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The A. M. E. Connection in West Virginia, while not as strong numerically as in some of the other states, can point with pride to the quality and character of its leadership. One of these leaders who has made a place for himself in the work of the denomination is Rev. Andrew Jefferson Smoot, now (1922) Presiding Elder of the Charleston District, and who resides at Madison, in Boone County, W. Va. In fact, that is his native place. He was born there on September 25, 1878, son of Milton Smoot, a farmer, who was the son of Jeff and Mary Smoot, originally from North Carolina. The mother of our subject was Sarah Peery, daughter of Hulda Peery.

Growing up in Boone County, young Smoot laid the foundation of his education in the local public schools. Life on the Boone County farm was not easy nor was it very remunerative. Besides our subject was one of ten children, so he realized that whatever education he secured must be had through his own efforts. Accordingly he worked his way in school, nor did he permit the fact of the lack of means to discourage him. He passed from the public school to what is now the West Virginia Collegiate Institute in the early years of that great school and finished there in 1896. He had been converted at the age of 14, and felt called to preach immediately thereafter. He was licensed in 1902, and in the following year joined the Conference at Uniontown, Penn., under Bishop Wm. B. Derrick. His first regular conference appointment was to the home circuit at Madison, where he preached one year. He was successful from the beginning and went next to the Freeman Circuit, which he served six months. He was then promoted to station work at Meridian, W. Va., where he preached for four years and built a new house of worship, and went from there to the Elkins Station one year and remodelled the church. His next appointment was the Buchanan Station, where he labored for two years. He went from there to the Weston Station for a pastorate of two and one half years and built an elegant parsonage. He was then promoted to the District and is now in his third year on the Charleston District.

In politics he is a Republican and is active in the councils of his party, being district chairman. Among the secret and fraternal orders, he affiliates with the Masons and the Pythians. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, Deputy District G. M.

On June 7, 1899, Mr. Smoot married Miss Julia Ann Banks, daughter of Green and Harriet Banks. Of the five children born to them four are living. They are Elven C. Arminthia R., Carris E., and Andrew J. Smoot, Jr.

As he looks back over the past he realizes that the greatest influence for good in his life was that of his Christian home. Next after the inspired writings his favorite book is Pilgrim's Progress. He knows no short cuts to progress or success. He exhorts to thrift and economy, to education, and the practice of a practical Christianity. He is himself an example of what those things will do for a man.

Mr. Smoot is also an experienced educator, having taught in the public and high schools of West Virginia for thirteen years.

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