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Kenneth Smith was born in Callanish in 1823, son of John and Christina nee Maclean from Garynahine and subsequently Doune Carloway, where his father was the tacksman from 1853-73. The family is believed to have spent some time in America where, during the 1849 gold rush at San Francisco, Kenneth amassed a small fortune. Returning to Stornoway he became a leading fishcurer and merchant, playing an important role in the development of the fishing industry and becoming a leading figure of the town. He married twice; his first wife was Elizabeth Jones from Stornoway and his second wife was Mary Macaulay, also from Stornoway.
See also the account of his life and his brother Donald Smith, first Provost of Stornoway.