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Levi Smith
(1844-1917)

Levi Smith, a pioneer driller of oil wells in western Pennsylvania, was born in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on April 12, 1844, the son of Eliza Rebur and Gideon Smith, a farmer. He attended common school, then apprenticed to learn the agricultural machinist trade until 1865, when he moved to the Pennsylvania oil fields. There he became involved in building oil rigs and drilling wells, and also bought into a hardware and oil drilling supply company, as well as a crude oil refinery. He also became interested in Western lumber and timber, Portland cement manufacturing, and mining and milling companies in Colorado. In 1873 he married Amanda J. George, and together they had four children.

Smith purchased the mineral collection of Colorado mineralogist Joseph G. Hiestand, as well as specimens from the Manitou Springs mineral dealer William C. Hart, and had them shipped as a donation to the Warren County School District in Pennsylvania's northwestern corner. Some superb specimens from Bisbee, Arizona, were included in the lot, and a large exhibit case was installed at the high school.

Smith died May 6, 1917.

In 1935, the district loaned its mineral collection to Penn State University (then called the Pennsylvania State College) to assist in the education of prospective engineers enrolled in the School of Mines and Metallurgy. The faculty installed the Levi Smith collection in the Mineral Industries building, where it became the centerpiece of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum at Penn State for over half a century. Ultimately, however, it was put into storage. The university returned it to the Warren School District in 2005 because they no longer wished to store it. Wrapped individually and stowed in 65 copy paper boxes, the minerals were sold on December 3, 2006, during a live and online auction conducted by Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
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