Col. George P. Smith


COL. GEORGE P. SMITH, born at Wooster, Ohio, August 14, 1826, died at Steubenville, August 23, 1889, was one of the prominent men of the upper Ohio valley. He received his education in the Wooster schools and at Mt. Pleasant college, Iowa and subsequently became the editor of the Wheeling Times and Gazette. He also prepared himself for the practice of medicine at the Eclectic college, of Cincinnati and going to Danville, Ill., he practiced there two years, until April 1861, at the same time editing the Danville Republican. At the beginning of Lincoln's administration, he was appointed collector of revenue at Bellingham's Bay, Washington, at a salary of $3,000 but when en route to the east, he stopped at Wheeling and finding the country in need of soldiers, he enlisted and served for five months under the first call as captain on the staff of General Morris. Then going to Illinois, he served as major of the Sixty-ninth Illinois regiment one year, after which he re-enlisted for three years, and raised the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois regiment, of which he was commissioned colonel. After a year's gallant service, in which he endeared himself to his men by his bravery and activity, he was compelled by sickness to resign. He did not recover until a year afterward, when he purchased the Jacksonville (Illinois) Journal, daily and weekly, which he edited brilliantly four years. Sickness, and the absence of his son in Europe caused him to sell out and remove to Kansas, where having had considerable acquaintance with the law, he opened a law office at Humboldt. He practiced there with much success for twenty years, and served in 1884 as attorney general of the state. Ill health required his departure from the state; he was appointed pension examiner at Pittsburgh by Pres. Cleveland, and he resided there three years. In July, 1889, he removed to Steubenville, intending to resume the practice of law, but died in the following month. He was married August 8, 1848, to Margaret, daughter of Samuel and Jane (McDonald) Caldwell, of Columbiana county, Ohio. This estimable lady is still living and is a resident of Wellsburg. The children of this union were four in number. Byron C., the eldest, was born in Jefferson County, Ohio. At the age of nineteen years he went to Europe and studied one year at each of the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, Munich and Athens. On his return he was called to the chair of Greek in the Kansas univeristy, at Lawrence and held that position three years, being then compelled to go to Philadelphia for medical treatment. While there he was engaged for fifteen months as an editor of the Philadelphia Press. He next went to Humboldt, Kan., and thence to Colorado, where he died May 4, 1877, aged twenty-seven years. Of him, George D. Prentiss said: "A brighter torch was never extinguished in the dark waters than when Byron C. Smith passed away. His young, bright face, as it looks down from the wall, seems to have in it as little of the dross of this world as any countenance I have ever seen". Hon. T. D. Thatcher, editor of the Republican Daily Journal, of Lawrence, Kan., wrote of him: "His mind was many sided, alert, profound, comprehensive. It was rare to meet a man of his age-or indeed of any age, for that matter-who was so thoroughly posted upon such a wide and varied range of topics. He excelled as a linguist, yet his favorite studies were metaphysical and philosophical. In these departments he was at home and he was also a master of the ancient and modern thought. He deeply sympathized with the positive philosophy and hoped to see its doctrines carried out in the constitution of society and the organization of government. Take him all in all, he was probably the most brillant scholar the country has ever known." The other children of Col. Smith are Abbie J., who died in 1871, and Gerritt, who is in the grocery business at Wellsburg. The latter married Mary Caldwell, and had four children: Fred, Rodney, Carl and Harry Paull.

Copyright 2006 Danice Ryan. All rights reserved.

This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated
in any fashion without my consent.