The Road to Civil War

William Smith

(September 6, 1797 — May 18, 1887) William Smith, a Representative from Virginia; born in Marengo, King George County, Va., September 6, 1797; attended private schools in Virginia and Plainfield Academy in Connecticut; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Culpeper, Culpeper County, Va., in 1818; established a line of United States mail and passenger post coaches through Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia in 1831; member of the State senate from 1836 to 1841, when he resigned; successfully contested as a Democrat the election of Linn Banks to the Twenty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1841, to March 3, 1843; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1842 to the Twenty-eighth Congress; moved to Fauquier County; Governor of Virginia 1846-1849, and unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate during that period; moved to California in April 1849; president of the first Democratic State convention in 1850; returned to Virginia in December 1852; elected to the Thirty-third and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1853-March 3, 1861); during the Civil War served in the Confederate Army as colonel of the Forty-ninth Regiment of Virginia Infantry, and subsequently was promoted to brigadier general and major general; served in the Confederate Congress in 1862; again Governor of Virginia in 1864; returned to his estate, ``Monterosa,'' near Warrenton, Va., in June 1865; engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the State house of delegates 1877-1879; died in Warrenton, Va., May 18, 1887; interment in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va. [Source: “Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 - Present,” available at]

Member of Virginia Delegation - The Road to Civil War [this display].

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