Born on 28 April 1872 in Owosso, Shiawassee County, Michigan, Guy Parnell Smith was the son of Dr. Newcomb Spaulding Smith and his wife Sarah Jane “Jennie” Parnell. Guy had one brother, Dr. Elmer Everett Clayton Smith.

When Guy was seven years old, his father was appointed assistant surgeon by the U.S. Army, located at Fort Randall in the Dakota Territory, and in charge of the Yankton Indian Agency. Guy said that he and his brother were the only Caucasian children in the school. He was greatly influenced by his time spent in South Dakota, and later in life, he created several paintings depicting life, costumes, and customs of the Sioux culture.

Guy later moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he met and married his wife, Lillian Julia Woodbury, on 19 October 1898. She was the daughter of Wilhelmena Catherine (Lipke) Woodbury and step-daughter of Horace W. Woodbury.

Guy and Lillian were the parents of six children: Marion Jennie (Smith) McLemore Radosh, Everett Newcomb Smith, Dorothy Mable (Smith) Parks, Elmer Guy Smith, Lillian Woodbury (Smith) Doran, and Eleanor May (Smith) Conde.

Between 1902 and 1905, the Smith family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. They purchased a home on Highland Terrace in Richmond Heights. Guy was an engraver, who started his own business manufacturing lantern slides. He maintained this business and also worked for many years at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat as a photo engraver.

He was featured, for his miniature camera invention, in the December 1938 issue of Popular Science, page 134, in an article “Who Invented the Miniature Camera?” He also loved to paint, play the guitar, mandolin, and violin, and build miniatures, including a doll house for granddaughter, Adora Lillian (McLemore) Frick.

Guy Smith
Guy Parnell Smith
Photo in the collection of Cathie Lynn Frick Jarvis
Used with permission

Their home on Highland Terrace was purchased by the Missouri Highway Department for the construction of Highway 40, and Guy and his wife Lillian moved in with their daughter Marion and her husband, Milton McLemore, on Sadonia Avenue in Ferguson.

Guy later moved to Little Sisters of the Poor on North Florissant Avenue in St. Louis. While a resident there, he was honored with his own art show, which featured his award winning painting of a Sioux chieftain buried upright, above ground, as was their custom.

Guy’s obituary appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on Monday, 12 October 1959, page 15. He passed away on 10 October 1959 and was buried, with his wife Lillian, at Valhalla Cemetery, located in Bel-Nor, St. Louis County.

Sources: family interviews, Little Sisters of the Poor publication, marriage license, Popular Science magazine, St Louis Globe-Democrat obituary, U.S. census


Written by Cathie Lynn Frick Jarvis
February 2017

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:59