About Delazon Smith, U.S. Senator
Delazon Smith (October 5, 1816 – November 19, 1860) was a Democratic Party politician who briefly represented the state of Oregon in the U.S. Senate in 1859. He served for less than one month (February 14 to March 4), making his term among the shortest on record in the Senate. Smith was also a newspaper editor in New York and Ohio, and served in the Oregon Territory's legislature.
Smith was born in New Berlin, New York on October 5, 1816. He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1837, and then began the study of law. Soon after Smith admitted to the bar. In 1838 he established the New York Watchman newspaper in Rochester, New York, which he edited for two years. Smith also edited the True Jeffersonian and the Western Herald in Rochester for a time in 1840. In 1841, he founded the Western Empire in Dayton, Ohio.
Smith's career in politics began when he was appointed a special United States commissioner to Quito, serving in this capacity from 1842 to 1845. He then moved to the Iowa Territory in 1846 and became a minister. In 1852 he moved to the Oregon Territory and began editing the Oregon Democrat. In 1854 he was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives. There he served as Speaker of the House during the 1855 to 1856 session. The following session was his last as a representative of Linn County. In 1857 Smith was a delegate to the state's constitutional convention of that prepared the first constitution in preparation for statehood. Upon Oregon's admission to the Union as the 33rd state, Smith was elected to the Senate, serving from February 14 to March 4, 1859. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election.
Less than two years after leaving the Senate, Delazon Smith died in Portland on November 19, 1860 at the age of 44 years. His interment was at Albany, Oregon in the Masonic Cemetery.
A History of Oberlin, or New Lights of the West. Cleveland: S. Underhill & Son, 1837.