Page 14 – Autobiography – Benjamin Lafayette Smith
 
                  store, and continued the mill business on Broad street till September 1883, when I bought
                  Gibson’s interest, and continued the business until October 1884, when I sold the property on
                  Broad street to J. W. White of Enterprise.
                       I brought my milk cows to West Point in April 1882 and began selling milk and
                  butter. A good many died in the summer.
                       As soon as I sold my mill on Broad street, I tore down the buildings on the lot on
                  Main Street and began to build two brick stores on the lot and got them about twelve feet
                  high by cold weather and stopped until spring. By this time I had concluded to build an
                  opera house over them. I finished them in August and rented the two stores to Franks Bros
                  for $60.00 per month and Opera House to Franks & Coleman for $500.00 for the season.
                  By this time I had about eighteen cows. I had two hands on the place, that milked the cows
                  and worked on the place. Ira was large enough to do some milking and deliver the milk in
                  the hack we had at Artesia. I helped do the milking and we commenced in time to finish by
                  sunup. Ira was ready to deliver the milk by sunup and finished in time to get to school as
                  soon as it opened, and a part of the time led his class. Lucy was ready and anxious to help
                  make this a success. She washed the milk cans and put the milk in them, and had the butter
                  ready for Ira, and also attended to the churning, and worked and molded all the butter. At
                  times when we were short a hand she helped to milk. I soon began to sell lumber and coal
                  and did a good business for several years. Finally there was one extremely short cotton crop
                  and the lumber business came almost to a stand still. I became despondent and sold my
                  lumber interest to S. L. Keearn manager of the West Point Mfg.. Co., and went to work for
                  it for $1000.00 for the year. This was a big mistake. I should not have quit, for in eighteen
                  months the sale for lumber was as good as ever, and the coal business improved. I then
                  formed a copartnership with S. B. White and commenced to sell groceries. After about
                  eighteen months we added sash and doors to our business and by degrees soon added a good
                  deal of hardware. I bought White’s interest and continued the grocery and hardware business
                  till Jan 1903, when I sold my business to Cottrel & Chandler. While in this business, I
                  furnished a few farmers money and supplies for making a crop. When I sold to Cottrell &
                  Chandler, I took an office upstairs and did an exclusive supply business, taking trust deeds as
                  security. I bought groceries as I needed them from wholesale and retail merchants in West
                  Point, giving orders to supply each individual as was needed. In February 1904 I sold my
                  two stores to S. L. Hearn for $10,000.00 and invested the money in my business. As the
                  prospect for boll weevil began to approach, I began early in 1910 to reduce my business as
                  fast as possible. In two years, I had collected the most of my notes and accounts and
                  furnished very little after this. By 1914 1 had but few notes on hand and what few were well
                  secured and did not loose anything on account of the sudden drop of cotton in the fall.
                  While in this, I was not as conservative as I should have been, advanced too much on the
                  security I took, and consequently had to buy in a good deal of the property sold under the
                  trust deeds. Had to take a good many town and country lots. I had to buy 411 acres in
                  Tibbee bottom, as well as several small tracts in different localities. I sold all of these as
                  fast as I could. I fenced a part of the tract in Tibbee bottom and put some cattle on it,
                  expecting to carry them through the winter on the cane. But they did not do well on that
                  alone. I then began to buy in the spring and sell in the fall. I bought some registered Angus
                  cattle, three bulls and four heifers. Somehow they did not grow to good size, although I
                  kept them fat. I kept them three years and sold them. I may have gotten cost of of money
                  invested and feed but no more. I did not keep a strict account of my cattle business in these