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H. M. Smith, Jr. (1906-10; 1912-20)

The parents of Mr. H. M. (Henry Marston) Smith, Jr., were of Massachusetts ancestry. His father's grandfather, Captain Sylvanus Smith, with five brothers, responded to the April alarm of 1775, and helped harass the British in their retreat from Concord and Lexington, and participated later in the glorious victory at Yorktown. From this ancestor, Mr. Smith inherits his membership in the Massachusetts "Society of the Cincinnati."

Mr. Smith's father settled in Richmond, Virginia, in 1829, and engaged principally in the manufacture of agricultural implements. He was a great inventive genius, and early began to supply the Virginia planters with implements such as the feed cutter, corn planter, well fixtures, horse-power and threshing machine. During the Civil War, he invented a hay press which was of great service to the Confederate cause.

Mr. H. M. Smith, Jr., was born in Richmond, July 19th, 1859. As a boy, he attended Strothers and Norwood's University School; he then became a student at the V. P. I., from which he was graduated in 1877. After leaving Blacksburg, he spent one year at Richmond College, by which institution he was given a scholarship in memory of his father. The session 1879-80 he was at the University of Virginia, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Law. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity there, and was later treasurer and one of the building committee to erect at the University a twenty-thousand-dollar chapter house to this fraternity, which was opened to the members at the beginning of session 1911.

Since his graduation, Mr. Smith has lived in Richmond and practiced his profession. For several terms he was commonwealth's attorney of the Capital City. He has been a member of the State Democratic committee, and also of the executive committee, and was Democratic elector from the Third Congressional District in 1908. He was also a delegate to the Baltimore Convention of 1912, to which convention he went as an ardent supporter of his friend and college mate, Woodrow Wilson. He was president of the first Woodrow Wilson Club organized in Virginia.

Mr. Smith has figured conspicuously in V. P. I. affairs. As a student there, he was first orator in the Lee Literary Society, and editor of the Gray Jacket, the old college magazine. For three years he played on the college baseball nine, and was always a leader in athletic sports. Several times in later years he has, at Commencement, addressed the alumni and the literary societies; he has also been president of the General Alumni Association. He was a member of the board of visitors of the V. P. I., 1906-1910, by appointment of Governor Swanson, and was again appointed by Governor Mann for the term beginning July 1st, 1912. Mr. Smith is now a member of the firm of Smith, Moncure & Gordon, one of the oldest law firms of the City of Richmond.


This sketch was by Professor Richard H. Hudnall, professor of English, and was printed in the Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute -- The State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Vol. 5, No. 4, October 1912, pp. 29-31.


On account of the identity of his initials with those of his father, Mr. Smith has always signed himself "H. M. Smith, Jr." (from Men of Mark in Virginia: Ideals Of American Life; A Collection Of Biographies Of The Leading Men In The State, Volume 2, Lyon G Tyler, LL.D., President William and Mary College, Editor in Chief, Men Of Mark Publishing Company, Washington DC, 1907