HON. PERSIFOR FRAZER SMITH was born in Philadelphia January 23, 1808 and died at West Chester, this county, on the 25th day of May, 1882, aged seventy-four years.  His father was Joseph Smith, son of Robert Smith, of Uwchlan, Chester county.  His mother was Mary (Frazer) Smith, a daughter of Col. Persifor Frazer, of Thornbury, then Chester county, now Delaware county.  From a carefully prepared pamphlet by Joseph S. Harris on the life of Robert Smith, reprinted from the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, we glean many of the following interesting facts:

"Robert Smith was of Scotch descent.  Little is known of the history of his family prior to the emigration to Pennsylvania, except that the family name was originally Macdonald, and that the branch of it from which he was de- scended formed an important part of the earliest Scottish emigration across the North Channel into Ireland, in the time of James I., of England.  Near the end of the seventeenth century Robert Smith's grandfather lived in the northeastern part of Ireland.  Just before the battle of the Boyne, as the soldier king, William III., was personally reconnoitering the locality, which was soon to become famous, his horse cast a shoe.  There was, of course, no farrier in attendance to replace it; but Macdonald, in whose neighborhood the accident occurred, and who, like many other farmers in thinly-peopled districts, was something of a blacksmith, volunteered to repair the injuries, shod the horse, and so enabled the king to proceed.

"His neighbors, who, like himself, were in sympathy with the cause of which William was the champion, dubbed Macdonald 'the Smith.'  Such a change of name would not now be considered a compliment, as Smiths are so numerous that the name confers no special distinction; but in that district there was a surfeit of Macdonalds; all the possible changes had been rung on the name, to individualize the members of the clan.  Smith was a novelty, and the branch of trade it represented has always been an honored one, especially in primitive society, and this particular Scotchman, proud to have his name linked with that a great man, and a decisive battle, as that of Boynewater was soon known to be, accepted the cognomen, and handed it down to his posterity as the family name.

"The Macdonalds held their lands in Ireland by tenant right, and while they, with the rest of their countrymen, were subduing the savage land which they then called home, they lived in obscurity.

"The Scotch-Irish emigration to Pennsylvania in the first half of the eight- eenth century, which gave to that colony so many of its best citizens, and which has done almost as much to determine the character of the State as the Puritan emigration did to decide the character of New England, included among its number the parents of Robert Smith - John and Susanna - who left their homes in 1720, one year after the enforcement of 'The Test,' and whose special grievance was not the raising of the rent of their homestead, but the absolute refusal of their landlord to renew their lease unless they would comply with the requirements of that hated act.

"Though the voyage was stormy and unusually long, even for those days of dull sailors, tradition tells of no losses of life on the journey, while there was certainly one life gained, for Robert Smith was born at sea. Immediately after landing at Philadelphia, the emigrants pushed westward thirty miles into Chester county, and passing by the fertile Great Valley, already partly peopled by Welsh settlers, heavily wooded, and probably at that time not free from the malaria which the early emigrants had so much reason to dread, took up lands to the northward, in the hilly country of Uwchlan township, in a locality long known as the Brandywine settlement.

"With her brother John came Mary Smith who married Alexander Fulton, removed to Little Britain, Lancaster county, and to whom in due time was born, a grandson, Robert Fulton, who has indissolubly linked his name with the history of steam navigation.

"His next appearance is in the commencement of the revolution, in August, 1775.  he took an active part in supervising the erection of military defences, and afterward sat in the convention which, on the 28th of September, 1776, adopted the first State constitution of Pennsylvania.  He was at this time a man of considerable wealth, great energy, and extensive influence. On the 12th of March, 1777, the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania selected him as colonel of the military forces of Chester county.  He took an active part int he struggles of colonial times and the eventful years which followed, was a member of the State assembly in 1785, and held various other offices of honor and trust, and died in 1803, at the age of eighty-three years.

"His son Joseph, father of the subject of this article, was an iron shipping merchant in Philadelphia.  The maternal grandfather, Col. Persifor Frazer, was in the American army during the revolution where he served with much gallantry and distinction.  It will thus be seen that Mr. Smith is the direct lineal descendant of the early settlers of this country, who became famous in history for their intelligence and patriotism.

"He was educated in Philadelphia, principally in the classical school of Dr. Samuel B. Wylie and Joseph P. Engles.  He graduated at the university of Pennsylvania on the 31st of July, 1824, and in the same year removed with his father to East Whiteland, Chester county, Pennsylvania.  In Octo- ber, 1826, he commenced the study of law in the office of William H. Dillingham, esq., and was admitted to practice in the courts of Chester county at the November term, 1829.  He was admitted to the supreme court in Decem- ber, 1831, and in October of the following year to the circuit court of the United States for what was then known as the Third circuit of Pennsylvania.

"He was married on the 24th of July, 1833, to Thomasine S. Fairlamb, daughter of Dr. George A. Fairlamb, of Downingtown, Chester county.  In May, 1835, he was appointed clerk of the Orphans' court of Chester county by Governor George Wolf, and on February 25, 1839, was appointed prosecuting attorney for Delaware county by Ovid F. Johnson, attorney-general under Governor David R. Porter.  His progress  was steadily marked, and his valu- able services were in general demand.  He was not allowed to remain long out of official positions, and it is to his credit that in every instance he fulfilled the various duties assigned him with integrity, punctuality, and signal ability.  In February, 1849, he was admitted to practice before the supreme court of the United States.  He studiously followed the practice of his profession, and became extensively known by lawyers and judges.  He maintained a very high position at the bar, and was long recognized as one of its leaders, both in the county and State.  His opinion on the perplexing questions constantly arising in the practice of the law were largely sought for by his professional brethren.  In 1861, during the stirring times which marked the beginning of the civil war, he was elected a member of the legislature, and the fact that he was returned by his constituents for the years of 1862-3-4, shows the high esteem in which he was held, having been chosen four years in succession at a time when the term of that office was for one year only.  During the civil war he was one of the most stanch supporters of the Union cause.  In the year 1866 he was honored, as was also the Co., by his appointment as state reporter of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, which position he filled with recognized fidelity and ability, and relinquished it in May, 1876.  There is not a law library in any court or lawyer's office in Pennsylvania which does not contain the thirty-two volumes of State reports compiled and arranged during the ten years he filled that arduous and responsible office.  He was also the author of the valuable legal text book entitled, 'Forms of Procedure.'  While Mr. Smith never engaged in any occupation which was not in the line of the profession of his choice, he took great interest in local and general politics, and in every project calculated to develop the country.  By his varied reading and close observation he kept himself abreast with all that transpired in the literary and scientific world.  His life was one of unwearied activity, and he was time and again called by his fellow citizens and those in authority to fill grave and responsible trusts.  Mr. Smith was warmly identified with every good word and work calculated to enhance the interests and increase the usefulness of his town and county.  His legal career extended over more than half a century.  He literally 'died in the harness,' for his death occurred in the court house at West Chester on the 25th day of May, 1882, while arguing a case before Judge Futhey.

"His son, George Fairlamb Smith, who served with distinction in the civil war, and was afterward elected district attorney for Chester Co., and still later served as a member of the legislature of Pennsylvania, was for several years associated with his father in the practice of the law.  He died October 18, 1877.  Mr. Smith's youngest and only surviving son and namesake, Persifor Frazer Smith, who now resides in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, is president of the Wellsville Plate & Iron Company, whose plant is located at Wellsville, Ohio.  The only surviving daughter is the wife of Robert Emmet Monoghan, of West Chester."