William and Comfort D. (Porter) Smith first came to Joplin in 1874 from Bowling Green, Kentucky and took a job as assistant cashier with the Joplin Savings Bank of East Joplin, the first bank established in Joplin. But in 1877 the Smiths engaged in the hotel business in Ensenada, Mexico and afterward in banking and merchandising in San Francisco, California.
The Smith’s returned to Joplin in 1898, and Mr. Smith engaged in the real estate business with John H. Taylor, his brother-in-law. They were among the most important of the real estate dealers in the city, handling city properties, lands, farms, mining property, and so forth.
Mr. Smith went on to be the director of the Joplin Trust Company and secretary and treasurer of the Gilchrist Porter Realty Company. He was also the originator of the Joplin & Pittsburg Railway Company, an electric inter-state line that extended to Pittsburg, Kansas.
Mrs. Smith was the daughter of Gilchrist Porter who was a congressman and a judge.
A daughter named Elenita was born to the couple while residing in Mexico. Their son, A. Levering, was born in Hannibal, Missouri.