Edwin J. Smith (1877-1948) started work in his father’s hardware store as a young man and in 1903 began managing the business. The store first opened in 1896 under his father’s name, P.F. Smith. It was located at 107 Main Street and later moved across the road to 122 Main Street. In 1923, the E.J. Smith Hardware Company was incorporated with Smith as president. He ran the shop until his death at age 71, an exemplar of the kind of personal customer service for which Collinsville businesses have long been known. He died at Hartford Hospital following a six-week illness. After Smith’s death, his nephew Everett P. Eaton, who had long been involved in the business, bought the store. It went by the name Eaton Hardware until its closure in 2001.
Born in Collinsville, Smith attended grammar school here before finishing his education at Mt. Hermon School for Boys in Northfield, Massachusetts. Through his mother, Rose Hart Smith, he was a descendant of Stephen Hart, a founder of Hartford.
Among the organizations of which Smith was a member was the Collinsville Congregational Church, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Old Newgate Coon Club. He was on the executive committee of the Collinsville Savings Society.
For a number of years he had a winter home in Florida. For a time, he maintained a summer cottage on Highland Lake in Winsted. He was married in 1900 to Alphonsine Quintal. She died in 1927. In 1928 he married Grace Stent, who survived him.
Smith’s funeral was held at the Collinsville Congregational Church. The Odd Fellows gave a graveside committal service.
Edwin J. Smith is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.