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Stanton was born in a house on Herriot Street and Broadway in Yonkers, New York. The Smiths lived in Yonkers two different times, just a few moves among many, supposedly because his mother was never satisfied with the local ministers.


left: house where Stanton was born and right: stairs in the back yard - underneath was a favorite place for him to play as a baby

They were soon in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At the Third Presbyterian Church there he was baptized with his sister Gertrude on 19 December 1875 by the itinerant evangelist minister George O. Barnes.
Stanton was, following Elizabeth, raised in the New Jersey towns of Plainfield, New Brunswick, Jersey City, Hoboken, then Plainfield again. As a young man he lived with his parents as they then moved to Elizabeth, again, and finally Montclair. The families spent some of their summers in Maine and Rhode Island. Stanton, at 3 years, was exploring a stone wall at Quonochontaug, near Haversham, Rhode Island, and in his words, "fell...and was pinned down by a stone that rolled on my leg. Father found me after I had lain there several hours, probably cried myself to sleep." His father went out to search for him, calling "Stanton, m'boy, where are you?" Stanton, out of sight, responded, and his father found him by peering over the wall. Years later, about 1910, the event was reenacted for the following snapshot.

Stanton married Harriet Briggs in 1893 at the Episcopal Church in Fanwood, New Jersey. His brother Robert mentioned the wedding in his diary:

Franklin, Oscar and I went over to Freeman's to practice the wedding march from Loengrin with Ted, who takes 2nd bass. In carriages, we four in one & folks in other, at 12:00 to Fanwood & to All SAints Church. Friends of the families came, and at 1:00 STANTON MCMASTERS SMITH & HARRIET SCOTT BRIGGS were married by Rev. R. C. Booth. The bridal procession was headed by our quartet, surpliced. Mr. Rodman & Mr. ----- were in chancel. Up to Briggs to an informal reception. Stanton & Harriet left in a shower of rice in carriage for Plainfield & left in 3:12 train for NY. We saluted them as train passed. They go to Kimball's Island.

     Stanton and Harriet set up their own household at 30 Willow Street, Montclair. They bought a house at 82 Union Street about 1896. They remodelled the house and Harriet landscaped the property. Stanton commuted to Manhattan, where he was a partner in the family-run Holbrook Manufacturing Company, which made industrial soaps. I refer more to this in his father's biography. The Smiths went to St. Luke's Episcopal Church - a very short walk from their house.
     Stanton was an avid and intrepid boatman. At 18 he had his first boat made for him - a rowboat patterned after small ferries used between Manhattan and boats anchored off Bedloe's (now Liberty) Island. He named it Beryl after one of the types of soaps made by Holbrook Manufacturing. He proudly fitted the vessel with a private signal of his own design and flags representing his station as an ensign in the U.S. Yachting Association. He continued to use the flag on subsequent boats.

My version of the flag based on a small and fuzzy image of it in the Yachting Association manual.

After various adventures he sold Beryl the next year but kept track of it. Years later he and Harriet found that it was available for hire in Huntington, New York, and they took it out one last time at 20 cents an hour. His next boat was Holbrook, bought in 1896. It was a 16 foot motor launch and joined the Smiths for summers in Casco Bay, Maine. It made its way there on the steamer Cottage City to Portland then transferred twice more to get to Rockland. Stanton brought it rom Rockland to the family's newly-purchased property on Kimball's Island. When the motor failed, he had to row the remaining 7 miles in the still, August heat. It was used well in the next six years, cruising the bay with Stanton, Harriet and their young children Stod and Peggy.

Stanton and Stod Smith in "Holbrook," Kimball's Island, abt. 1897

In 1903 Stanton had the 32 foot Yeddo made, which they also pressed into good service in Casco Bay for many years. Stanton was a member of the Portland Yacht Club, and appears on at least two memberships lists in 1913 and 1920.

"Yeddo," Casco Bay, Maine

Stanton and Harriet, better known as "Oppie" (pronounced ahp-eye) and "Nanny," in later years in Maine

In Montclair, Stanton and Harriet joined their son Stod and his family and the Adrian Von Schmid family in developing a lot of land in Upper Montclair for their homes. The three houses were designed by Von Schmid, a partner in the architectural firm Holmes & Von Schmid and a family friend. They were arranged around a cul de sac that became known as "the WHO" - WHO for Wolf's Head Oil, for which Stod Smith worked, although how that came about is now lost. Stanton and Harriet's house was addressed as 578 Park Street. There was (and is as of 2020) a tiny gaurdhouse at the end of the drive to complete the picture, but was never used as such.

Stanton also had musical passions. The program for the 1937-38 season of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has this to say:

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra had a modest beginning in Montclair about 1920, when Stanton M. Smith, present treasurer, rounded up a few musical friends in that town and organized them into a group to play for performances of the Montclair Players. Cars were a comparative rarity even at that late date, and he often had to travel all over town picking up the players for rehearsal. The group expanded within the next couple of years as interest grew and became the Montclair Orchestra...By 1925, the scope of the unit had extended outside of Montclair to the Oranges. The name was changed to the New Jersey Orchestra...

     Stanton continued to manage the soap company, but I'm told not very well. Proctor & Gamble made an offer to buy it, which he turned down, saying he didn't need them. Holbrook Manufacturing survived the Depression but failed in the late 1930s, leaving Stanton to look for odd jobs in his later life. He and Harriet had to sell their house in Montclair. Harriet moved in with their daughter Peggy Wendell and her family in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and Stanton moved across the "who" to live with son Stod and his family. As he and Harriet became infirm in their old age, they both made Wayne their home. Stanton died at a hospital in Philadelphia and his ashes were scattered in Casco Bay.

the Smith brothers' bicycles, Plainfield, NJ, abt. 1890.

mugging in front of 82 Union


(l) mooring the boat with M. T. Smith at The Twigs, Union, ME (r) Oppie and his grandson Bobby Smith at Owl's Head, Camden, ME, both taken in 1949

children of Stanton McMasters Smith and Harriet Scott Briggs:

Margaret Yates b. 2 September 1894, m. Douglas Cary Wendell, d. 27 September 1978
Franklin Stoddart II
Gertrude McMasters b. 24 March 1905, m. John Caspar Wister, d. 13 July 1999
Mary Thornton b. 16 February 1907, d. 3 June 2000
Stanton McMasters Smith, Jr. b. 2 September 1911, m. Mariana Wilhemina Cecilia Rayeur, d. 15 July 1988

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted