This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated

                compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography,

                including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and

                representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle &

                Co., Chicago, 1898. Pages 243-244.


                Scan and OCR by Joy Fisher, 1997. This file may be copied for non-profit

                purposes. All other rights reserved.


                Additional editing by Joy Fisher. The original biography was presented

                as a single paragraph; the biography was broken up into smaller paragraphs

                to improve readability. No information was added or deleted from the




EDWIN W. SMAIL is mayor of the city of Webster, Day County, and is also engaged in the lumber and building - material business. He is one of the foremost citizens of Day County, both in public and private life, besides being well known in most of the surrounding country. Mr. Smail was born at Detroit, Michigan, June 22, 1852, and is a son of William and Hannah (Robson) Smail, the former a native of Edinborough, Scotland, and the latter of Newcastle, England. William Smail was born June 21, 1815, and when a young man went to England, where he married. In 1850 he came to this country bringing his wife, settling in Detroit, Michigan. Later they went to Jordan, Minnesota, where they remained the rest of their lives. Mr. Smail died December 9, 1882, and Mrs. Smail March 27, 1884. She was born July 18, 1812. They had seven children, six sons and one daughter, all of who are now living, with the exception of three of the sons.


                Edwin was the youngest child. He received his education in the common schools of Minnesota, and at Carlton College,. Soon afterward he took a course at a Minneapolis business college, and then engaged with his father in the nursery trade and gardening at Jordan. At the age of twenty-one he went to Minneapolis and established a commission house, handling grain, hay, farm produce, etc. This venture proved successful, and he conducted it for five years, after which he disposed of his Minneapolis business and removed to what is now Webster, South Dakota, arriving there early in the year 1881.


                He took up a claim south of the town site, and also went into the general merchandise trade, besides selling lumber and building materials, the first ever brought to that part of the country. Some time afterward he sold the stock of merchandise, giving all his attention to the lumber business, which he has since carried on. It is now a large and prosperous enterprise, and one of Webster's leading mercantile concerns. In 1891 Mr. Smail purchased the Webster Opera House, which he now owns and controls.


                Politically, he is a stalwart Republican. In the spring of 1897 he was elected mayor of Webster on the Republican ticket, and is still occupying that office. He was for several years a member of the city council, and has held other local public positions. He is a member of the

A.O.U.W., the M.W.A. and the Masonic fraternity, being affiliated with all branches of the latter including the thirty-second degree.


                On the 28th of May, 1885, Mr. Smail and Franc R. Molton, a native of Iowa, were married. Mr. and Mrs. Smail are the parents of one child, Florence, who is now twelve years old.