Harvey Ward Smith and "The Fish Meal Company"

The Fish Meal Company on Town Creek
Harvey Ward Smith (1908‒1976) was born in Columbia City, Whitney County, Indiana, the son of Jonah Howard Smith and Blanche Opal Grimes. On June 29, 1940, Harvey married Evelyn Marie Chadwick, in Heathsville, Virginia.

Harvey’s father, Jonah Howard Smith (1879‒1951) was born in East Patchogue, Suffolk County, New York. In 1907, he married Blanche Opal Smith in Valparaiso, Indiana. Their children included Harvey, Otis H., Gladys, Gilbert, and Janice. Both J. Howard Smith and wife Blanche died in Red Bank, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

On June 29, 1940, Harvey married Evelyn Marie Chadwick, in Heathsville, Virginia. Evelyn Marie Chadwick (1911–1986) was born in Beaufort to Richard Whitehurst Chadwick and Maude Hunter Quick. Evelyn Marie Chadwick’s 5th great grandfather, Samuel Chadwick (1695‒1749), received the first whaling permit in Carteret County on December 29, 1725, “for three fishing boats to whale.”

By the 1940s, J. Howard Smith owned nine menhaden plants—the largest and parent plant was located in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. The plants were managed by Smith and his three sons.

The Beaufort plant, The Fish Meal Company, known locally as Smith’s, was managed by Harvey Smith, and was the largest in North Carolina. Purchase in 1927, the plant had been operated by Levering Brothers of Baltimore. Located on Town Creek, the plant covered 2 ½ acres. Among the buildings was a 100x250 foot warehouse which included tracks of the Smith spur of the Beaufort & Morehead Railroad. The dining hall was often open to dancing to visiting members of the Masonic Order, and other celebrations; Mrs. Smith often entertained friends at luncheons. The Smith home was on the property. The plant also had its own boatyard, where boats were built each year.

The Fish Meal Company operated from 10 to 18 boats during the season, employing 600 to 700 men in the plant and on boats that cruised between Hatteras and Southport.

Harvey Smith’s widow Evelyn once owned the home at 209 Front Street. 
In the 1980s, Mrs. Smith donated land on Front Street for a new maritime museum; opened in 1985, the museum displays many artifacts collected by Mr. Smith. In 1982, Mrs. Smith donated the old Paul Motor Company across from the museum; this was converted for boat building and later named the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center.

Harvey Ward Smith has an inscription "Grand Master of Masons of North Carolina 1960" on his gravestone in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery.

Photographs courtesy "Raising the Story of Menhaden Fishing."