Smith, Truman

Born: 1791-11-27 Roxbury, Connecticut

Died: 1884-05-03 Stamford, Connecticut

Born into a political family, Truman Smith graduated from Yale College in 1815, before studying law at the Litchfield Law School. He became a practicing lawyer in 1818 and won election to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1831, 1832, and 1834. A Whig, voters elected him to a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives in 1839. Smith served until 1843 and then again from 1845 to 1849. Because Smith was the Whig national chairman during Zachary Taylor's 1848 presidential campaign, President Taylor offered him a cabinet position as the first secretary of the interior, but Smith refused. Instead, he served in the U. S. Senate from 1849 until his resignation in 1854. From that point on, he practiced law in New York City. In July 1862, his former senatorial colleague, William H. Seward, had him appointed judge of the mixed court of international arbitration, which was created with Great Britain that year to police and suppress the slave trade.

Smith had two wives during his lifetime. He married his first wife, Maria Cook, in 1832, and they had a son and two daughters together before she died in April 1849. His second wife, Mary A. Dickinson, married him in 1850, and they had six sons.

Norman B. Ferris, "Smith, Truman," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 20:299-300.