Smith, Stephen

Stephen Smith (1797-1873)

Wealthy businessman and agent on the Underground Railroad

During his lifetime, Stephen Smith was one of the wealthiest African Americans in the United States. He was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and went on to build an empire which included the Smith, Whipper & Co. lumber and coal yard.
In 1867, he donated property and cash worth $250,000 for the establishment of a home for the aged and infirm. The home, which bears his name, was dedicated two years before Smith's death and still operates today.

(From: Blockson, Charles L. Philadelphia's Guide: African-American State Historical Markers. Philadelphia: Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection / William Penn Foundation, 1992.)