Green Clay Smith
Son of Col. John Speed Smith and Elizabeth Lewis Smith
|Managed by:||Myron Lewis McGahan|
About Gen. Green Clay Smith (USA), 2nd Gov. of Montana Terr.
Green Clay Smith (July 4, 1826 – June 29, 1895) was a U.S. soldier and politician. He served as a major general during the Civil War, was a congressman from Kentucky and was the Territorial Governor of Montana from 1866 to 1869.
Smith was born in Richmond, Kentucky to John Speed Smith. Smith pursued academic studies as a young man. During the U.S.-Mexican War, he enlisted in the Army and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the First Regiment of the Kentucky Volunteer Infantry on June 9, 1846. He graduated from Transylvania University in 1849, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1852, commencing practice in Covington, Kentucky. From 1853 to 1857, Smith worked as a school commissioner.
Smith was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1861 to 1863. On April 4, 1862, he was commissioned colonel of the Fourth Regiment of the Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry. He later advanced to brigadier general of volunteers on July 2, 1862. In 1862, Smith was elected an Unconditional Unionist to the thirty-eighth congress, resigning from his military post on December 1, 1863. He served as chairman of the Committee on Militia from 1865 to 1866. He was brevetted major general of volunteers on March 13, 1865.
Smith resigned from Congress in July 1866 when President Andrew Johnson appointed him Territorial Governor of Montana, which he served as from 1866 to 1869. After he resigned, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he was ordained to the Baptist ministry and supported the temperance movement.
In 1876, the National Prohibition Party nominated Smith for President of the United States. With his running mate, Gideon T. Stewart, the two received 9,737 popular votes in the election. He continued his work in religion and temperance and in 1890 became pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. which he served as until his death in 1895.
Green Clay Smith was also the Inspirational founder of the Williamsburg Institute in Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky. He called the first meeting and led the discussion toward the establishment of this Baptist school which was later named Cumberland College, and is now known as the University of the Cumberlands. (Source: UCumberland Today - Alumni Magazine Winter 2014 - Part 2 of the Special 125th Anniversary Edition, pg. 24).