THE chairman of Govan School Board, and minister of the parish of Partick, though not a native of Glasgow, came young to the city, and received his early education, first in St. John's Academy, and afterwards in Glasgow High School. He began active life by serving an apprenticeship of four years as a measurer, but at the end of that time he decided to study for the ministry of the Church of Scotland, and accordingly matriculated at Glasgow University. There he had his fair share of prize winning, especially in the Divinity Hall, and he received his licence to preach in 1880. Forthwith he was appointed assistant to the late Mr. Calder in Partick parish, and a year later he was elected minister of the North Parish, Stirling. On the death of Mr. Calder, however, in 1886, he returned to Partick, where he has since remained incumbent. Under his charge the congregation has increased till it is one of the largest in the country. A few years ago the church had to be enlarged, and already it is becoming again too small. Church halls also have been built, a new manse bought, and every congregational activity brought up to the standard of the time.
His congregational work, however, has by no means exhausted Dr. Smith's energies. While in Stirling he became a member of the School Board in 1882, and the High School there had reason to congratulate itself on his special interest in Higher Education. His translation to Partick necessitated close concentration upon Church affairs for a time, but in 1891 he became a member of Govan Parish School Board. Six years later he was chosen chairman of the board, and he has now held that office consecutively for five triennial terms. The School Board of Govan is one of the most important in the country, and under Dr. Smith's leadership its policy and management have been an unqualified success. Its schools are said to be the teacher's paradise, and the pockets of its ratepayers have benefited not a little by the early business training of the chairman. Dr. Smith is also a member of Glasgow University Court, Chairman of the Secondary Education Committee, President of the Scottish School Boards Association, Convener of the Church of Scotland Education Committee, and Convener of the Regulations Committee of the Provincial Committee, He also for a number of years acted as Convener of the Church of Scotland Sabbath School Committee.
Nor has his pen been idle. He has written many reviews of important works, as well as a weekly exposition of the Lessons for Bible Classes for Saint Andrew, the organ of the Church of Scotland. In 1902 a collection of these expositions was published in volume form under the title; of "Short Studies in the Gospels." He is also author of some of the best lessons in the "Sunday School Teachers' Handbook."
In recognition of his many services Glasgow University in 1903 conferred upon him the degree of D.D.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)