O. J. Smyth a resident of northern Wyoming for more than a third of a century, ex-sheriff of Sheridan County and one of the best-known retired business men of the city, died yesterday in Pasadena, Cal., where he had gone to spend the winter. The remains were shipped today and will arrived in Sheridan Monday. From the depot they will be taken to the Elks’ home, where the funeral services will be conducted Tuesday. Dean Edward M. Cross, rector of St. Peter’s Church, and the chaplain of Elks’ lodge, will deliver the funeral address and the ceremonies will be conducted by the Elks’ lodge. Interment will be made at Mount Hope.
Deceased first saw the light of day in the state of Illinois, and that was his home during all his boyhood and until he had attained manhood’s estate. He was 24 years of age when he decided to seek a country where opportunities for young men were more plentiful, and to make his home in the west. At that time Wyoming was on the extreme frontier; the Custer massacre had occurred only two years previous and this section of the country was still overrun by red savages and savage whites. Life was cheap here then and danger lurked everywhere, but this did not deter Mr. Smyth from coming.
E. U. Snyder, an uncle of Mr. Smyth, was at that time manager for J. H. Conrad, post trader at Fort Kinley, and learning of his nephew’s determination to come west, offered him a position. This position Mr. Smyth filled for several years, then, having accumulated some property, he went into business for himself, at Buffalo.
For a time, he operated a livery barn at Buffalo, but later sold out and moved to a ranch near that city. The farmer’s life did not suit Mr. Smyth, and in 1894, he abandoned the ranch and moved to Sheridan. Here he embarked in the furniture business, and later added a line of undertaking goods. For a year his store was in the building now occupied by the Edelman drug store, when he moved into the frame building which stood on the present location of the new Gillette block, where he remained until January 1, 1911, when sold out to C. W. Morgareidge and retired from active business and stock to Freeman & Walsh, and it was the undertaking line only that he sold to Mr. Morgareidge.
On February 24, 1883, Mr. Smyth was married to Miss Minnie V. Lowery, and to this union five children were born, three of whom are still living. Carl H. Smyth, his son, and his daughter, Mrs. Grace Grisinger, were with their father when he died. Dick, the other son, was at Sheridan, and all will be present at the obsequies. All the children are grown and the daughter is married and has two children.
Mr. Smyth was a charter member of the Elks’ lodge at Sheridan, and at the time of his death was serving his three-year term as trustee. He was also a member of the Woodman and Royal Neighbor Lodges, and was formerly a member of the Pythian and Odd Fellows’ Lodges, but had permitted his membership to cease.
For a long time, Mr. Smyth had been in poor health. Last winter he went south and spent the winter months in Louisiana and other southern states. When he returned, he seemed much improved, but when cold weather again came his aliments reappeared and he decided to go to the coast. He left here in November, accompanied by his son, Carl. A few weeks ago, he began to fail rapidly, and his daughter, Mrs. Grisinger, went to Pasadena to help care for him. Mrs. Smyth died 14 years ago and is buried at Mount Hope.
*Sheridan Post, March 1, 1912, page 7 columns 3-4*
A telegram was received about noon today by Dick Smyth announcing the death of his father, O. J. Smyth, at Pasadena, Cal., where he was sojourning for his health for the last three or four years. Last winter he spent in the south and returned to Sheridan in the spring much improved. Last November, accompanied by his son Carl, he went to California to spend the winter. The change of climate failed to be of any benefit to him on this occasion and he gradually grew worse. A few weeks ago, his daughter, Mrs. W. R. Grisinger joined him in California, who together with the son were with him to administer loving care during the last few weeks of his life.
The funeral party will leave California some time tomorrow and will probably arrive here Monday or Tuesday. The funeral will be held under the auspices of the Elk Lodge, assisted by other fraternal orders of which he was a member. The interment will be made in the family lot in Mount Hope cemetery.
Oliver J. Smyth was born December 30, 1854, in the state of Illinois. While he was quite young his mother died and he was left much to the care of strangers; thus, early in life he learned the lessons of self-reliance and independence which so largely influenced his subsequent career. He came to Wyoming in 1878 and since that time until the end of his life he was closely identified with the development of this country. For six years after coming to this country he was in the employ of a post trader near Fort McKinney. He then went to Buffalo and engaged in the livery business. He lived in Buffalo for a number of years and then went on a farm near Buffalo. February 24, 1883, he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie V. Lomery. Five children were born to this union, Mrs. Grisinger, Carl H., Dick, and Clifford deceased, and also an infant deceased.
The family moved to Sheridan in 1894 and opened a furniture store and undertaking establishment. He continued in the furniture business until about four years ago when he disposed of that.
Seven years ago, he was elected to the office of sheriff which be filled with great efficiency for the next two years.
Fraternally Mr. Smyth was connected with the Odd Fellows, the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen and the Royal Neighbors. He was also an active member of the Old Settler club and took a prominent part in all its proceedings.
He is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Grasinger, and two sons, Carl and Dick, Mrs. Smyth having died ten years ago.