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John Cotton Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Cotton Smith
John Cotton Smith engraving.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's At-large district
In office
November 17, 1800 – August 1806
Preceded byRoger Griswold
Succeeded byJames Davenport
27th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
In office
May 9, 1811 – May 13, 1813
GovernorRoger Griswold
Preceded byRoger Griswold
Succeeded byChauncey Goodrich
23rd Governor of Connecticut
In office
October 25, 1812 – May 8, 1817
LieutenantChauncey Goodrich
Preceded byRoger Griswold
Succeeded byOliver Wolcott, Jr.
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1765-02-12)February 12, 1765
Sharon, Connecticut Colony, British America
DiedDecember 7, 1845(1845-12-07) (aged 80)
Sharon, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyFederalist
Spouse(s)Margaret Evertson Smith
ParentsCotton Mather Smith
Alma materYale College
OccupationLawyer, Judge, Politician

John Cotton Smith (February 12, 1765 – December 7, 1845) was a nineteenth-century lawyer, judge and politician from Connecticut. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, as the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and as the 23rd Governor of Connecticut.


Smith was born in Sharon in the Connecticut Colony, the son of Cotton Mather Smith, a Puritan minister who moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut. Smith completed preparatory studies and graduated from Yale College in 1783. After graduation, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of law in Sharon in 1787.[1] Smith married Margaret Evertson and they had one son together.[2]

He entered politics as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1793. He served in the State House in 1793, 1796 and 1800. In 1800 he served as speaker of that body.[3]

Smith was elected as a Federalist candidate to the Sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jonathan Brace. He was reelected to the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Congresses, serving from November 17, 1800 until his resignation in August 1806.[4] Smith was chairman of the Committee on Claims in the Seventh through Ninth Congresses.[5]

After serving in Congress, Smith served as an associate judge of the Superior Court and Supreme Court of Errors from 1809 to 1811.[6][7] He served as the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1811 to 1812.[8] He was the 22nd Governor of Connecticut from October 25, 1812 to May 8, 1817. Smith was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor on the Federalist ticket in 1817. He was the last Federalist Governor of Connecticut.[9]

Smith retired from politics but remained involved in academic and religious organizations. He was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Connecticut Historical Society,[10][11] and was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813.[12] He served as president of the American Bible Society from 1831 until his death in 1845.[13] Smith died on December 7, 1845 in Sharon. He is interred in Hillside Cemetery.

Smith's home in Sharon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. ^ "John Cotton Smith". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  2. ^ "JOHN COTTON SMITH, GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT, 1812-1817". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  3. ^ "Connecticut Governor John Cotton Smith". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Rep. John Cotton Smith". Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "SMITH, John Cotton, (1765 - 1845)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Smith, John Cotton (1765-1845)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "JOHN COTTON SMITH". Litchfield Historical Society. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  8. ^ "John Cotton Smith". Connecticut General Assembly. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  9. ^ "John Cotton Smith President of the American Bible Society, 1831-1845". American Bible History. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  10. ^ "John Cotton Smith". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Connecticut Governor John Cotton Smith". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  12. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  13. ^ "John Cotton Smith President of the American Bible Society, 1831-1845". American Bible History. Retrieved January 1, 2013.

External links

Popular Culture

Henry Russell dedicated the song My Mother's Bible to Gov. Smith.

Party political offices
Preceded by
Roger Griswold
Federalist nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1813, 1814, 1815, 1816
Succeeded by
Timothy Pitkin
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jonathan Brace
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Theodore Dwight
Political offices
Preceded by
Roger Griswold
Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Chauncey Goodrich
Preceded by
Roger Griswold
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
This page was last edited on 26 May 2020, at 03:43
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