HALBERT E. SMITH
History of Idaho, Volume 2, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 773
In many respects the East has now come to be the pupil of the West, and especially is this true as to horticulture, in which line the West has drawn the attention of the whole world. It was in comparatively recent years that Idaho awakened to her possibilities in horticulture, but already she ranks well to the fore among the best producing fruit states of this great section. In 1905 Halbert E. Smith made a trip to the coast, to Portland and other western points of interest and expected afterward to return to his home and work in Wisconsin. He stopped off at Payette, Idaho. He remained. Today he is manager of the Payette Valley Fruit Packing Company and of the Payette Valley Rex Spray Company and is a keen wide awake and energetic promoter of horticultural interests in Idaho. Mr. Smith has had years of training in a business way before he came here and was especially well qualified in that respect to manage the interests of those he represents. He diligently set about to become master of the secrets to success in horticulture and of the best ways of handling the fruit, and this knowledge, together with his large experience and capacity in business, has made him a most able and valuable official in his present connections.
Halbert E. Smith was born in Lyons, Wisconsin, January 23, 1866, a son of Joel B. and Mary Emily (Fellows) Smith, both natives of New York state. Joel B. Smith became a resident of Wisconsin at the age of twelve and for many years was a farmer in that state. He and his wife, whom he married in Wisconsin, are now aged respectively seventy-eight and seventy-five years and are residents of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. They are the parents of three children, vix; Mrs. Lura A. Derthick, of Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Halbert E. Smith, of Payette, Idaho; and Mrs. Anna L. Taylor, of Seattle, Washington.
Halbert E. Smith received a common and high school education in Wisconsin and upon completing these studies became a student in the Whitewater Normal School in that state, from which institution he was graduated in 1891. He then took up teaching and followed the profession several years in southern Wisconsin. Removing to Minneapolis, Minnesota, he became an accountant for the Easterly Harvester Machine Company, remaining in their employ form 1893 to 1896, and following that he entered the employ of the Deering Harvester Company in Minneapolis, going from there to Fargo, North Dakota, where he had charge of a branch office of this company. After two and a half years at Fargo he was transferred to another branch office at East St. Louis, Illinois, where he remained until 1900.
In that year he was called to Chicago by the Deering Harvester Company to take up work as traveling auditor for them in the United States and Canada, but later was placed in charge of sales at Cedar Rapids, Ia. He remained there until 1903 and then was transferred to Albert Lea, Minnesota. The latter part of 1904 and until his western trip in 1905 he represented the La Crosse Plow Company and had charge of Eastern Wisconsin with headquarters in the city of Milwaukee. Upon visiting Payette, Idaho, on the trip previously mentioned, he seemed to realize that there was a propitious opportunity before him and he decided to remain. He bought orchard lands in Canyon county and gave his personal attention to their development until he came to the city of Payette in February, 1910,
to take charge of the interests of the Payette Valley Fruit Packing Company, of which he is now manager and a director. This is a co-operative company and handles for its organizers and stockholders a large percentage of the fruit shipped out of Payette. It was under Mr. Smith's advice that the fruit growers here changed from a commission basis to F. O. B. cash sales, which plan has proved very satisfactory. The fruit is all graded and packed in the best possible manner, the latter point being a vital one in this business, and such fruit as is not of a desirable grade for shipping, the company evaporates in their establishment for that purpose at Payette. They also have a large packing house at Fruitland. Mr. Smith is also manager, secretary and a director of the Payette Valley Rex Spray Company.
His personal holdings here in orchard lands consist of a fine forty-acre tract, which is well under cultivation and to which he give his personal supervision. He likes Idaho so well that he is here to stay, and that choice has been made after a very wide experience as to locations and advantages in the western half of the United States. Mr. Smith is a successful man, full of vim, vigor and push, and is one of the kind Idaho values. He is a member of the Payette Commercial Club and of the Grange, and politically he is a Republican. In religious faith he is identified with the Church of Christ, Scientist.
At Whitewater, Wisconsin, on September 20, 1893, were pronounced the marriage rites which united Mr. Smith and Miss Edna E. Brown, a daughter of Byron A. and Amelia Brown, well known pioneer citizens of southern Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two sons; Lawrence E., born April 30, 1895, at Minneapolis, Minnesota, who graduated from the Payette high school in 1911; and Theodore C. Smith, born January 19, 1899, at Fargo, North Dakota, who is now a high school student. The family is one of worth and of high standing in Payette.