Gardner Irving Smith

No. 13163 Gardner Irving Smith

Photo of Irving Gardner Smith. Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Irving Gardner Smith age 26 2261 Dorchester Ave graduated Mechanics High School 1912 Inducted Aug 31, 1918 Sent to Camp Upton Limited service 8th Co 2d Battalion 152 Depot Brigade Later assigned 24th Co 2d Battalion 152 Depot Brigade Nov 15, 1918 Sent on indefinite furlough as machinist in New England ? Works. Released in one week as Govt contracts ran on time. Returned home. Called to Camp Devans for duty Dec 5, 1918 assigned to Co H 2d D 2d Batallion 151 Depot Brigade Hon. Discharge Dec 30, 1918

Gardner Irving Smith was born on October 10, 1893, in Dorchester, the only child of Phoebe (McPherson) and Lebbeus Gardner Smith. Lebbeus was born in Dorchester. Initially a cabinet maker, by 1900 he worked at the chocolate factory, probably Walter Baker Chocolates. Phoebe was born in either Fredericton, New Brunswick, or on Prince Edward Island. She immigrated to the United States in the 1880s. Lebbeus and Phoebe were married in Boston in October 1892.

During Gardner’s youth, his family moved regularly within a couple block radius, living in homes owned by Lebbeus’s sister Adaline. At the time of Gardner’s birth, his family lived at 2269 Dorchester Avenue in Lower Mills. By 1900, they had moved a short distance down the street to 2259 Dorchester Avenue, where they lived in the rear apartment. Ten years later, they were living around the corner at 5 Adirondack Place. In 1917, they were again living on Dorchester Avenue, this time in the rear apartment at 2261. In each of these residences, living in another unit in the building were Lebbeus’s sisters, Adaline Smith and Inez Corlew, as well as Inez’s children, Deborah and Morris. Lebbeus and Phoebe regularly took in boarders. In 1900, dressmaker Florence H. Waugh, a 36-year-old divorcee from Canada was part of the household and in 1910, Mark Hopkins, a 63-year-old widowed chocolate mill employee lodged with the family.

Gardner attended the Gilbert Stuart School on Richmond Street in Lower Mills. In 1908, he received his grammar school diploma. He was then a student at the Mechanic Arts High School in the Back Bay, located at the corner of Belvidere and Dalton Streets, graduating in 1912. By 1917, he was a machinist at the Mason Regulator Company on Adams and Medway Streets in Lower Mills. The company manufactured balanced vales, steam traps, and speed and pressure regulators.

On August 31, 1918, Gardner was drafted and inducted into the Army. He was sent to Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, on Long Island. On his notecard for Gardner Irving Smith, Dr. Perkins noted that Gardner served in the Limited Service 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, 152 Depot Brigade. Limited Service men were “physically limited” or otherwise “not fully fit,” but could still contribute to the military. Over 112,000 men deemed fit for limited service served during the First World War. The Army tried to match these men to jobs they could do; as a trained machinist Gardner may have been assigned to work at Camp Upton that utilized his specialized skill set. Gardner was later transferred to the 24th Company, 2nd Battalion, 152nd Depot Brigade. Dr. Perkins noted that just after the Armistice, on November 15, 1918, Gardner was “sent on indefinite furlough as machinist in New England [indistinguishable] Works.” After about one week, he returned to Dorchester. Gardner was called to Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, on December 5. There he was assigned to Company H, 151 Depot Brigade. He was discharged on December 30, 1918.

In 1920, Gardner was again living at the rear of 2261 Dorchester Avenue with his father and mother. They were still living there in 1930. By this time, both Gardner and his father were unemployed. Lodging with them that year was Lebbeus’s niece Deborah C. (Carlew) Russell, a widow working in an insurance office. Deborah’s mother Inez had died in 1922. Aunt Adaline was a resident of the Mount Pleasant home, originally of Elm Hill Street in Dorchester and relocated in 1925 to South Huntington Street in Jamaica Plain. Mount Pleasant provided a “home for indigent aged persons of both sexes.” Adaline died in 1931.

That year, Gardner and his parents moved to a farm at 218 Franklin Street in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Gardner lived on Franklin Street in Mansfield for the rest of his life. Phoebe died in 1937. The 1940 census reported Gardner living with his widowed father on the Mansfield farm. Neither Gardner nor his father were employed, though Lebbeus had income from other sources. In 1949, Gardner purchased land on Franklin Street from his cousin Deborah C. Russell.

Gardner died on December 22, 1958, in Attleboro, Massachusetts. He was buried in Dorchester’s Old South Burying Ground.

Researched and written by Camille Arbogast.


Birth Records, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts;

Marriage record Lebbeus Smith and Phoebe McPherson, New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915;

1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Federal Census;

“Many Gave Recitations,” Boston Globe, 23 June 1908: 7;

World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration;

“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940;”

Marble, Sanders. “Origins of the Physical Profile,” Military Medicine, August 2013:887-8, Oxford University Press Academic Journals;

Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, National Archives and Records Administration;

Deaths, Boston Globe, 11 January 1921:2;

36th Annual Report of the State Board of Charity. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1915: 102;

Deaths, Boston Globe, 29 July 1931: 17;

1931 Boston City Directory;

Recorded Land, July 12, 1960, Bristol County Registry of Deeds;

Deaths, Boston Globe, 11 March 1937: 34;



Posted on

April 10, 2022

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