William Rudolph Smith

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William Rudolph Smith (August 31, 1787 – August 22, 1868) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Federalist member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania Senate for the 17th district from 1821 to 1824 and as Attorney General of Wisconsin from 1855 to 1856.

Early life

Smith was born on August 31, 1787, in Trappe, Pennsylvania. His father was William Smith, the first provost of the College of Philadelphia. He studied law and in 1808 was admitted to the bar and moved to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.[1] He married Eliza Anthony in 1809.[2] He served as a colonel in the United States Army during the War of 1812.[3] His wife Eliza died in 1821 and he was remarried in 1823 to Mary Campbell Vandyke.[2]


Smith served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate for the 17th district from 1821 to 1824.[4] In 1837, he was appointed by Wisconsin Territorial Governor Henry Dodge to make a treaty with the Chippewa Indians which resulted in the purchase of land encompassing a large part of Minnesota.[2] He moved to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in 1837.[1] He was elected Adjutant General and served until 1852. In 1846, he served as Clerk of Legislative Council and as a delegate to the first Wisconsin Constitutional Convention. In 1849 and 1850, he served as Secretary of the Senate. He was elected Attorney General of Wisconsin and served from 1855 to 1856.[2]


His son Richard M. Smith spent a one-year term as a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1856.[5] Another son, John Montgomery Smith, also served in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1892.[6] Smith died on August 22, 1868[7] and is interred at Graceland Cemetery in Mineral Point.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Death of Gen. Wm. R. Smith". Semi-Weekly Wisconsin. August 29, 1868. p. 2. Retrieved April 27, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  2. ^ a b c d Hoyt, Albert Harrison (1869). The New England Historical and Genealogical Register; Volume 23 1869. New England Historic Geanealogical Society. p. 218. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Wisconsin Historical Society-William Rudolph Smith. Wisconsinhistory.org. Retrieved on January 22, 2016.
  4. ^ "Pennsylvania State Senate - William Rudolph Smith Biography". www.legis.state.pa.us. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Richard M. Smith". Chicago Tribune. May 25, 1888. p. 3. Retrieved July 16, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ Biodata. Politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved on January 22, 2016.
  7. ^ "Hon. William R. Smith". The Daily Milwaukee News. August 26, 1868. p. 4. Retrieved April 26, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ "Gen William Rudolph Smith". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

External links

Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
William Davidson
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate from the 17th district
Succeeded by
Christian Garber
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Baldwin Smith
Attorney General of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Gabriel Bouck
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