The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 11
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Broker to the British: Francis Smith and Company 11
It was not an unusual thing for an owner of a large planation [sic]
to come into the office and announce that he owned so much land in
a county, throw his deeds upon the counter and demand the sum of
money he required forthwith, to take home with him by the next train
or steamboat; and become very angry if his demand was refused. It
required time to educate the people from this, the old condition of
things, to the new and necessary one, to select ir each county persons
capable of making abstracts of title, to select competent attorneys, who
were required to give written opinions, viz. 'pass upon' the sufficiency
of the titles as shown by the abstract. . . ."
Educate them he did! By 1882 Smith had so successfully assessed
Southern psychology and financial needs that his company opened
branch offices in Vicksburg, Columbus, Memphis, Little Rock, Fort
Worth, Houston, and finally San Antonio."8
The arrival of Francis Smith on the second floor of the recently
constructed Kampmann Building, on the corner of West Commerce
and Solidad Streets, San Antonio, signaled more than the opening of
another branch office. In 1881 Francis Smith first became intrigued
with the loaning possibilities in Texas, when he traveled through
central and western Texas on a recuperative "holiday."" His. doctor
had prescribed plenty of fresh air, and so, typically, Smith decided to
combine business with pleasure. What he saw during this leisurely
tour convinced him that as quickly as possible his firm should invest
in Texas ranching.
The same traits-attention to detail, ample capital, and shrewd
assessment of prospective loans-that had made his Southern mortgage
business so auspicious, were soon evident in his Texas transactions.
While the basic principles of mortgage lending were similar, whether
the surety was a plantation or a ranch, a brokerage operation in Texas
was by no means identical with one in Alabama.
Shortly, Francis Smith and Company evolved a systematic lending
philosophy tailored from and to their Texas experience. Usually when
serving a new client, and not infrequently when dealing with an old
customer, Francis Smith was called upon to expound his lending
principles. Often these exchanges only increased the frustration of
both parties; occasionally they had a mollifying, if not enlightening
17Francis Smith, "The Revival of the South, Due to Foreign Money."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/29/: accessed February 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.