Arthur A Penn, born in London, was a direct descendant of William Penn. He wrote an account of how the inspiration to write Smilin’ through
came from an advert on a train which showed a country cottage with a road winding through fields. It dates from 1918. “I wrote the song in twenty minutes”, he said, “the music first, then the words, on the back of an envelope coming in one day on a Long Island train. I had no title for it—that came with the words”.
from notes by Robert White © 1995