Governor James Y. Smith

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Governor James Y. Smith


Image of Rhode Island Governor James Y. Smith.

Smith was born in Groton, New London County, Connecticut. He was a store manager in Salem, Connecticut, at the age of sixteen. Next year, he moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he worked for a lumber business that he became the owner of a decade later. He sold this business to start a manufacturing business with his brother Amos D. Smith, and with their A.D. & J.Y. Smith Mills they became the leading textile investors in the state. James Y. Smith. They owned mills in both Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Smith was active in politics as a Republican. He was Mayor of Providence from 1855 to 1857. He was a member of the House of Representatives of Rhode Island. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1861, but won in the election two years later. He succeeded William C. Cozzens on May 26, 1863. He was reelected two times, then declined to run again. He was succeeded by fellow Republican and Civil war general Ambrose Burnside on May 29, 1866.

After leaving office, Smith founded the James Y. Smith Manufacturing Company. He continued as a manufacturer until his death in 1876. He was buried at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence.
Source: James Y. Smith From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See also:

Rhode Island State Archives Resources

A Battle Hard Fought - Rhode Island and the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Observance

Civil War – Commission to Preserve the Military Records of the State

Military Records - Civil War

Civil War Recruitment Book (1861)

Board of Military Enrollment

Adjutant General - Orders Received, Executive Department (1857 - 1858;1861; 1863)

Civil War - Record Book, Orders received, First Detached Militia / Tenth Rhode Island Volunteers (1861 - 1862)

Rhode Island Militia - Enrolled Men, Town Returns (1843 - 1898)

Additional Resources

National Archives Civil War Photographs

National Archives Civil War Records

National Archives The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Library of Congress US Civil War: Selected Resources


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"Governor James Y. Smith," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #699, (accessed August 22, 2019).