Mr. Frank and Mrs. Laura Smith

It was reported in the Negro Trailblazers in 1917, that Mrs. Frank A. Smith moved from Colorado to Allensworth in May 1910. The Smiths, according the Beasley, were among the first families to settle in Allensworth. Frank, an ex-slave and native of North Carolina, was the first Smith to make the westward trek. He later persuaded several of his brother’s, (Joe Smith) children to relocate to Colorado. But only one, Winmark, followed him west to Allensworth.

In Colorado Springs, Frank operated a successful trash and ash collection business. The first of his nephews moved to Colorado Springs because his growing bsuiness needed additional laborers. Winmark Smith Sr., a native of Clinton Mississippi and the son of an ex-slave, arrived in Allensworth and moved into Frank’s home, in 1912 with his two young sons, Paul and Winmark. Winmark made the move after his wife Sarah’s death. Before relocating, Winmark visited Allensworth, probably sometime in late 1911. When he returned with his family in the Fall of 1912, his Uncle Frank had died. Winmark Sr. found work in Tulare leaving his sons with their great-grand Aunt Laura.

During the seven years the boys lived in Allensworth, they spent the summer with their dad in Tulare. For about two school terms toward the end of the decade, Winmark Sr. made arrangements for the boys to board with Mrs. Gross. At the end of the 1919 school term, when the boys were 11 and 13, their dad moved them to Tulare and assumed responsibility for their full time care. Frank resided in Allensworth less than two years before his death on November 8, 1911. For at least six months of his residence, he was under a physician’s care for a cardiac disorder.

Nothing is known about the life of Mrs. Laura Smith, Frank’s wife, before her time in Allensworth. She was a resident and active community member until 1935/ For a period around 1914, she served as president of the Women’s Improvement League. She held a four-year appointment as school trustee. As a member of the Allensworth Cemetery Community, she helped create a protected cemetery district and went on record in 1918 as one of the District’s three trustees. The cemetery district established by Laura Smith and her colleagues has been a protected property for sixty-five years.

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