by Laurel | August 17th, 2009
August 17, 1907, page 10
First Mayor Under New Charter — Well Known Physician Succumbs to Attack of Bright’s Disease.
Dr George Herbert Smith, a former mayor of the city and one of its prominent physicians, died at his home at 317 Maple street shortly after 11 o’clock yesterday morning of Bright’s disease, having been confined to his bed for the past four weeks. He was born In Chicopee Falls July 4, 1840, and was the son of Edmund H. and Lucy Blanchard Smith, being the eldest of three children. While a small boy his parents moved to northern New York, where they lived about five years, coning in 1852 to South Hadley Falls, where Dr Smith received his early education under charge of George Brooks. He attended Wesleyan academy in Wilbraham, graduating from that institution with honors in 1861, and in the same year began the study of medicine with Dr R. T. Chaffee of Hartford. Ct.
In September, 1862, he enlisted as a private in the 25th regiment of Connecticut volunteers and was detailed on special service in January, 1863, when the regiment was stationed at Baton Rouge, being quartermaster-general in the ambulance corps under command of Surgeon Rogers. He returned again to his regiment in April, the surgeon of which had died and the second assistant being unfit for duty, he was appointed assistant under First Assistant Surgeon Woods, who was later promoted to the full rank. He was present at the battle, of Port Hudson, Irish Bend, Franklin and Donaldviille, and on June 17, 1863, he was captured by the confederates while at the Linwood hospital, but on the enemy’s being driven back, he was released. He was mustered out with the regiment August 25. 1864, end be then resumed the study of medicine and entered Bellevue Hospital in New York city and was graduated March 1, 1865. He practiced in Connecticut for a year, leaning that state for Sycamore, Ill., where he remained a little over a year. While there his marriage occurred, his wife being Miss Marcia Ada Babcock. a niece of Mr. and Mrs. James Waterman, who were prominent residents of that place. The wedding took place June 8, 1869.
Soon after they marriage Dr and Mrs. Smith removed to Holyoke, where he bought the practice of Dr Newport and opened an office in the building at the corner of Dwight and Race streets. The couple hoarded at the old Sawin house on Main street for two years, after which they began housekeeping at the corner of Race and Spring streets. In 1886 he removed his office to the Clough building on High street. and the same year he built his present home on Maple street, removing his office there in 1897. In 1874-6 he served as a member of the common council from ward 2, being the president of the body during the last year of service. He was a member of the board of aldermen in 1876-8, and had served 20 years on the school board. He had previously declined to run for the office of mayor but in 1896, at the solicitation of his friends, he consented and became Holyoke’s first mayor under the new charter, receiving a large majority over ex-May Connors. Under the new charter, which had not then been tried out, the office of mayor was no sinecure and Dr. Smith put in a hard year trying to put things on a proper basis. The powers of the board were not fully understood and friction arose between the city officials so that he was defeated for re-election. Whether he felt his defeat keenly is not known, as he made no sign, but he did not wish to run for re-election and his name was put up against his earnest wishes.
During his many tears in public office in the city he served the municipality with honesty of purpose and his record wass one of the best. He established a large practice in the city and was considered one of its best physicians, making a specialty of obstetrics and children’s diseases. He leaves besides a widow, two daughters, Mrs. Lucy C. Burgin and Miss A. Mae Smith. He also leaves two sisters, Mrs. J. L. Hodge of Holyoke and Mrs. E. A. Stephens of Shelburne Falls. The doctor was a member of the Shriners, the Masonic lodge, Kilpatrick Grand Army post, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Royal Arcanum and of the Bay State and Pequot clubs. The funeral arrangements will be announced later. He had been in failing health for the past year, but had not entire, given up his practice until about four weeks ago, when the stage of his disease became critical and he began to fail rapidly.
The funeral will be held at his late home, 317 Maple street, to-morrow afternoon. The burial will be in the Forestdale cemetery.
From The Springfield Republican.
[For another biography of George H. Smith, check out the 1879 entry in History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts]