTU. Marcia Smith died in 1925. Snell also sent a copy of a newspaper article by Burritt Smith, in the 13 October 1911 Vindicator. Smith can be seen to have been an excellent writer.
||Jabez Burritt Smith (1852-1914) was Chairman
of the Wisconsin Prohibition Party in the earliest 20th Century.
He ran for Governor of Wisconsin about 1900. A biography of Smith
was published in issue #2 of Prohibition History Notes.
It appears that all library holdings of The Vindicator have been discarded. Snell searched diligently for a set and could not find any. The source clippings are preserved in his family archives.
J. Burritt Smith sails on
J. Burritt Smith, late state chairman of Wisconsin and known everywhere there are Prohibitionists, ceased from his labor and sufferings at 3 o'clock this morning, December 31, 1914. He will be buried in his home city of Madison on Saturday. He died expressing his regret that he could not live to fight out the fight to which his life has been devoted.
Mr. Smith was born at Sherburne, New York, on March 17, 1852. When he was a little boy, his parents removed to Minnesota, then the far frontier of civilization in the Northwest. After some years of pioneer life, they moved again to River Falls, Wisconsin, where he was educated in the public schools and later graduated from the State Normal School of Minnesota at Winona.
He began life as a teacher, at the early age of seventeen, teaching for three or four years before entering the Normal School, and afterward was principal of schools at Carver and Moorhead, Minnesota, for several years. In 1876 he married Miss Marcia A. Bradford of Hammond, Wisconsin, also a teacher. To them were born three sons.
In 1880 Mr. Smith turned to the practice of law and was admitted to the bar. He was a member of the law firm of Baker & Smith in Hudson, Wisconsin, from March 1881, to February, 1888, when he withdrew to take up the work of secretary of the Prohibition state committee of Wisconsin and became the law partner of T.C. Richmond of Madison, who was then chairman of the party's state committee. He remained in that firm until August 1, 1900. At about this time he was nominated by the Prohibitionists for governor of Wisconsin and made a strong campaign. Later he took into partnership a rising young lawyer in Madison, Mr. Herbert S. Siggleko.
Mr. Smith was recognized throughout Wisconsin as an able lawyer, but the major part of his life-work was done in connection with the Prohibition movement for which he was a constant worker and writer. His book, ŒHigh Joe,¹ is perhaps better known than any other part of his work, having been very widely sold. His articles in The National Prohibitionist and The Vindicator have also been widely read and much appreciated. His close, hard thinking has had as much to do with the shaping of party policies during the last ten years as has any other one influence perhaps more.
Prohibition question were exhaustive and were embodied in a book, "The Unconstitutionality of Liquor License Laws," which was nearly ready for publication when his health broke down. Prohibitionists who have examined the manuscript of that book pronounce it a masterpiece. He was also working upon another book, "The Socializing of American Institutions," which he left nearly completed.
Recently Mr. Smith served for more than five years as chairman of the Prohibition party of Wisconsin and to his hard work in that capacity his untimely death may probably be attributed. He took the office at a time when he was just recovering from [tuberculosis] and often worked far beyond the limits of his strength. Wisconsin and the Prohibition party throughout the United States owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Mrs. Smith and two sons survive and will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends.
Mrs. M.A.B. Smith
By Mrs. L.A. Hodge, State Superintendent of Evangelistic Work
Marcia Alice Bradford was born in the town of Homer, New York, and came west, when quite young, with her parents, who settled in Kenosha county, Wisconsin. A few years later they removed in the famous "prairie schooner" to Hammond, St. Croix county, where she grew to womanhood.
Her father was Levi G. Bradford, a native of Plymouth, Mass., and a direct descendent of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. Her mother was Tryphena M. Gill, of New York State. The home circle consisted of the above, and three brothers and three sisters.
Very early she showed marked ability in her studies, being called by her father "my literary lady," and by her schoolmates "Miss Dictionary." She began teaching at the early age of fifteen, but later went East to school for several years. On her return home, she resumed teaching and was soon known as one of the most successful teachers, being ever able to inspire her pupils to the highest and best endeavor.
This work she continued until her marriage in 1876 with J. Burritt Smith, who is well known not only as a successful lawyer but a strong and pleasing writer, being the author of "High Joe" and "Barriers Broken," two very excellent stories.
At an early age she united with the Congregational church of Hammond, and also became an active member and worker in the Good Templar order. In spite of numerous home cares, she found time to study, and in 1891, graduated from the C.L.S.C.
Being deeply interested in temperance work, early in her married life she enlisted in the W.C.T.U., of which great organization she has been for years an active and influential member, having served for ten years as district president and is now county president of Dane county and state superintendent of Christian Citizenship and Legislative work. In all this work she has been loyally supported by her husband who has been no less active in the prohibition causes..
She is constantly called to various counties to aid in convention work, and speak on the theme that has enlisted her best life efforts. Many have been inspired by these labors and her friendship to stronger and more faithful endeavor in the great battle against America's destroyer.