Smith, David A.
Born: 1804-06-18 Charlotte County, Virginia
Died: 1865-07-13 Anoka, Minnesota
In his youth, Smith moved with his family to Pulaski, Tennessee, where he studied law. In 1824, he moved to Courtland, Alabama, where he began to practice law. Shortly after his admission to the bar, Smith married Jane Smith, who only lived about six months after their marriage. In 1830, Smith remarried to Eliza Eleanor Allan, with whom he had eleven children. In 1834, he inherited a plantation with twenty-one enslaved people, all of whom he emancipated in 1837. The same year, Smith moved to Carlinville, Illinois, where he practiced law. In 1839, he moved to Jacksonville, where he entered into a partnership with attorney John J. Hardin that lasted until Hardin’s death in 1847. In 1850, Smith was practicing law and owned $15,000 in real estate. By 1860, Smith had accumulated $40,000 in real estate, with a personal estate of $40,000. Smith encountered Abraham Lincoln on numerous occasions in the Illinois courts. Originally a Whig, Smith later joined the Republican Party and supported Lincoln's nomination to the presidency in 1860 and 1864. Smith served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois College in Jacksonville from 1842 until his death in 1865.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 18 July 1865, 2:1-3; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:339, 347-50; The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men: Illinois Volume (Chicago: American Biographical, 1876), 266-68; Doris Broehl Hopper, David A. Smith: Abolitionist, Patron of Learning, Prairie Lawyer (Jacksonville, IL: Morgan County Historical Society, 2003); U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL, 178; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL, 25; For Smith's cases with Lincoln, search, "Smith, David A.," under "Participant," Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org; Gravestone, Diamond Grove Cemetery, Jacksonville, IL. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.