Woman of the Century/Elizabeth J. Smith
SMITH, Mrs. Elizabeth J., editor, born in a suburb of St. John's, New Brunswick. For forty years she has been a resident of Providence, R. I., to which city she removed when eight years of age. She is descended from a Scotch ancestry distinguished for scholarly attainments and spirituality; on her father's side from the Scotch covenanters, and from a maternal line marked in every generation, back to the crusaders, with brilliant intellects and religious fervor. In her earliest years she gave promise of great mental activity. ELIZABETH J. SMITH. On the removal of her parents to Providence, R. I., she entered classes with pupils several years her senior. At fourteen she was a teacher in one of the public schools, and became its principal at sixteen. After a bright conversion, at the age often years, she united with the Chestnut Street Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she is now a member, and at thirteen became a Sunday-school teacher. She became the wife of Ransom L. Smith, of Winchester, N. H., when eighteen, and two years later returned, a widow, to the home of her father and mother, where she now brightens their declining years. From her childhood her sympathetic nature was moved to help in every good cause. Her religious convictions were powerful and, manifestly called into public religious work in her own denomination, she resolutely turned from her profession of music and voice culture and entered into the work of an evangelist with devoted zeal. With a marked aptitude for pulpit work, she delivered sermons nightly for successive weeks to crowded audiences. Large numbers of converts were added to the churches where she labored. In 1886, when about to commence a series of winter engagements in New England churches, after her return from a National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, to which she was a delegate, an attack of pneumonia laid her up for some time. During her convalescence her thoughts were turned into a new channel for influencing the young, which has proved further reaching in its benefits than any work depending upon her personal presence. In addition to her other labors she filled the position of State superintendent of juvenile work in the Rhode Island Woman's Christian Temperance Union for over twelve years, and inaugurated the Loyal Temperance Legion, before it was made national. That organization flourished under her care. Her desire to interest young people in temperance work culminated in the publication of an eight-page illustrated paper, the "Home Guard," which has increased to twelve pages, and in its extensive circulation all over the country, in Sunday-schools of every denomination, demands her time and best efforts as its editor and publisher. When the effort was made to secure constitutional prohibition in Rhode Island, she, as a State lecturer, gave effective addresses in nearly every town and city of the State.