It’s impossible to tell the story of the history of the Fund without talking about Horace Smith, its namesake. A successful manufacturer, inventor, businessman and generous philanthropist, Smith was born in Chester, Massachusetts, on October 28, 1808.
The Beginnings of a Fortune
As a child, Horace’s family moved to Springfield, where he became a student of mechanical principles and received his early training at the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield. He eventually formed a partnership with Daniel B. Wesson to create the “Smith & Wesson Company.” This company was later sold to Oliver Winchester and became the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
Together, the pair started a second venture, “The Smith & Wesson Revolver Company.” They made a name for themselves and subsequently amassed a fortune as manufacturers of pistols with interchangeable parts, revolving magazines and open cylinders.
The Horace Smith Fund
In 1893, Horace passed away and left behind a large estate. After bequests to family and institutions, he dictated that the remainder be used for public purposes at the discretion of his executors. As a result, the Horace Smith Fund was established in 1899 to help deserving Hampden County students finance their educations.
More than 120 years later, the Fund now provides scholarships and awards in four separate categories: