History of the Restoration Movement

George Washington Smith


Biographical Sketch On The Life Of George W. Smith

The work of the Lord is of such a nature that it takes all kinds of servants to do the work. The work of the church is similar to the work of the physical body. There are many members in our physical body, and each member has its place and work. Seldom, if ever, can one member of the body be made to do all the work of any other member. Sometimes one member of the body may do part of the work of some other member, but God intended that each member fill its place. This is true with respect to the work of the church. No one member can do the work of another member or take the other member's place; no member of the church can say that another member is not needed, or that the work which that member can do should not be done. When we study the biography of the servants of God, we see the importance of each doing his work. There was a great work in West Tennessee for G. W. Smith to do, and he did his work.

G. W. Smith was born on January 2, 1840, in Weakley County, Tennessee, near Dresden. He was one of a large family of children. His parents were poor, but honest and industrious. All of the neighbors in that vicinity were on an equality, so far as this world's goods are concerned. They could sympathize with each other with material things. They learned how to be in want and how to economize. Young Smith was reared in the Methodist faith. He became a member of that religious body in early life. He accepted the religion of the community without examining the Bible. How sad to think that so many good honest people have been satisfied with the inheritance of the religion of their parents or the community in which they lived! There were no schools of importance in his community at that time, and he had not the means to go away from home to school. Even if there were schools he had not the time to attend. His labor was claimed as a support in part of the family. All the children began work as early as they were large enough to go to the field.

Through the poverty and dependence upon God for daily bread his father's family was deeply religious, and all of the children imbibed the spirit of piety in that home. G. W. Smith learned early in life to "commit his way unto the Lord." He grew up in the Methodist Church and continued in that religious body until he was about forty years of age. In 1885 he was baptized into Christ by Brother Tom Fowler. Brother Fowler did much for the cause of Christ in that county. He was an uncle of Brother Smith. Brother Smith continued faithful as a member of the church for several years before be began to take public part. He saw the need of teaching the word of God, and, though late in life, he felt the responsibility of preaching the gospel to others. His education was limited and gospel preachers of ability did not frequently visit that section of the State; hence he did not have the advantage of learning from them. However, he availed himself of every opportunity to prepare himself as best he could to preach the gospel. Brother Smith did not become a famous preacher in the eyes of the world; but he did become a faithful preacher of the gospel in the humility of his own life and in the love that he had for the truth of God. Through his influence one of his brothers, S. W. Smith, also became a preacher of the gospel. His brother went to Texas in early life and did most of his preaching in Texas and New Mexico. Brother S. W. Smith at one time was president of Lockney Christian College, Lockney, Texas.

Brother G. W. Smith did the most of his preaching in Obion, Weakley, and Dyer counties. He confined his labors to West Tennessee and largely among his acquaintances. He lived such a life that his neighbors and relatives had confidence in him, and he had influence over them for good. His preaching was done at mission points in those counties and among the weak congregations. A number of congregations were established through his labors. Brother Smith was a farmer and never gave his full time to preaching. He reared a large family and preached as opportunity was given to him.

Perhaps the greatest work that Brother Smith did was to train his boys in the fear of God and to encourage them to preach the gospel. Three of his sons became preachers of the gospel. He was the father of the lamented G. Dallas Smith, who labored much in all of the Southern States; another son, Robert D. Smith, has preached much in Tennessee and in Texas, and has brought many souls to Christ; his third son, John T. Smith, Lubbock, Texas, has been a successful preacher of the gospel for a number of years. He has labored much in the Southern States and has spent some years in Michigan. If Brother G. W. Smith had done nothing more for the cause of Christ than to give to it these three gospel preachers, he would have done a great work. All honor is due him for this contribution of three gospel preachers to the cause of Christ

Brother G. W. Smith died near Union City, Tenn., on December 23, 1921. His body was laid to rest in the old family burying ground at his home place. Brother Albert Winstead spoke words of comfort to the bereaved family and gave words of encouragement to the sorrowing friends. Brother Smith was permitted to live nearly eighty-two years, and about half of his time he was a soldier of the cross and served the Lord Jesus Christ. West Tennessee and churches of Christ there and elsewhere have cause to be thankful to God that he lived, loved, and labored in the name of Christ.

-From Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages 313-316

Grave Location

36°22'27.6"N 88°58'58.4"W
or D.d. 36.374340,-88.982893

In Union City, Obion County, Tennessee, go southeast on Reelfoot Avenue, toward Martin, TN, instead of getting on the four lane, continue on 431 toward Everett Stewart Airport. Just as you get in front of the Airport turn right on Airport road, continue until it runs dead-end into Stanley Chapel church Road. Turn right, go about 3/4 of a mile and the Stanley Chapel Methodist church, and Stanley Chapel Cemetery will be on your right. Turn into the parking lot. The grave is very close to the parking lot on the right hand side of the cemetery. Smith lies in an unmarked grave next to his wife, Lucy Campbell Stanley Smith.

Come Ye Blessed
In Memory Of Wife And Mother
Lucy Camel
wife of
G.W. Smith
Born Feb. 24, 1844
Died Mar. 6, 1906
Blessed Are The Dead Which
Die In The Lord

Dau Of
G.W. & L. Smith
Mar. 6,1869
Oct. 1869

Note: Special thanks to Tom Atkinson, preacher, and long-time friend, for helping locate the final resting place of Lucy Camel and G.W. Smith. He and and his wife Julie also supplied the grave photo you see on this site.

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