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SMITH, GEORGE W. (1837–?). George W. Smith, Baptist pastor, was born in April 1837 in Philadelphia, Missouri. He was ordained and licensed at Bethel College, Kentucky, in 1859. After serving in the Confederate Army, he was pastor at Greentown, Wyoming (1867–77), Gonzales (1877–84), Weatherford (1885), and Abilene (1886–90). He and he and his wife Lou had seven children. Smith founded Caps Baptist Church near Abilene in 1891 and was editor of the West Texas Baptist. In 1890 he was presiding officer of the Sweetwater Baptist Association, which included an area from Baird to El Paso. Smith was instrumental in the establishment and success of Hardin-Simmons University. He had been the early leader in discussion of the need for a Baptist college in Abilene, and at the sixth annual session of the Sweetwater Association in August 1890, he was a member of the Committee on Christian Education, which offered a resolution calling for the establishment of a school. He helped persuade the association to approve the resolution over the objections of Rufus C. Burleson, president of Baylor University, who feared a new college would dilute support for his institution. Smith was a member of the committee that chose the site for what was then called Abilene Baptist College and was elected first president of the board of trustees. When the college faced an early demise due to lack of funds, Smith was responsible for convincing New York philanthropist James B. Simmons to contribute the money needed to build the college's first building and secure its opening. On September 15, 1892, Smith announced that Simmons College had opened. He continued to serve the college as dean of Smith Hall until leaving Abilene in 1900 to assume the pastorate at De Leon in Comanche County.

R. C. Crane, "The Beginning of Hardin-Simmons University," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 16 (1940). Juanita Daniel Zachry, The Settling of a Frontier: A History of Rural Taylor County (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1980).
Ronnie S. Hilliard

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Handbook of Texas Online, Ronnie S. Hilliard, "Smith, George W.," accessed November 24, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.