Each year on his birthday, Alvin T. Smith (Nov. 17, 1802 – Jan. 22, 1888) would make a special entry in his diary. Here are some selections from those entries to contemplate on the 213th anniversary of his birth. Please take into account the religious perspective his statements reflect. The available transcriptions by Margaret and some by myself reflect the content of these quotes as we each deciphered them. Our transcriptions were done many years apart.
This record of Smith’s birthdays is offered as an insight of who he was. In the next FHFG newsletter there will be a review of Smith’s activities in the year 1852 as he progressed with the construction of his house on what is now South Elm Street in Forest Grove.
November 17, 1840: …my birthday 38 years old great has been Gods goodness to me and Blessed be his name for ever.
November 17, 1850: … My birthday 48 years old and much of my time has run to waste but I pray God to forgive the past and give me Grace for the future.
November 17, 1852: Worked some at my house. My birthday, 50 years old. God help me to live in thine Honor and Glory. (Editor: This is the year that we are tracking in the process of building his final home on South Elm Street in the current Forest Grove.)
November 17, 1860: … 58 years old this day. I have great reason to rejoice in God’s great goodness …
November 17, 1871: …69 years old and I thank God for all the kindness to me.
November 17, 1879: …my 77th birthday today. I thank my heavenly father for his kindness and gracious goodness to me for continuing me this long and pray for his presence to be with me while he continues me here in this world.
Read more about AT Smith
About Mary Jo Morelli
History is one of Mary Jo's passions! Especially Oregon history and specifically Forest Grove history. Her personal roots go back to 1852, when ancestors on her mother's side settled in the Gresham, OR area. She was on the committee that drafted the letter for 'Charter' membership in Friends of Historic Forest Grove. She has been on the Board of Directors since that time and performed a variety of roles as needed by the organization over the years. Her interest with the Smith House started in 1991 when she was Chair of the Forest Grove Historic Landmarks Board. It was 10 years later that she took a phone call on the FHFG phone that led to the opportunity for FHFG to purchase the Smith House. It is the interrelationships that are found in doing historic research that really fulfill Mary Jo. Co-authoring the Images of America: Forest Grove book with Lisa Amato demonstrates the relationships that brought us to 2015! Mary Jo is now referred to as the Forest Grove Historian even though she did not grow up here!