Smith Family History

Circa 1900 Minerva Harmon Oliver (Mrs. Gilbert H.) Smith. Caption on back reads &quote.Grandmother Minerva Smith, wife of Gilbert Smith&quote. The Smith family has been fishing the fresh waters of New York and the North American Great Lakes since 1848. While the Smith Bros (brothers) business spread as far as California - most of the history that follows is wrapped up and around Port Washington Wisconsin - the town that I, my father, and my father's father all lived in for much of our lives. These pages attempt to get down on digital "paper" some of the stories and history of the Smith Family.

Gilbert Smith (right) who founded the now ghost town of Amsterdam, near Cedar Grove (Wisconsin) with his wife Minerva Smith (left) (was Oliver) and whose sons established the famed Smith Bros. fish and restaurant business in Port Washington and California. This is our history.
Gilbert Smith who founded the now ghost town of Amsterdam, near Cedar Grove (Wisconsin), and whose sons established the famed Smith Bros. fish and restaurant business at Port Washington.

I am going to keep it simple for right now. Right now it is in chronological order. Note: I use a lower case "c" (for "circa") after a date as a short hand notation that indicates I do not know the exact date. If you know, please let me ( know.

Search just the Smith History pages:
Date (range) Title Additional description Format
Various Smith Family Geneology We keep our the geneology side of the family history at The link to the left will start you at Delos H. Smith. Move up or down the family tree. If you see something wrong... fix it! Web content
Various Smith Family Photo Album Various photos of the Smith Family and friends over the years. Images
Various Smith Family Movie Album A collection of "home movies" of the Smith Family and fishing history. Video
Various Masons, Eastern Star, DAR, and as members of the community Many members of the Smith and related families are currently or have been in the past very active in a wide variety of civic and social organizations. This page documents these associations. Web content
1848 (to ????) Commercial Fisherman since 1848: A history of Smith Bros. This is just a draft of what it shall become - a history of the Smith Bros. Fisheries and family. Help!!! Web content
1852 to 1900 The origins and demise of Amsterdam, Wisconsin Below is a series of articles and newspaper clippings that detail the origins of the Amsterdam Wisconsin community that thrived in the mid-1850s. This history is strong with Glibert H. Smith and the origins of the Smith Bros. Fishing enterprise. Images of news articles and research
1920c (to 1989) Smith Bros. Whitefish Caviar The Smith family whitefish caviar recipe was developed by Delia Wassink Smith in her kitchen back in the circa 1920s. Smith Bros. produced its own whitefish caviar through the decades until the 1989. Here is the story. Web content
1939 (to 1988) Smith Bros. Fish Shanty Restaurant menus Coffee 5 cents. Perch sandwich 15 cents!!! Includes a short Smith Family fisheries history on the back of the Marine Tavern drink menu. Images
Various Flotsam and Jetsam - A collection of Smith Bros. logos The Smith Bros. family was as industrious with their brand image as they were with fish. This is a collection of billboards, flyers, matchbooks and anything else that would hold the image of the "Man with the fish". Images
Various Smith Bros. family innovation and patents The Smith family has been quite inventive over the years. As they moved from a family that fished... to one that integrated a vertical empire around fish (from the catching, processing, wholesale, shipping, retail and restaurants)... they faced problems that had not yet been solved. As the idiom goes "Necessity is the mother of invention." PDF
1892 Jul Gilbert H. Smith Obituary A Neighbor for over Forty Years - Gilbert H. Smith; Sheboygan Harold Article
1913 Dec Minerva E. Smith Obituary Passing of a pioneer - Minerva E. Smith; The Port Washington Star Article
1918c Lester H. Smith's personal log of his second of three trips across the Atlantic during WW I Enclosed is the personal log of Lester on his second trip from New York harbor to France delivering troops and cargo for the war effort. About a month or two before the log Lester writes home and tells of the preparations of getting a ship ready that will carry 3000 soldiers to France. Web content
1929 Save All but 7 Off Sunken Senator The Senator and Marquette collision in a dense fog October 30th, 1929. Article
1933 Twenty-Seventh Anniversary of Steamer Atlanta Disaster Captain Delos H. Smith Tells How He And His Crew Rescued 74 from Burning Ship. The Sheboygan Press Article
1938 Lester H. Smith Obituary and eulogy. Obituary of Lester H. Smith. Died April 14th, 1938. This now includes the original copy of the eulogy read at the Port Washington Masonic Temple. Article
1940 Delos Smith Obituary Obituary of Delos Smith. Died February 21st, 1940. Article
1943-1944 How Many Fish Eggs are in an Ounce of Caviar?: The Little Joys of Owning a Business A series of letters that were received by Smith Bros. that wanted to find out exactly how many eggs in a jar of caviar and if the act of making the caviar interfered with the love life of the Whitefish. A must read! Text and Images
1944 Sept Wisconsin's Oliver H. Smith Proves a Fast Tug A series of article on the launching and technical features of the Oliver H. Smith. Articles
1945 Jun Smiths Catch Lake Fish for 99 Years A very good article in the Milwaukee Journal that covers the history of the Smith Family as told by stories from Oliver H. Smith. Article
1946 Jan Planes Find Missing Smith Fishing Tug The Smith Brothers fishing tug Wolverine II was located by coast guard search planes eight miles east of Sheboygan shortly before noon Wednesday. Tugs directed to the scene reported that the crew was safe. Milwaukee Journal Article
1948 March Bringing Fish To The Pacific Adventures in Business. Half-news, half-advertising for the new Smith Bros. Fish Shanty restaurant in Walteria California. Features Oliver H. Smith and Evelyn C. Smith. Business flyer
1949 May State Fishery Pickles Caviar Milwaukee Journal article on the booming business of Whitefish Caviar and that Smith Bros. packing is the largest in the USA ("This side of the iron curtain") Article
1949 June Fish Shanties At Amsterdam Sheboygan Press Article
1950c Fish Shanty Showmanship Inventive ideas brought to successful realization by Miss Evelyn Smith, who shuttles between the two California restaurants while her brother, Capt. Oliver Smith, carries on the commercial fishing business started by their grandfather in 1848. Article
1954-55 Fish Shanty fire and rebuild A series of photos of the 1953 November 17th fire and 1954 rebuild of the Port Washington WI Fish Shanty Restaurant. Photos
1955 Grand Opening of the new Smith Bros. Fish Shanty Restaurant, Port Washington, Wisconsin After the devastating fire that gutted the original Fish Shanty building in 1953... the Smith family digs deep and rebuilds. Here is a full page newspaper advertisement of the event. Article
1958 History of Commercial Fishing on the Great Lakes "It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to tell you about the commercial fishing business, especially as it concerns the Great Lakes..." as told by: Oliver H. Smith, President Smith Bros. Fisheries. A great and detailed treatment of the history of fresh water fishermen and their tools from 1840 to the 1950s. Historical document
1960 July Heroic Rescues: Frank the Horse, Atlanta, Senator Ozaukee Press. Port Washington's 125th Anniversary special edition. Frank the Horse - a must read! Article
1960 July Port Washington's Maritime History Ozaukee Press. Port Washington's 125th Anniversary special edition Article
1960c A Lifetime of Achievement (Evelyn C. Smith) The Columbia Heritage Collection wrote an article on Evelyn C. Smith and her early days at Columbia learning the craft of nursing. Article
1964 Leota Samantha Cooley Smith Memories Attached are the memories of Leota Smith (was Cooley) born 1897 Feb 02. Leota was the wife of Oliver H. Smith. PDF attachment
1966 Nov Boatloads of Chubs Head for Dinner Table The Milwaukee Journal. Full page article with photos of the Smith Bros. fishing and chub processing and smoking. Article
1967 Jan Winter Storm swept harbor for final 1966 jolt on Dec. 28 Ozaukee Press. 12 Photos showing the sinking of the Bert S in December of 1966. Lincoln D. Smith was there when the Bert S sank and adds his experience. Article
1967 New Yacht Arrives Ozaukee Press. Oliver H. Smith's pride and joy - the Ollie. Also read the exciting story of the maiden voyage of the Ollie as told by Lincoln D. Smith which helped pilot the Ollie from New York City to Michigan alowith Ned Huwatchek. This is a must read. Article
1967 Oct Smith Bros. Makes Fish A Real Treat Milwaukee Sentinel provides this nice article that mixes a bit of Smith Family history and a current (1967) snapshot of the family business. Article
1968c It's Pumpkin-Head Time Again Smith Bros. Indian Village manager Virginia Haack opens the annual Pumpkin-Head Halloween contest. Large scary knife is included. Article
1970c A partial history of John Harmon family from the time he first came from England 1635. Also the genealogy of John Waugh born in 1687 in the north of Ireland Five pages of history of the Harmon and Waugh genealogy are scanned in as an image. This was prepared by Arlisle M. Smith and is part of her evidence for entry into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Unknown date of origin. Images (of text)
1972 Oliver H. Smith and Evelyn C. Smith: Speaking at Ozaukee County Historical Society Oliver H. Smith and Evelyn C. Smith were recorded speaking to the Ozaukee County Historical Society (Wisconsin). The main topics were two ship wrecks that happened in Lake Michigan right off the coast from Port Washington, Wisconsin. The steamer Atlanta fire that occurred March 18th, 1906. The Senator and Marquette collision in a dense fog October 30th, 1929. Audio
1973 May Oliver H. Smith Obituary Ozaukee Press Article
1973 Aug 125th Anniversary of Smith Bros. Fisheries: 1848 - 1973 Ozaukee Press Article
1976 Smith Plots New Courses Milwaukee Journal. Nice article on Lincoln D. Smith, President of Smith Bros. Article
1976 Evelyn C. Smith: Milwaukee Journal: Port Washington To France And Back Milwaukee Journal Article
1976 Dec Ozaukee Press Bicentennial Collection Ozaukee Press's Bicentennial Collection. Interesting historic pictures submitted by Smith Fisheries to this special edition of the Press. Article
1977 Oct Rainstorm Lashes Lakeshore Milwaukee Journal. A terrible wind and rain storm lashes up and down the coast of the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. The casualty this time were the sailboats moored in the Port harbor before the protection of the small boat harbor. Article
1977 Dec The Fisherman Who Became A Symbol Great Lakes Fisherman. Short article about the unknown identity of the famous Smith Bros. "Man with the fish" logo. Richard D. Smith also provides a second image of a fisherman with a sturgeon over the shoulder. Article
1979 Feb A historical account of research and development of the use of livers from the fresh water burbot My interest in burbot, or freshwater ling, was in my early days when, as a child, I saw my father slap a large-white burbot liver onto the kitchen wood burning stove... Evelyn C Smith takes us through the history of Smith Bros. Burbot Oil (think cod liver oil) industry. Historical document
1980 May Everything is Shipshape at Smith Bros. Fish Shanty A very glowing review of the Smith Bros. Fish Shanty restaurant by a Milwaukee food critic. Article
1984 Smith Bros in Port Washington (waitress training) Lloyd Smith tells that this document was given to all newly hired waitresses at the Smith Bros. Fish Shanty restaurant in Port Washington, Wisconsin. They were expected to read it and, if asked, answer questions from the patrons about the restaurant, the Smith family, and it's history. Historical document
1985 Evelyn C. Smith Memoirs Maxine Louise Smith (Keller) interviewed Evelyn C. Smith in her nursing home near the end of her life. She is often considered the matriarch of the Smith Family. Just brief highlights of her life would include serving in World War I as a nurse, running the very profitable Smith Bros. caviar business and restaurants, and the inventor of the fish sandwich. A bonus handwritten notes for a devotion to be given at the United Church Circle Meeting 1973 December 15th. The topic was based upon her first hand experiences serving as a nurse in World War I in France and a "false armistice". Audio, images
1985 Storm damages Sea Wall Fierce southeast winds created high waves Monday that opened this 40 foot gap in the sea wall adjacent to Smith Brothers Fish Shanty Restaurant in Port Washington. Article
1986 The Family of Warren Cooley: Pioneer of Ozaukee Country Wisconsin Esther A. Savage researched Warren Cooley and his family in 1986 for the Ozaukee Country Historical Society. PDF attachment
1986 Evelyn C. Smith Obituary Ozaukee Press Article
1986 Evelyn C. Smith - Smith Bros, founder plays hostess even at final hour Milwaukee Journal's article on the passing of Evelyn C. Smith. "She left a note that the minister found.", said one relative. "It said something like, 'When I die, the party's on me. After the services, just tell 'em the meal's on Evelyn'." Article
1990c Delos Smith a Hero In Atlanta Rescue Not sure of the newspaper that carried this story. But, the by line is from Rick Smith, Marine Historian. Rick is not related to this Smith Family. Article
1990c The Historic Early Commercial Fisherman of Sheboygan County Unknown publication (not a newspaper). Very good and detailed assessment using census data of early fishing families of Sheboygan County. Gilbert Smith is mentioned. Article
1991 Sep Hope Huwatschek Obituary Ozaukee Press Article
1994 Jun Smiths Expand Business A nice article about the next generation of Smith's taking over the family business. Ozaukee Press Article
1998c Every Day Is Fish Day Ozaukee Press. Nice article on both Smith Bros., represented by Bert Smith and the Ewig Bros., represented by Gene Ewig. Article
1998 Aug Herbert Smith was a leader of Port Washington fishery Milwaukee Journal Sentinal obituary of Herbert Smith. Article
2006 Lincoln Delos Smith 80th Birthday pictures 66 pictures of Lincoln Delos Smith's life scanned to digital. The scanned pictures are all available as one big zip file of over 175 MBytes. Images
2010 Ned Huwatschek's Birch Point History The Smith Fishery remains a landmark on Bete Grise. Smith grandson Ned Huwatschek relates the Smith Fishery story for The Superior Signal. Article

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  • Created 2008Jan06
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Would you like to contribute?
Some quick "standards" to reduce the back and forth as you submit items. I will, of course, accept any and all formats.

  • Scanned is best (I use 300 dpi). Remove photo from "corner holders" if you can. Any format. Cropped, if you can. Black and white converted to greyscale. Do not compress (if possible). I will compress and scale as necessary.
  • Provide date or best estimate of date.
  • Identify the location, event, and the people. Why was this picture taken!!!??? Any written text on the back should be transcribed.
  • For people: First MI Last. If they changed their name add (was Smith) or (now Rego).
Written stories
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  • Make sure people are identified as above (once). Then use nicknames (Aunty A).