Rodney ("Gypsy") Smith was born in a gypsy tent near Epping Forest, Essex, northeast of London, England. Rodney had no formal schooling. His mother died of smallpox when he was a lad. It is to be noted that the gypsies were a neglected people, the "religious" church people had little or nothing to do with them. For the most part the gypsies were pagans from start to finish. The mother knew she was going to die, and she was afraid. Rodney's father, Cornelius Smith, was not converted, but he knew the way of salvation. While in jail for three months, he had listened to the chaplain preach the Gospel, and the Spirit had planted the seed of The Word in his heart. He told his dear wife that Christ died for sinners and that she could trust Christ and be saved. She did look to the Saviour and received peace. She died knowing she would see the Saviour in Heaven. Just before she died, she committed her children to the Lord. Cornelius had brothers, two of whom were deeply concerned about salvation, and these three brothers gave their lives to Christ about the same time. They formed an evangelistic team and were greatly used of the Lord among their own people, and others. The father led his son, Rodney, to the Lord when he was about 15. For seventy years Rodney toured many nations, preaching Christ and singing the gospel.