Civil War Presidential Cabinet Secretary, US Congressman. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but moved early in life with his family to Ohio, where he attended Cincinnati College and Miami University. Passing the bar in 1828, he set up a practice in Connersville, Indiana. Four years later, he founded the Indiana Sentinel, a newspaper serving the Whig party. Elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1833, he labored in that body throughout most of the decade. In 1843, he won a seat in the United States House of Representatives and for the next seven years furthered Whig interests there. He returned Cincinnati in 1851, resuming his practice and managing the Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad. An influential member of the Indiana delegation to the Republican national convention of 1860, he was catered to by David Davis, Abraham Lincoln's political manager. The Lincoln faction needed the Indiana votes to ensure their candidate's nomination, and to keep these votes in their camp, Davis promised him a cabinet post in the new administration. Lincoln, unaware of Davis' deal, later agreed to it, stating that he would add a conservative touch to his cabinet. His term as Lincoln's secretary of the interior was undistinguished. A machine politician of the old school, he looked out for his own interests first. He appointed his son to a post in the Interior Department and caused Lincoln other problems with patronage. He argued against the resupply of besieged Fort Sumter, advising that the decision could be explained away if public outcry resulted. In July 1862 he also signed a memorandum to Lincoln calling for the removal of Major General George B. McClellan. A few weeks later, he defended Major General John Pope prior to the debacle at the Battle of Second Bull Run in August 1862. In December 1862, in poor health, he submitted his resignation to Lincoln. He had been offered a Federal judgeship in Indiana and wanted the appointment for security's sake. While in Indianapolis for a court session, he was suddenly taken ill and died. A large private mausoleum was constructed for Smith at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana, but upon his death, he was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, and then moved to Connersville City Cemetery.
Bio by: Ugaalltheway