J. Gregory Smith, Governor

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John Gregory Smith

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Saint Albans City, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
Death: Died in Saint Albans City, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
Place of Burial: Saint Albans City, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of <private> Smith and <private> Curtis
Husband of Ann Eliza Smith
Father of George Gregory Smith; Annie B. Smith; Lawrence Brainerd Smith; Edward Curtis Smith, Governor; Julia Burnett Smith and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About J. Gregory Smith, Governor


Gregory Smith (July 22, 1818 – November 6, 1891), railroad tycoon, politician, war-time governor of Vermont

Smith was born in St. Albans, Vermont, son of John and Maria (Curtis) Smith. The elder Smith was a pioneer railroad builder in Vermont, and a leading lawyer and public man of his generation. John Gregory graduated from the University of Vermont in 1841, and subsequently Yale Law School.

He married in 1842, Anne Eliza, daughter of Lawrence Brainerd, prominent in her own right as the author of several novels and other books. Sometime around 1870, he named the town of Brainerd, Minnesota after his wife's maiden name whose father Lawrence Brainerd died recently.

Smith became associated with his father in his law practice and railroad management. After his father's death in 1858, he succeeded to the position of trustee under the lease of the Vermont and Canada Railroad. Simultaneously he entered politics, and for many years the career in each line was involved with the other. He was also one of the originators of the Northern Pacific Railway enterprise and was the president of the corporation from 1866 to 1872. Under his lead five hundred and fifty-five miles of the road were built.

He entered the Legislature as St. Albans' representative in 1860, and in 1861 and 1862 was speaker of the House, winning such popularity that he was unanimously nominated for Governor in 1863, succeeding Frederick Holbrook, and re-elected in 1864. He was particularly solicitous in caring for the Vermont soldiers at the front during the American Civil War, and his many deeds of kindness won him many enthusiastic and life-long admirers. He was chairman of the state delegation to the Republican National Conventions in 1872, 1880, and 1884. After his retirement as governor he held no public office, though for about twenty years he was the master of Vermont politics, frequently talked of for a seat in the United States Senate, particularly in 1886, and again in 1891, but in both cases he withdrew his name.

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J. Gregory Smith, Governor's Timeline

July 22, 1818
Saint Albans City, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
September 4, 1845
Age 27
St. Albans, Franklin, VT
July 9, 1848
Age 29
St. Albans, Franklin, VT
August 25, 1850
Age 32
Saint Albans City, Franklin County, Vermont, United States
January 5, 1854
Age 35
St. Albans, Franklin, VT
July 20, 1856
Age 37
St. Albans, Franklin, VT
Age 41
Attorney in St. Albans, VT
January 14, 1862
Age 43
St. Albans, Franklin, VT
Age 51
President Rail Rd.