|Birth: ||Sep. 28, 1841|
|Death: ||Apr. 17, 1897|
"The last Reconstruction Republican lieutenant governor, known for attempting a coup d’état aimed at displacing a sitting governor, Volney Voltaire Smith was also the most distinguished nineteenth-century figure to have died in the state insane asylum." (Source: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture).
Volney Smith was born September 28, 1841 in New York (likely Rochester) to Delazon and Eliza Voke Smith. Volney's mother died when he was a child. His father Delazon was a newspaperman, politician, and (briefly) U.S. Senator who died in his 40's under suspicious circumstances.
The Civil War broke out around the time of his father's death. Volney enlisted in the Union Army, was wounded and served as quarter master in various camps in Kentucky and Texas. After the war, he lived in Lewisville, Arkansas, where he served as county clerk, published the Red River Post, a Republican and pro-reconstruction paper, and became lieutenant governor of the state, serving from January 6, 1873 to November 12, 1874.
He then served as U.S. Counsel to St. Thomas island in the West Indies for about a dozen years under Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland, drawing an annual salary of $2500. He lost his appointment under Cleveland. Returning to Arkansas, he involved himself in local politics and practiced law.
From the NY Tribune, April 22, 1897: "Volney V. Smith, ex-lieutenant governor and formerly one of the most prominent figures in Arkansas politics died yesterday at the insane asylum where he had been confined several months. Mr. Smith became insane on the money question in the late Presidential campaign and since his confinement, he became violent. He served as Consul to St. Thomas in the Grant Administration."
From the NY Times: "Ex-Gov. Smith who was placed in the insane aslyum here last January died today. He was a citizen of New Lewisville, Layfayette County and twenty-two years ago led the Republican hosts of Arkansas in the memorable Brooks-Baxter war, being Baxter's lieutenant in office. The financial question of the late campaign drove him mad, and his daily appeals to the guards was to be permitted to tell President McKinley how to adjust that much mooted issue to the satisfaction of everybody. His body was sent home for burial."
Volney V. Smith married Mary Jane Elliot of Pennsylvania. They had no children. Following his death, she was given a postmaster's appointment. In 1904, she married the Rev. Joseph Alexander Dickson. Her date of death and burial place are unknown.
Delazon Smith (1816 - 1860)
Delazon Smith (1839 - 1840)*
Volney Voltaire Smith (1841 - 1897)
Mary Ianthe Smith Harper (1849 - 1876)*
Eliza Viola Smith (1851 - 1870)*
Helen E Smith (1853 - 1876)*
Delazon D. Smith (1855 - 1878)*
Delavan Shepherd Smith (1858 - 1945)*
Note: Masonic emblem
Created by: Annie202
Record added: Jan 24, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13113452