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Smith, George

Was one of the proprietors of the Indianapolis “Gazette,” the first newspaper and the first printing establishment of any kind in Indianapolis. 

       Mr. Smith was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and learned his trade in the office of the Lexington “Observer,” in Lexington, Kentucky.  After his apprenticeship was out he went to Cincinnati and worked with Charlie Hammond, in the office of the Liberty Hall and Cincinnati “Gazette”  He lived at several different places in Ohio as well as Indiana before he came to this place in December, 1821.  In January, 1822, he, in connection with his step-son, Nathaniel Bolton, issued the first number of the “Gazette.”  Their office was in one corner of the cable in which his family lived.  This cabin was situated near by a row of cabins built by Wilmot, called Smokey Row, west of the Canal, and near Maryland street.  From this cabin the “Gazette” was issued for the first year, then taken to a cabin on the northeast corner of the State House Square.  This paper, after changing proprietors and editors, and name and location several times, we now have in the shape and name of the Indianapolis “Sentinel.”  Mr. Smith was the first to start a real estate agency in Indianapolis, as will be seen by his advertisement in the “Gazette” of 1827.  He was afterwards elected associate judge and served two terms.  He and Governor Ray were the only persons that wore their hair plaited and hanging down their back, in a cue.

       The Judge had some difficulty with a lawyer named Gabriel J. Johnson.  The lawyer got the Judge by the cue and for a while had him in chancery, but the Judge rallied his “strength” and administered to the lawyer a second threshing.  He was a man of warm feeling and devotion to his friends, and would go any length to serve and accommodate one.  He cared nothing for money or property, further than to make himself and family comfortable.  He had but one child, to which he was devotedly attached.  She is now the wife of my nearest neighbor, Mr. William Martin.  Her first husband, Samuel Goldsberry, is spoken of in another place.

       After Mr. Smith had sold his interest in the “Gazette” and had quit the printing business, he bought the farm where the Insane Asylum now stands, and named it “Mount Jackson.”  He continued to live there with his wife until the time of his death, which was April, 1836, at the age of fifty-two years.  His numerous friends regretted his death.  His loss was deeply felt by the poor, to whom he was ever liberal and kind, treating them with the greatest respect.

Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp. 91-92