A Smoot, A Public Servant
A Smoot, A Public Servant
"All Austinites" is the newest campaign by the Flower Hill Foundation to highlight the history of the historic Flower Hill site and its connection to all Austinites.
The All Austinites campaign seeks to tell the history of the Smoot family across three generations of Austinites. This week, we focus on Lawrence Kelley Smoot, the late father of Miss Jane Smoot. Your support is critical in helping us connect Austinites across the city in understanding their history and forging a shared future. We appreciate your support.
The legacy of Lawrence Kelley Smoot is as far-reaching as the branches of the Live Oak Signal Tree at Flower Hill. Lawrence's service began with his family as the devoted husband of 45 years to his wife, Julia. To her he vowed: “I find myself more in love with you than ever, in fact I am getting so I do not want to leave you, but wish to be by your side at all times.” Accompanying his abiding love, Lawrence, ever the public servant, topped off a 66-year career at the the State of Texas in 1962.
(Left to right) Lawrence Kelley Smoot poses at the Texas State Capitol., 1915; Lawrence with daughter, Jane - circa 1922, Images Courtesy of the Flower Hill Foundation
Lawrence began as the law librarian at the Texas State Capitol, and saw to it that the library was as well-managed as possible. From January 8th to April 12th 1907, he dedicated his entire day—even Sundays—to managing the law library during the State Supreme Court’s 30th legislative session. Lawrence was so committed to running the place that he ran himself into a sickness that plagued him for a year afterwards. He remarked “That was a busy four months and the books in the library were in constant use. This, on top of my regular work, made me almost forget to eat, and although I was renumerated for the extra time and work, it did me no good.”
The tool box of Lawrence Kelley Smoot, Image Courtesy of the Flower Hill Foundation
As we reflect on the service of countless public servants in our community -- public school teachers, first responders, or behind-the-scenes professionals such as Lawrence Kelley Smoot -- let us remember the importance of giving back and why it matters. Your contribution to Flower Hill will help us interpret the stories of the Smoots and other timeless narratives to help sculpt a civil society supported by our commitment to each other and a love for a shared history. Stay tuned for another message next week as we explore representation of all history at Flower Hill, including the African-American Emancipated laborers at the site.