A respected Jasper businessman, Garland Smith was a lawyer by profession and a representative of four generations of a family that has been identified with Texas since the year of the Revolution. In 1882, Smith was born in Guadalupe County to parents Guy French Smith and Mary Johnston Smith. He is the grandson of Colonel French Smith and the great grandson of Ezekiel Smith, both famous Texas Patriots. During the infamous Mier Expedition, Ezekiel Smith was taken prisoner by Santa Anna and suffered tortuous experiences before the famed drawing of black and white beans. Prisoners who drew black beans were shot by Santa Anna's army but luckily for the Smith family, Ezekiel drew a life-saving white bean.
In 1896, Garland Smith came eastward with his parents and two brothers. Traveling by covered wagon, the Smith family arrived and settled on a farm five miles from Jasper. Soon after, Garland Smith began studying law and in January 1905, at the age of twenty-three, he successfully obtained admittance to the bar. Smith served as Jasper County Attorney from 1906 to 1908 and was later elected to the office of County Judge where he served a two-year term. While serving as County Attorney, Smith began his abstract and title business "Garland Smith Abstract Company", which is Jasper's oldest continuous operating business to-date. Smith's maps and land records of Jasper and Newton Counties are believed to be the most complete in existence.
For over 100 years, the office of Garland Smith Abstract Company continues to serve Jasper and Newton Counties under the ownership of Smith's great-grandchildren Joseph T. Matthews, Laura Matthews Parker, Dallas J. Matthews IV.
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