James Smith was born in MacDuff, Scotland on 18 March 1793 and died in Sackville, New Brunswick on 16 August, 1865. He and his wife, Abigail [b. 1803], had three sons: Alexander [b. 1832], Abner [b. 1836], and Frederick.[b. 1844].
During the first half of the 19th century, James Smith and James Ayer manufactured harnesses, boots, and shoes in Middle Sackville. At this time, W. C. E. Hamilton (known as “Big Hamilton”) built up a large tannery business. They were succeeded by James R. Ayer, and brothers Abner Smith and Alexander Smith and their establishments were purchased by the “Standard” Company organized by A. E. Wry, later renamed A. E. Wry - Standard, Ltd. Dates regarding the amalgamation of these enterprises have not been determined.
In 1895 James Ayer built the Standard Manufacturing Company’s general store on 332 Main Street in Middle Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1914 the shareholders of the Standard Manufacturing Company and A. E. Wry Limited, the two main branches of this industry, combined their efforts to form A.E Wry – Standard Ltd. This company was the largest of its kind in Canada, carrying out under one management the manufacturing of boots and shoes, moccasins and shoepacks, harnesses of all types, and the tanning of various types of leather. They were also jobbers of saddlery, hardware, leather, Saskatchewan robes and coats, sheep skin coats, trunks, bags, etc. In 1939 the general store was purchased by the J. L .Black Company. The date that the A.E Wry – Standard Ltd. Company officially closed its doors has not been determined.