August 12th, 2009
RALPH L. SMITH 1901-1983
Ralph L. Smith was born November 11, 1901 in White Deer Township, Union County, PA, a son of Jonathan and Mary (Kostenbauder) Smith. In 1932, along with Charles O. Myers and Robert Finglenagle they purchased the Berk’s Foundry and renamed it Watsontown Foundry and manufactured gray iron castings. He retired from the foundry in 1950. He was known as "Farmer" Smith.
Ralph married Josephine Campbell and resided at 28 Main Street Watsontown. Josephine was born on October 21, 1907 in Allenwood, the daughter of Alvah D. and Bessie E. (McCulley) Campbell. She was a 1925 graduate of Milton High School, Muncy State Normal School and Bucknell University. She was a member of the Eastern Star 282, where she was a past matron, an honorary member of the Watsontown Guild and the state and local button clubs. They were members of the Presbyterian Church where Ralph served as an Elder and a trustee.
On October 7, 1954, the town council unanimously elected Ralph L. Smith to fill the unexpired term of Chief Burgess Charles O. Myers who died on August 11, 1954. Ralph was immediately sworn in that evening by Justice of the Peace C. Richard Klapp. On November 5, 1957 Ralph was elected by the community to serve as chief burgess and was sworn in on January 6, 1958 by Justice of the Peace Kenneth Fairchild. Ralph continued serving as chief burgess until January 2, 1962 when Albert Patterson was sworn in as the first mayor of Watsontown, thus making Ralph Smith the last person to hold the title of chief burgess.
Ralph was a member of Watsontown Lodge No. 401 being raised a Master Mason June 2, 1925. Ralph also belonged to the Williamsport Consistory; Irem Temple Shrine, Wilkes Barre; Knights Templer; the Baldwin Commandery 22, Williamsport; and the Royal and Select Masters. Ralph was an avid sportsman and a founding member of th Keystone Rod and Gun Club in Union County. He was a former member of the Golden Springs Hunting Club also in Union County. Ralph was a charter member of the Watsontown Lions Club and a member of the West Branch Manufactdurers Association.
Ralph died at his home on Sunday, January 16, 1983 at the age of 81. Josephine died on May 22, 2000. They are buried at Uniontown Cemetery, Allenwood, PA.
[The Milton Evening Standard, October 8, 1954, pg. 1; The Milton Standard, January 17, 1983, pg. 1.]
Last Modified: 08.26.09