Philander Smith (November 23, 1809 – February 24, 1882) was an American real estate agent and philanthropist. Philander Smith College is his namesake.

Philander Smith
BornNovember 23, 1809 (1809-11-23)
DiedFebruary 24, 1882 (1882-02-25)
Resting placeForest Home Cemetery (Forest Park, Illinois)
OccupationReal estate
Known forPhilander Smith College
Net worth$125,000 (at death)
Spouse(s)Adeline M. Smith (1812–1885)
ChildrenMinnie Gertrude Smith Budlong (1840–1931), Sarah L. Smith Blackstone (1845–1908)


Philander Smith was the son of David Smith, whose 1801 sawmill in upstate New York gave name to the village of Smith’s Mills (now the town of Adams).

Among the early settlers at Oak Park, Illinois, Smith and wife Adeline provided financial assistance to Methodist missions in India, China, and Japan.

His widow Adeline continued to give away his $125,000 fortune to a number of causes for a dozen years after his 1882 death. Her gift that year to the Methodists’ Walden Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas resulted in its immediate renaming as Philander Smith College.


  • In 2003, the Historical Association of South Jefferson [County] moved into the former Philander Smith House at 29 East Church Street in Adams, New York.
  • With the 1866 marriage of his daughter Sarah, Mr. Smith became father-in-law to famous Christian Zionist William Eugene Blackstone.
  • Adeline M. Smith was memorialized in The Gospel in All Lands 1895, p. 519, so she probably died that year. The eulogy lists the many donations she made to the church.


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