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A Guide to the Jefferson Davis Smith Papers

Finding aid created by Rachel Walton

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
November 2007

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smith, Jefferson Davis, 1861-1939
Title: Jefferson Davis Smith Papers
Dates: 1899-1917
Abstract: Business correspondence of Jefferson Davis Smith, a prominent businessman, banker, and railroad builder of Marianna, Florida.
Extent: 0.8 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: MS 92
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Born on May 10, 1861 in Thomasville, Georgia, Jefferson Davis Smith was the son of a Methodist preacher, Milton C. Smith. His ancestors were prominent figures of early Methodism in both Georgia and Florida, his grandparents being among the first settlers of Atlanta. As a youngster he was not in good health and did not graduate high school due to the fact that he could not be confined within the school house. By the age of twenty, while still ailing, Smith had secured a contract for railroad building in Pensacola, Florida.

In 1881, he recovered from his illness and began conducting a general merchandising business in Marianna involving furniture, wagons, carriages and hardware. With success, Smith began branching out and soon conducted business in towns in both Alabama and Georgia. On May 25, 1885 Smith married Elizabeth Lee Hentz. In 1904 he organized the Citizen's State Bank of Marianna, acting as its president. Smith also occasionally wrote for the Pensacola Journal and was a strong vocal advocate of purification of politics. Notably, Smith was also one of the first promoters of Florida tourism, stressing that more should be done to advertise the beautiful landscape and desirable climate.

J.D. Smith died of a heart attack on Wednesday, May 10, 1939 in Marianna, Florida on his seventy-eighth birthday after delivering an address in the courthouse calling for a new city charter.

Sources: The Florida Historical Society. Makers of America: Florida Edition, vol. II. Atlanta, Georgia: A.B. Caldwell, 1909. "J.D. Smith Dies Here Suddenly." Marianna Times. 12 May, 1939. Volume I, page 1, 8.

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of the business correspondence of Smith's many companies, which dealt with an array of merchandise including furniture, wagons, carriages, hardware, and railroad supplies. Of particular interest is Smith's correspondence with Senator W. H. Milton concerning business in Marianna. Senator Milton served from 1908 to 1909 and was, himself a Marianna native. A receipt book from 1928 is also included in the collection. The collection spans 1899 to 1917 and is arranged in chronological order.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Jefferson Davis Smith Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Contents List

1 Correspondence. 1899-1903
1 Correspondence. 1904
1 Correspondence. 1905
1 Correspondence. 1906
1 Correspondence. 1907
1 Correspondence. 1908
1 Correspondence with Senator W.H. Milton. 1908
2 Correspondence. 1909
2 Correspondence. 1910
2 Correspondence. 1911
2 Correspondence. 1912
2 Correspondence. 1913-1915
2 Correspondence. 1916-1917
2 Miscellaneous
2 Receipt Book. 1928

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Florida -- Economic conditions.
Marianna (Fla.)

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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